“I don't understand why people keep asking me that, as if I should be embarrassed to be associated with benefiting people,” laments Marlon Moore, drummer for world-jazz ensemble Mantra. Moore refers to the many queries he's received about his next gig, a daylong concert devoted to amassing a fund that will be donated to local AIDS organizations.
Moore and his bandmates in conjunction with Community Pharmacy's Stanley Davenport organized the eclectic show, known as the Mantra Alliance Concert and AIDS Benefit. Set for this Saturday at the historic Lyric Theater, the event will cost attendees eight dollars, but they'll receive a lot for their money. Aside from a set by Mantra, jazz singers Joan Cartwright and Karen Jones, Brazilian funkstress Angela Patua, Caribbean king Macarldie, and various poets are scheduled to perform. (Many of the featured acts are members of Moore's networking group the Mantra Alliance, which helps artists learn the ropes of selling themselves.) Vendors hawking arts, crafts, and food, and dispensing health info, giving massages, and administering free AIDS tests will add to the festive atmosphere.
Despite the band's exotic name, Moore disputes the fact that his group is out to become goody-two-shoes gurus: “We're basically saying we're all the same. We're here, we have talent, everybody has talent, so let's use it.” Moore and his cohorts are also unafraid of becoming the house band for every disease benefit known to man. In fact they eventually hope to tour the world and offer their help to all sorts of distressed folks in every country. Grand ambitions, yes, but first they'll start in South Florida, right outside their own doors. “We need to do this again and again and again for different causes,” Moore notes. “Sickle cell anemia will be the next, and then there'll be a next one, and a next one, and a next one. We're not going to stop here!”