The 2020 Florida A&M University Harambee Festival on Saturday is headlined by two of the music world’s top young instrumentalists.
Tallahassee violin music lovers will hear Mapy, the Violin Queen, as she makes her capital city debut. A native of Reunion Island, a remote department of France, located in the Indian Ocean, Mapy has been firing up the music scene with her fusion of classical sound with hip-hop, afrobeats and soca. She has gained hundreds of thousands of fans and YouTube views for her instrumental covers of popular songs. She also composes and produces her own music.
A highlight of the Paris-trained violinist’s musical career was performing with French Montana, during the 2019 St Kitts Music Festival, where she was also a headlining performer. In December of 2019, she became a National Film and TV Award Winner for “Best Performance On a Reality TV Show.”
Hearing her haunting violin against a backdrop of afroBeat and Caribbean soca rhythm, it’s not hard to see why she’s in such demand.
“I’m so excited to be performing in Tallahassee this weekend. I’ve never been to this part of Florida or FAMU, but I hear it’s wonderful,” the violinist said. “I can’t wait to come to perform and see everyone at the school. Get ready to dance and party with me.”
Also headlining this year’s festival is globetrotting FAMU alumnus saxophonist BK Jackson, who spent three years, including during his time at FAMU, with Prince’s 11-piece New Power Generation (NPG) Hornz brass section. He has also featured with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews’ Orleans Avenue band.
“It feels great to be able to come back to what was my home for so many years to celebrate the release of my brand new album “Life Of The Party,” Jackson said. “I actually recorded it here in Tallahassee, and a lot of the influence for this music was developed during my time at FAMU. Coming back and hitting the stage at the Harambee Festival is a musical thank you to FAMU and the city of Tallahassee for everything it has given me.”
Things have been on the up and up recently, Jackson said. His latest single “Velvet Ropes” was in the Top 20 on three different smooth jazz radio charts.
“I’m coming off my first-ever Grammy performance and I’ve just been named Smooth Jazz Networks Breakout Artist of the Year,” he said. “It’s crazy to think that the year is just starting. I’m thankful to God for the blessings he has given me and looking forward to what he has in store for me in the future.”
The Harambee Festival is much more than music. During the 8-hour event, attendees can also visit dozens of vendors, purchase food and visit representatives from FAMU’s colleges and schools to educate prospective students and their families about opportunities and events at the University. Last year, more than 8,000 people converged on Cascades Park for the event.
“It’s exciting to see the Harambee Festival grow year after year because of the support and unity of the community and FAMU,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “I appreciate the support of our community partners, faculty, students, staff and volunteers who dedicate many hours and resources to produce an amazing event in the heart of the city.”
What: FAMU Harambee Festival: Inspiring Unity in the Community
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Live entertainment kicks off around 4 p.m.
Where: Cascades Park, 1001 S. Gadsden St., Tallahassee
Admission is Free
For more information call 850-599-3414