Photo: Nkiru Richie for Flickr
Photo: Nkiru Richie for Flickr

With shows cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, musical duo Alegba Jahyile and Mark Kraszewski went to the park to stretch their musical muscles. Little did they know, they were signing themselves up to play shows 7-nights a week, Patch reports.

The duo plays as Alegba and Friends, a Haitian jazz and roots band more used to bar shows than outdoor audiences. But through their Prospect Park jam sessions they have picked up a new loyal following. When one woman, who cried during a performance, told Jahyile it had brought her serenity and peace after a horrid week, he decided he would play each night.

“One day I came here with my guitar out of nowhere, to just get some fresh air. And people just started coming over. And then they were like, ‘Thank you!’ And then it took a life of its own,” Jayhile told Patch. “When people come here, they come to have a little good time, to have a picnic with their family, their friends, their lovers. And then the music takes them to another level. So, it becomes a daily thing.”

Classically trained saxophone player Kraszeswki said after each show audience members came to thank them personally. “[They say], ‘I haven’t heard live music in months.’ Ironically for us, if there were just three people, we would still be doing the same thing,” he said.

“We get to keep working on our skills and on our sound while also building an audience, turning our music on to new people.”

The band plays each night at Prospect Park’s boathouse, where steps and a grassy hill provide the perfect seating for the live show.


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