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2020 Winter Gathering

East Harlem, NY, Central Part East II, January 24-26, 2020

Workshop Descriptions

Youth Creative Convergence workshop program.  



Saturday, January 25, 2020, 3:50-4:50pm

Multi-Purpose Room (1st Floor)

"The Role of the Artist

in Times of Crisis" 

The  plenary session at the 2020 PMN Winter Convergence features a panel discussion on “The Role of the Artist in Times of Crisis”.  Panelists will share their own perspectives on how they are using music in service of front-line peace and social justice movements.  In a time when the government and media serve to divide and distract the population as a whole, these activists will share the strategies, challenges and successes they face as cultural workers seeking fundamental social change.  The panel will serve an overall goal for the entire weekend-long PMN convergence: to bring diverse artists and activists together to celebrate our craft and to collaborate in using that craft in struggles for a more just, peaceful and ecologically sane world.



Pauline Pisano  (Vital E.) is an artist, activist, cultural worker, and a community organizer in various campaigns throughout New York City. She is a coordinator for the New York City Arts and Culture Committee of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a movement seeking to address the interlocking issues of racism, militarism, poverty, and ecological devastation. She is a co-founder of Songs In The Key Of Resistance, a cross movement cultural arts incubator housed by The People’s Forum. Pauline organizes for The Institute for the Development of The Human Arts, a movement seeking to offer alternatives to mental health that challenge the current biomedical model. She is also an activist/organizer with Close The Camps NYC and Cosecha NYC. Pauline is set to release an anti-capitalist climate change concept album this April alongside various projects. To follow her work visit vitalemusic.com | @vital_e_ 

Bob Law is a highly respected professional broadcaster with a local as well as national following. He currently hosts From The Streets on WBAI, a program which gives voice to a wide range of Black and progressive political and cultural perspectives. Bob is also the producer of the documentary film, "Say it Loud," which is a feature length film about the state of Black radio today, its relationship with the recording industry, and the importance of independent voices on the public airwaves for the Black community. Bob founded the National Respect Yourself Youth Organization and is currently one of the lead organizers of the Peace Keepers Global Initiative,  an anti-violence movement based in Houston Texas. He is Chair of the Central Brooklyn Leadership Council, operating under the auspices of the Men’s Ministry of the Historic First Church of God in Christ, Brooklyn, New York. Bob also serves as the chairman of the National Black Leadership Alliance.

Dilson Hernandez is a genre merging artist from the Bronx. His talents include creative writing, playing various instruments, spoken-word poetry, singing, audio engineering, and beat making. Although self taught in many of his skills, he received a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Music from the University at Albany. He also became a certified Audio Engineer at the Institute of Audio Research. Dilson wishes to change the world with his art and community work (mostly for youth), aiming to strive for a more progressive and creative future. Some of his work abroad includes teaching English in Haiti and helping build a dorm space for underprivileged children in rural India. Some of his work at home includes facilitating music related workshops with youth in public schools via Urban Art Beat and advocating at courtrooms for 16-21 year-old incarcerated youth in NYC via Friends of Island Academy.  To hear Dilson’s work visit www.dilsonmusic.com/media

Elise Bryant is a revered labor movement educator, organizer and artist. She joined CWA/TNG Local 32035 in 1998 and served as the bargaining unit chair at the National Labor College for eight years.  She currently serves on the Guild’s executive board as a member-at-large. Elise is a lifetime member of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) as well as AFM Local 1000, In 2012 she was given the Lifetime Achievement award from the international organization, United Association of Labor Educators. As an artist, Elise made her Washington, DC stage debut in Theatre J’s production of Goodnight Irene and founded the DC Labor Chorus. She directed two productions of the labor jazz opera, Forgotten: the Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant, in Detroit and in the Washington, DC area (see www.forgottenshow.net).  She also directed the labor jazz opera Love Songs From the Liberation Wars: the 1940s Tobacco Workers Struggle. After working 35 years as a labor educator, Elise retired from her professorship at the National Labor College to start her own consulting service, the E.L.I.S.E. Consortium and also to serve as the Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation. Her areas of expertise include Communication Skills, Leadership Training, Labor History and Culture, Diversity Training, and “Arts as a Tool for Organizing”.  www.laborheritage.org

Khaiim the RaPoet,  Moderator

An international touring artist and keynote speaker, Khaiim has received critical acclaim as a Hip Hop lyricist while performing with everyone from Pulitzer Prize poets like Alice Walker to Grammy winning MCs like Common.  He’s also recorded in Jay-Z’s studio with J Cole's multi platinum engineer Mez. Although Khaiim lectures at colleges such as Trinity and Yale and earned a commendation from Obama, fans know him as the charismatic MC Self Suffice, whose album with Dreamville's Mez summited the Indie Hip-Hop Top 40. Catch him with his live band performing the new  album"Self Control" at a venue near you!  www.rapoets.com 

Friday Concert

Date and Location

Friday, January 24, 2020, 7:30 PM

The People's Forum

320 West 37th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues) New York, NY 10018.

The People's Forum is easily accessible by train, but there is very little nearby parking and what is available is so expensive that we strongly recommend using the train instead.

1 2 3 7 Local A C E M N Q R

Map: People's Forum

Wheelchair Accessibility 

The space at The People's Forum is fully Wheelchair accessible (including bathrooms). For info call 212-787-3903.


Act 1:  Mario Cancel and Friends

Mario Cancel  is a singer-songwriter and ethnomusicologist living in NYC.  Born in 1982, he learned to play the Puerto Rican cuatro, the archipelago’s national guitar, at age twelve at a public music school in San Juan.  In 2005, he earned a B.A. in Modern Languages (Portuguese and French) from the University of Puerto Rico, and in 2014, an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at New York University.  Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the ethnomusicology program at Columbia University where he researches anticolonialism and decoloniality as heard through Puerto Rican nueva canciónchanson québécoise and related sounds of resistance from Puerto Rico and Québec's 1960s and 70s.  www.facebook.com/mario.cancel.54

Judy Gorman has performed at the United Nations, festivals, universities, concert halls, for peace, justice and environmental events in over ten countries and forty-nine of these United States and over a dozen countries. She has performed on programs with Pete Seeger, Silvio Rodriguez, Harry Belafonte, Paul Winter, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Suzanne Vega, Whoopi Goldberg, Richie Havens, James Earl Jones, Indigo Girls, Moby, Odetta, Susan Sarandon.  Pete Seeger said, "Judy Gorman is a wonderful singer & musician.”  https://www.reverbnation.com/judygorman

Fran' Ferrer is one of the most important and influential figures of popular music in Puerto Rico of the past five decades.  As a musician and producer, he founded the music groups Frank Ferrer y Los Magníficos and Descarga Boricua.  He also produced some of the most iconic albums of Puerto Rican nueva canción and salsa.  His enchantment with music begins early in his childhood, and stems from a very old family tradition held each year in his home: the “Promesa de Reyes” (a promise to the Three Wise Men) consists of a “Rosario cantado” (sung rosary”), in which family, friends, musicians and “trovadores” alike participate to thank God.

Rubén González is a singer songwriter, musician and educator residing in NYC, originally from San Juan Argentina.  Ruben’s music has a “handmade” feeling that draws audiences into a communal music making experience. He has three CD’s out: Foto de mi Aldea (2006) La Libertad (2010) and I’m Working on Something (2015) featuring his compositions with a broad scope of musical styles and literary topics.

Hudson Valley Sally "They light up the stage with a joyous energy. They breathe new life into old songs and make them sound brand new. Their roots are deep and their eyes are on the prize. They remind me of what a song can do and make me want to keep singing through good times & bad."   -- Charlie King  www.hudsonvalleysally.com

Sylvain Léroux plays the Fula flute -- the flute of the Fulani people in West Africa. Originally from Quebec, for over 40 years he has studied and diffused West African culture, engaging in a vast array of cross-cultural musical interactions.  He founded l’Ecole Fula Flute, a music literacy project in Guinea for children and teens, which has contributed to the revival of the traditional instrument in the West African country. A new crop of excellent young artists are emerging from the school. (Go to http://www.fulaflute.net/index.html to learn more and donate). His 2002 cult record “Fula Flute” stimulated a worldwide interest in the instrument; and his 2012 album “Quatuor Creole” was hailed as “… a perfect contemporary music release…”

Act 2: The New York City Labor Chorus

The New York City Labor Chorus, with 75 members representing over 20 labor unions and District Councils, was founded in 1991.  Our Chorus promotes union solidarity by expressing through song the history and ongoing struggles of workers for economic and social justice. Our dynamic repertoire combines the power and culture of union music with the great gospel, jazz, classical and folk traditions.  Organized labor, united with its community allies, is an irrepressible social force. This is the message of the New York City Labor Chorus.

Act 3: Brooklyn DreamWolf

Jendog LoneWolf is a Two-Spirit Hip Hop MC, Photographer, Teaching Artist, and Collage Creator, born and bred in pre-hipster/pre-gentrified Bushwick, Brooklyn during some of New York City’s ugliest eras.  She’s a Black Native and Self-proclaimed ‘Hood Ambassador’, with deep roots in the Grand Cayman Islands. Jendog navigates a myriad of spaces as a multi-disciplinary artist who contends with intersectional experiences, challenges stereotypes, and delivers messages of Love, Life, Social Justice, Fun, and Self-defense. She represents the essence of Hip Hop Culture and music as a voice of the People and delivers hard-hitting, factual rhymes loaded with veracity, telling stories of how she lives, loves, learns, and sees.  www.ilovejendog.com

YaliniDream is a performer, organizer, educator, and consultant with over fifteen years of experience using artistic tools for healing, organizing, and empowerment with communities contending with violence and trauma. She has a vast range of experience with organizational development having served as a consultant in areas of programming, organizing, base building, leadership development, operations, logistics, development, facilitation, and strategic visioning. Her passion is integrating creative, physical, and contemplative practices into organizing and transformation work. She facilitated a theatrical storytelling project with Andolan, an organizing center, run by and for South Asian domestic workers in Queens, NY that is featured in the short film “Claiming Our Voice.” www.yalinidream.com


Act 4: Sing in Solidarity Chorus

Sing in Solidarity uses their voices to strengthen the socialist community through song. The chorus has additionally fundraised for organizations supporting the migrant caravans and anti-racist actions.  Begun in 2017 by members of the Democratic Socialists of America, the chorus draws its repertoire from the rich tradition of international revolutionary song.  Its mission is to disseminate anti-capitalist music, build internationalism, and unite the struggles of working and oppressed peoples.

Act 5:  Bluestone 739

Violizzy (aka Liz Taub) is a fiddler/singer/songwriter with numerous bands. Violizzy is an eclectic artist, able to play any type of genre from country to classical. Based in NYC, she performs all over the world, from Jerusalem, Israel to Vancouver, Canada. She is also a member of the UNSCR Symphony Orchestra and the Queer Urban Orchestra, showcasing her refined training as a violinist. She loves to collaborate with others. Her new projects include social Justice songs that send a message to the world that we must act NOW to preserve our planet and protect the environment, as well as people we love. 

Maren Swenson Waxenberg, ukulele and vocals, is an NEA Grant recipient who toured with 'The Plain People" throughout the Midwest.  She's appeared in NYC at the The Triad, Sidewalk, Hill Country BBQ, 78 Below, the Metropolitan Club, Caravan of Dreams, Greenwich Village Bistro, West End Lounge and Birdland.  

Fred Gillen received New York Foundation For The Arts grant recipient Fred Gillen Jr has released eleven full-length albums, to great critical acclaim. He has performed all over the U.S. and Europe as a solo artist. From 2017 to 2019 he was music director of the Group The Greenheart, traveling to Nepal four times and India once, performing concerts to raise awareness of environmental activism. His songs have been featured on ABC's "All My Children," NPR's "Car Talk," CMJ's New Music Marathon Sampler, and in 2012 his version of Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home" was featured on "Pete Remembers Woody," a collection of Pete Seeger's spoken stories about Woody Guthrie. interspersed with various artists' renditions of Guthrie's songs. 

Act 6:  Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir is a NYC-based Earth-defending performance community. Earthalujah!  The Church of Stop Shopping has 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. We resist extinction, but bring humor and music to the end of the world.  And, we do get arrested a lot.  We make Monsanto chemists experience our singing and preaching where they work.  We resist ICE aggression, including against our own members.  Our street theater and concert stage shows always work in parallel. The activism is content for the play. Our director is Savitri D. Our music director is Nehemiah Luckett. We have won the OBIE, Alpert and Edwin Booth awards and The New York Historic Districts Council's Preservation Award (for leading protests to save Manhattan's Poe House).  

©2017-2021 People's Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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