As a performer and singer-songwriter in the area for over 30 years, I am often asked the question: “Will you be participating in the Sag Harbor Music Festival this year?”
In 2015, my band Europa was featured on the cover of the program, and we performed on the small stage near The American Hotel. For a decade, I played in whatever venue I was assigned, bringing my own sound system and handling setup and breakdown, much as I do for my own gigs.
This year, I respectfully requested to be placed on one of the festival stages rather than in a restaurant. However, I was informed by the organizers that they are focusing on featuring American Root Soul Jazz music this year.
Sag Harbor boasts a diverse community, and I am saddened by this recent decision by the board. American music itself is a fusion of African, European and Latin sounds, reflecting the diverse origins of the United States, born from the ashes of natives, slaves and immigrants.
Its music, like the country itself, is a blend of influences. For example, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” originates from a French song, “Comme D’Habitude,” and blues chord progressions draw from Spanish Flamenco music, among others.
Respectfully, I would like to pose a question: Why limit the festival to one genre this year?
After receiving a polite decline of my initial request, I offered to present my trio and focus on my latest American original material. I am known not only for my diverse repertoire but also for my ability to blend genres and interpret songs with my unique style and delivery.
I never received a reply.
It’s worth noting that, while I may not be of American descent, I am reminded from time to time by unsavory individuals of my background — and now, this limitation?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and hope that we can continue to celebrate the rich tapestry of American music at the Sag Harbor Music Festival.
Alfredo Merat, aka Alfredo Musika
One fine body…