The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Dane Osen
For the Courier 

NAN Delivers Evening of Funk, Jazz


Courtesy Photo

Brothers Merle (L) and John Roberts (R) perform at GHS on Oct. 4.

With support from the Northeastern Arts Network (NAN), John Roberts Y Pan Blanco brought the heat to Glasgow High School on Oct. 4. The group, led by Malta native John Roberts, played for roughly two hours. Audience members found it hard to remain seated as the Afro-Cuban funk reverberated throughout the small auditorium.

The assembled musicians wove together a fusion of American funk, Cuban, African and Latin jazz. Roberts' passion for Cuban Son music shows in his performances. This musical style was originally called Changuii and is the most-played style of Cuban music worldwide. Changuii started out as folk music created by slaves from Nigeria that were brought to Cuba to work in the cane fields.

Roberts is a well-traveled veteran musician. He has graced stages around the world and has shared them with some big names too. The name Pan Blanco translates to "White Bread," a nickname that Roberts picked up while performing with various groups in California. Roberts is striving to diversify the music scene here in his home state, and hopes his efforts will help ignite a Latin music scene in Billings and elsewhere.

NAN continues their winter concert series on Nov. 8 at Glasgow High School with Fubuki Daiko, a traditional Japanese drum group that incorporates martial arts athleticism into their stage show. Tickets can be purchased at the door, by contacting Allison Nichols at 228-8255 or via email at

This event was was made possible in part through grant support from Montana's Cultural Trust, Montana Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Montana Performing Arts Consortium. The Northeastern Arts Network (NAN) is also supported by a grant from the Western States Arts Federation.


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