SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Bay Area dance legend Blanche Brown and seven-time Grammy nominated musician John Santos have been named the grand marshals for the 2017 Carnaval San Francisco parade, according to event organizers.
The 39th annual parade will take place at 9:30 a.m. on May 28th in San Francisco’s Mission District and be livestreamed on CBSSF.com.
Brown says her dream was always to be a dancer. In 1988, she formed the dance troupe Group Petit La Croix to fully express and visually explain the Haitian culture by combining western choreography and techniques with traditional Haitian dance and drumming.
She then went on to teach dance at UCLA, Hayward State, Sonoma State, UC-Santa Cruz, Mills College and Santa Clara University. Brown has also been an instructor atThe Modern Dance Center, The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts and at Third Wave Dance House in San Francisco for many years.
Over the years Blanche has been widely recognized for her contribution to the dance community.
In 1977, she was the first dancer to be appointed to the San Francisco Arts Commission. In 2003 she was President of the Board of World Arts West. And in 2008 Blanche received the Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Ethnic Dance and Music.
Aside from his Grammy nominations, Santos was named the 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Award winner and was the resident artistic director at SFJAZZ from 2013-2014.
He has written, recorded and published well over 100 original compositions, mostly on his Machete Records label since 1984 and has performed and/or recorded with masters such as Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Omar Sosa, Susana Baca, Lalo Schifrin, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Giovanni Hidalgo, Armando Peraza, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, Bebo Valdés, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, and Carlos Santana.
He has served on the Smithsonian’s Latin Jazz Advisory Committee and is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory, the College of San Mateo, and Jazz Camp West.
The John Santos Sextet is one of the premier Afro-Latin Jazz musical groups in the United States. They illuminate the aesthetic characteristics of Latin Jazz pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation through live performance and recording.