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Hibriduz Jazz brings Honduran rhythms to the Jazz Museum in New Orleans

Within seconds of reaching the stage, we played our song “Parranda de Amor” as I felt the vibrations of every note. The rich, earthy tones of the Garífuna drums combined with the sweet melody of the guitar filled the night with vibrant and electrifying energy.

  • 11 months ago
  • May 5, 2023
5 min read
The Hibriduz Jazz band stands onstage at the Jazz Museum in New Orleans, where they performed for the international gala, amidst the jazz greats. The Hibriduz Jazz band stands onstage at the Jazz Museum in New Orleans, where they performed for the international gala, amidst the jazz greats. | Photo courtesy of band manager Mario Guevara
INTERVIEW SUBJECT
Brian Pagoaga Argueta is a musician from Honduras who directs the Hibriduz Jazz band, a musical group which integrates Honduran culture and instrumentation, and recently performed in New Orleans for the iconic Jazz Museum gala. The group has performed in Europe, including cities like Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp. They’ve also played shows in Asia, in locations such as Taiper, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Along the way, they released two albums, Jazz Session (2015) and Laremu Namule (2018).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Jazz Museum is located in the heart of New Orleans and its main purpose is to celebrate the history of jazz. In this place, exhibitions, concerts, and research media mingle. It also serves as a means to provide resources to musicians from all nationalities.

NEW ORLEANS, United States — On the big night of the iconic New Orleans Jazz Museum Gala, adrenaline coursed through my entire body as we prepared to perform. Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured this moment. 

It felt surreal that we had a stage set for us in the city of jazz, under the starry sky of a town full of color and richness. The wonderful aroma of freshly cooked Cajun food filled the air, and crowds gathered all around us. You could hear the sounds of saxophones echoing through the streets. I realized right then and there just how much music meant to me. In a place so far from my roots in Honduras, music instantly made me feele at home. 

An unforgettable night in New Orleans

Within seconds of reaching the stage, we played our song “Parranda de Amor” as I felt the vibrations of every note. The rich, earthy tones of the Garífuna drums combined with the sweet melody of the guitar filled the night with vibrant and electrifying energy. We felt proud of ourselves for being the first band in the world to bring Garífuna drums to the Jazz Museum, making history.

Everything that night felt like a complete dream. As we played, completely immersed in the moment, time stopped. When we finished the song, a moment of silence ensued as the last notes lingered in the air. We all felt the energy of the moment, knowing that we had just created something special that would be shared with the world.

We received the news of our invitation to the House of Jazz during a very difficult time in our lives. I recently lost my father from cancer. The last thing he insisted of me was to never stop chasing my dreams. I also said goodbye to my jazz teacher, Julio Zelaya, who played a critical role in my musical journey. These two people, now gone, served as pillars in my life. I felt completely lost and heartbroken. Upon hearing the news of the jazz festival, I viewed it as a sign from my guardian angels. 

Our music mingled with the rich history of the Jazz Museum

The opportunity to perform came through our pianist Oscar Josué Rossignoli, one of the world’s best musicians. He connected with Taslya Mejia, a Honduran woman in charge of public relations at the Jazz Museum. She then reached out to me and offered us the opportunity to play. She recognized the impact we made at other international venues and wanted us in New Orleans. It felt too good to be true. The door to the world of jazz suddenly seemed open for us. We embraced the opportunity with all our hearts and the moment remains engrained in my mind forever.  

Filming our video at the Jazz Museum in New Orleans felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which we will cherish for years to come. The moment brought us closer together as a band. The museum sat as a stunning backdrop for our video, with its grand architecture and rich history. As we started to play our song, “Parranda de amor,” our music merged with the atmosphere around us. The smooth jazz notes blended seamlessly with the Garífuna rhythms, creating a vibrant tapestry of sound unique to us. 

Music gives us the power to overcome adversity

Since 2004, our jazz band seeks to embrace our Honduran roots and draw on that cultural energy through our rhythm and lyrics. We follow the Garífuna line passed down by our teachers, Julio Zelaya and Camilo Corea. They inspired our sound from the very first moment we held instruments in our hands. As a band performing for over 20 years, we share our music around the country and the world, forging our own path forward, and sharing Honduran culture globally.

Hibriduz Jazz represents more than a band to us; it is everything. We work hard to cultivate young musicians and foster their creative potential. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, despite the immense challenges we all faced, life granted me a unique opportunity. I connected with over 75 young people from vulnerable areas in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As they battled the daunting pressure and anxiety of lockdown, through the power of hybrid jazz, music gave them a much-needed escape from reality.

We formed the Big Band Colectivo Juvenil de Tegucigalpa, an ambitious collective of young and passionate musicians dedicated to jazz. Through our collaborative efforts, we successfully recorded an album, paying homage to the legacy of the late maestro Julio Zelaya. We then showcased our talents to audiences around the country.

In uncertain times, we managed to use music to persevere; to turn adversity into an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. For that, I am eternally grateful.

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