May 28, 2010
In the late ’60s, race riots plagued major cities; in Harlem, these events forced educators to think of new and exciting ways to keep kids off the streets and interested in their education. Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (the Har-You Act) was a series of educational programs designed for that purpose.
The Harlem Youth Percussion Group grew out of that zeitgeist. Jamaican-born percussionist Montegro Joe was asked by Julien Euell (executive director of the arts and culture division of Har-You Act) to teach Afro and Jazz percussion. After four years of training, these 11 young men, age 16-19, created this self-titled album whose royalties went into a scholarship fund for the students.