BEST PROMOTER OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY - 2003
Jose Elias Mateo
Founder and organizer of the Afro Roots Festival for the past five years, a regular hand at Rhythm Foundation world-music shows, and longstanding member of the traditional Cuban outfit Conjunto Progreso and the jazz group Mantra, Jose Elias just can't get enough of different cultural stuff. As anyone who has heard the ambitious occasional performances by his Afro-Polyphonic Space Orchestra or (later) the Afro-Polyphonic World Orchestra knows, he loves nothing more than fusing wildly diverse musical cultures, however chaotic, cacophonous, or simply beautiful the results. But still he felt that something -- or someone -- was missing. So this year Jose Elias added the Women and Culture Festival to his things-to-do list, putting together a slate of female performers and traditions from Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East. Thanks, Jose, for making sure that everyone has a chance to be heard.