June 2021 the EP Hummingbird's Grandchildren will be released
Hummingbird's Grandchildren in the news: Asia Fajardo-Diamond on New Children's Album Hummingbird's Grandchildren | Westword
Hummingbird’s Grandchildren is a collection of compositions inspired by Chicana Denver composer Asia Fajardo-Diamond's late great-grandmother Esther of Denver’s Historic Five Points neighborhood. The single "Crystal Sky" is available now on all digital outlets. These compositions are written for children.
The Musicians~ Asia Fajardo-Diamond-alto saxophone, Yuzo Nieto-tenor saxophone (“Crystal Sky” and “Freedom Blues”), Lannie Shelton-violin (“Crystal Sky” and “Freedom Blues”), Nicholas Diamond-violin (“Nahui Nahui” and “Hummingbird’s Grandchildren”), John Olsson-drums/percussion, Harry Olsson Jr.-bass and Tenia Renee Nelson-keyboards
The Inspiration~ Grandma Esther Lopez Dussart Fajardo was born in 1910 in the mining town of Summerset on the Western Slope of Colorado. Her family roots in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado date back hundreds of years to Mexica, Spanish and Pueblo ancestors. Grandma Esther and Grandpa Alfonso Mata Fajardo lived for over 50 years at 21st and Tremont, in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. A humble woman with only a 4th grade education, she nurtured and cared for her community her whole life. She had little material wealth but passed down a rich cultural heritage and legacy of kindness. Each composition is a tribute to this amazing woman, inspired by her deep respect for others and the Earth, her commitment to diversity before it was even a word and her faith in the power of love. Grandma Esther taught us that our survival depends upon our ability to treat everyone as our familia and our ability to never lose hope.
Esther never had the privilege to fully embrace her indigenous heritage, yet her life reflected the teachings passed on to her by her ancestors. The songs in this album are in honor of the struggles she endured to maintain her family’s connection to their land and their people.
The Music~ The single and first track, “Crystal Sky'' is about caring for the animals and the Earth. While Esther raised her family in the city, she made sure that her son and later her grandchildren had a strong connection and respect for the natural world. Esther helped the composer name her first cat, Crystal. “Crystal Sky'' is a fusion of driving afro Cuban rhythms and jazz, with a gentle vibe reminding us to take care of the animals and the Earth.
The title track “Hummingbird’s Grandchildren” references the Mexica/Aztec hummingbird warrior deity Huitzilopochtli. It honors the battles that the composer’s grandmother faced to pave a path of opportunity and love for her future generations. Its message is to be kind to all children. The 3rd track, “Nahui Nahui” is about movement, moving your body, mind and spirit with music, dance, art, cooking, gardening and whatever else inspires you. The final track, “Freedom Blues” honors the parents who promote creativity and diversity.
The Production~ Hummingbird’s Grandchildren cover artwork entitled “Generations” is by Denver muralist Arlette Lucero. Audio engineer and mixing by John Olsson and mastering by Scott Craggs.
I come from a multi-cultural family of artists and musicians from the Southwest that dates back hundreds of years. Over the past decade multi-cultural and cross-disciplinary improvising, composing and performing have been my focus.
I perform and compose jazz, classical, world and experimental music. I teach jazz and classical saxophone and composition. I also teach concepts for free-jazz and free improvisation, based on the belief that improving within a form and freely both hold artistic and spiritual value.