A Night in Melba’s Harlem

So far I’v given my paternal (The Martinez family) side a lot of props for culture and heritage, so now its time to brag about my maternal side (The Crawford) of the family

Let the shameless bragging begin!!!

My Uncle Raymond “Music is Life”, Uncle Martin, and cousin “Choclatt” Jared are musicians (drummer primarily but they do produce). They were the forerunners of bucket drumming that started in the 90’s (I think) in the subways and on the street corners. Since then they have been a part of numerous musical events including but not limited to the (4) Tony Award winning musical “Bring in Da Noise/Bring in Da Funk”Melba’s Restaurant, and where ever else music is happening in NYC and beyond. They also produce but I’m not in the loop on that.

See “Choclatt” Jared perform here.

Melbas- me and Jared
Me & Cousin Jared @ Melba’s

See my Uncle Ray perform here.

Melba's- Me and Uncle Marky @ Melbas
Me and Uncle Marky @ Melba’s

More bragging here and here.

So now on to the actual story. On Tuesday nights  you can find my uncles and cousin performing at Melba’s. As for the other days of the week I don’t really know because they are always doing something.

So guess where I was on on Tuesday (10/6)?

Yeah, I was at Melba’s enjoying amazing food and the best entertainment in NYC (in my very biased opinion).

It was 3 hours of great food and great entertainment and it was packed from performance start at 8 p.m. until close at 11. They had a hard time getting people out.

I went with my Grandma Annette and we had an amazing time. She had the BBQ turkey meat loaf  & I had salmon with mac & cheese with spinach and it was AMAZING!!

Melba's Harlem- salmon
image courtesy of harlemcondolife.com because I forgot to take a picture

They were performing live and because my video recording skills are abysmal and the room was dark (mostly I just technology suck) and since I know people don’t want to see snippets of my knee bouncing to the beat I wont embed the video but I’ll put the links up here, here, here.

—————————–> here too.

Oh, and over there <————————–

It was sort of a karaoke thing as well except with people with actual talent. You can hear them here and here.

Oh and Just ’cause I’m a braggart (I warned you all at the beginning of this post)

Aqui y mi prima Latice aqui.

So lets just end with I had one of the best nights ever at Melba’s and the next time anyone finds themselves in NYC definite make this a destination. Preferably on a Tuesday night of course ;p


Garifuna-Traditional Gathering and Mourning/Celebration of the Ancestors

As the title of my blog states I am Garifuna and there is a whole of tradition and ritual that goes with that. As the American part of the family has connected more with extended relatives we have been learning and participating in more family rituals and ceremonies.

On Sunday Oct 4 we had what was essentially a remembrance ceremony or deceased relatives, my biological father and my second cousin Eddie among them.

The day started with a 9:30 Mass at Our Savior Catholic Church

Mass- Chuch

Afterward we headed to my Auntie Carol’s house where the cultural ceremony would begin.

(Sorry no pictures allowed of the table)

-Setting up the table for the deceased. It has pictures of the most recently deceased. Eddie was in the center with the largest photo because he passed in November 2014 and my father had the smaller photo because he passed in October 2012

Formal: candle, rosary, crucifix, Santa Barbara, Blue roses

Personal items/food/drink/ of the deceased- Corona was one of the things Eddie and my dad liked to drink, photos, etc.

-Because this is a celebration of their lives as well as a remembrance there’s LOTS of food

Mostly traditional food like and other

Hudut- green & yellow plantain mash with fish in a coconut soup (image from crossfitc.com)
Hudut- green & yellow plantain mash with fish in a coconut soup
(image from crossfitc.com)

Traditional breads including but not limited to

Johnny Cake (image from maxresdefault)
Johnny Cake (image from maxresdefault)

Rice -rice & black beans, rice and red beans, rice and shrimp, white rice, rice and beans.

Curry chicken


Pork ribs

Here is the ceremony conducted my the elders, PrimoDeki and his mother Tia Paula.

Plates of food are placed in the remembrance table my the parents of the deceased first then the rest of the relatives. These full portion plates too. The deceased have to have received their portion of every prepared food item before the living eat.

Then we EAT!!!

I had every kind of rice on my plate so I had to go back for chicken.

After everyone eating the ceremony, led my Deki and mostly in Spanish.

Our Father Prayer

-Oracion de Santas read by Tia Paula

-prayer and words by Deki

-Individuals go up and say their words of remembrance etc

Auntie Velma (Eddie’s mother) took it very hard and I had to get the Florida Water (Spanish people know what I’m talking about)

Then there is the blessing ritual.

Then we can go share the food from the remembrance table.

It was an emotional experience for everyone but we were all better for it. I was able to see my new cousin Christian (2 yrs old) for the first time and a lot of new relatives as well.

To my family, if I got anything wrong let me know so I can fix it.