Arturo O'Farrill & ALJA Raise $100,000 to Benefit NYC Musicians

Article Contributed by JP Cutler Media | Published on Friday, December 18, 2020

GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill and nonprofit the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) announce they have reached their crowd-funding goal of $100,000 raised through the ALJA Emergency Artist Fund (GoFundMe) and "Giving Tuesday" initiative to help New York/New Jersey-based jazz musicians during the COVID-19 global pandemic. New York City's community of independent musicians have faced extreme economic challenges since March 2020. ALJA's efforts to raise funds through generous donations from the community at large hits a milestone of $100,000 going directly to artists through individual grants and fees for performance and teaching.

The ALJA Emergency Artist Fund provides immediate assistance to musicians and other performing and teaching artists who are the recipients of over 200 individual grants. The on-going work of artists will continue to be funded into 2021 to recognize their tireless work presenting master classes for youth and adults, online classes for NY Public School partners, and in-person classes for the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats (with strict public health protocols in partnership with Shape Shifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY). The ALJA Emergency Artist Fund is open to artists in New York and New Jersey, prioritizing the Afro Latin and Latin jazz musical communities. To donate to the ALJA Emergency Artist Fund, please visit: and

"It's during challenging times like the ones we are now living in that our community excels in its strength, compassion, and ability to come together for the benefit of all," says Marietta Ulacia (Executive Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance). "Today, we have asked for support to help our community of musicians, teaching artists, and the artistic community. Reaching our overall goal of $100,000 is an incredible declaration of the giving spirit. These donations are making a real difference!"

The work of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance and Artist Director Arturo O'Farrill has never skipped a beat with the onslaught of the pandemic. The launch of the new ALJA Digital Village offers immediate and ongoing work for ALJA's close network of standout musicians and educators through ambitious digital music programming.

The flagship of the Digital Village is Virtual Birdland, which has featured 35 consecutive weeks of original programming with nearly 50 different musicians performing remotely in the safety of their own homes. Virtual Birdland presents an ambitious repertoire of big band arrangements with O'Farrill and his 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra regularly performing with special guest artists such as Paquito de Rivera, Rudresh Mahathappa, Sean Jones, Ana Tijoux, Yaz Ahmed, Malika Zarra, DJ Logic, and others. Participating musicians span the globe from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Vera Cruz, Paris, UK, Madrid, Montreal, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Switzerland. More than 100 newly recorded songs have been showcased on Virtual Birdland. An array of programming on Digital Village (particularly the Friday evening "La Plaza") has presented lauded artists including Dr. Cornel West, Letieres Leite and Orkestra Rumpilezz, Guy Mintus, Miguel Zenon, Samuel Torres, Sofia Rei, Telmary and Rebel Diaz, as well as partnerships with OriGen Collective, Globalquerque, HotHouse Global, La Casita BronX BandA, Philadelphia Jazz Project, WNYC Greene Space, UC San Diego, North Sea Jazz Festival, and others. Tune in to Virtual Birdland at and

Coinciding with the ALJA Digital Village initiative, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance has supported 20 virtual screenings and panel discussions for the newly released independent documentary film, Fandango at the Wall, now available on HBO, HBO Max, and HBO Latino (released on September 25, 2020). From executive producers Quincy Jones, Andrew Young, Carlos Santana, producers Kabir Sehgal and Doug Davis, and director Varda Bar-Kar, Fandango at the Wall follows Arturo O'Farrill and Sehgal as they prepare to record a live album at the U.S.-Mexico border wall. For more info, please visit:

O'Farrill's acclaimed recording career has further been recognized by The Recording Academy with the nomination of two GRAMMY Awards for his latest album Four Questions (ZOHO Music: April 10, 2020) featuring Dr. Cornel West. O'Farrill is nominated in two categories, "Best Latin Jazz Album" (for Four Questions) and "Best Original Composition" (for "Baby Jack").

ALJA sets its early 2021 initiatives on the release of the live album, Virtual Birdland (ZOHO Music, spring 2021), along with a continuation of the weekly online broadcasts on the ALJA Digital Village. In spring 2021, ALJA presents in partnership with CSUN Soraya Performing Arts Center (Los Angeles, CA) a live recorded video performance of repertoire highlighting compositions in the film, Fandango at the Wall. Alongside O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, special guest artists perform including son jarocho artists from Vera Cruz, Mexico including Patricio Hidalgo, Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Cao Romero, and Jorge Francisco Castillo; Mandy Gonzalez (NY); and the Villalobos Brothers (live and remote from Spain). The live material was recorded at Shape Shifter Lab in Brooklyn in November 2020 while maintaining strict public health and social distancing guidelines (including open doors in 40-degree weather).

For more information regarding the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit