About GreenRoom Exchange
GreenRoom Exchange creates international cross-cultural experiences, bringing artists and musicians from other countries to work with local artists, expanding our understanding of their cultures, enriching our community.
GreenRoom Exchange gives the Lexington area the opportunity to see other cultures through the eyes of those that live there, using the universal language of music and art.
GreenRoom Exchange increases appreciation, compassion and respect for other cultures, and makes our communities more aware, accepting and culturally enriched!
GreenRoom Exchange is an extension of founders Lee Carroll and Connie Milligan’s international travels and the friendships they have formed with people from other cultures. Humbled by their experiences, they want to share the joy of their discoveries and realization that across cultures, we are more alike than different.
The name is a reference to a “green room”, the lounge area off stage where performers relax, and the green room in Connie and Lee’s home where they have hosted many spirited music gatherings.
Here are some of the cultures and people they have highlighted through GreenRoom Exchange: To see more pictures and videos of their travels and events go to the BLOG.
GHANA: Since 2014, they have hosted Gideon Alorwoyie and Afrikania drumming and dance troupe in their home for concerts and workshops. Gideon reciprocated by inviting them to his village in the Volta region of Ghana in 2016 and 2018, with a third trip planned for August 2020. Sponsoring them though GREx helps keep this special indigenous language of drumming and dance alive. One of our goals is to help Gideon establish a cultural training center in his village. Since the Spring 2020 performances are cancelled, you can see them again in April 2021.
CUBA: After a trip to Cuba in 2017, Lee and Connie hosted their Cuban interpreter, Alberto Gonzalez, in Lexington for a lecture and launch of his book, Born To Translate Cuba. It was the first event for GreenRoom Exchange. When we tried to bring him back, along with Cuban artist, Saulo Serrano, visas for travel were no longer obtainable. So, we invited Cuban musicians, singer Xiomara Laugart and pianist Axel Tosca Laugart living in NYC, who we had met through our friend. composer and musician Jonathon Ragonese. This resulted in three superb performances in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. We plan to have Xiomara back again in October 2020.
SENEGAL: Through a chance meeting in Chicago, Connie and Lee became friends with Senegalese singer and songwriter, Alioune Guisse. They hosted him and Kora player Noumoucounda Cissoko at the Roots and Heritage festival and a concert in Lexington in September 2019. In Spring 2020 they went to Alioune and Noumou’s home in Dakar and began a recording project with other Senegalese musicians. The debut of this amazing collaboration was planned as a concert in May 2020 – to be rescheduled in Spring 2021.
ON COMMON GROUND: On September 17, 2019, Lexington Community Radio organized a community conversation on immigration, featuring Pulitzer prize winning author, Jose Antonio Vargas. GreenRoom Exchange hosted local international musicians to play and dance during the event, from Brazil, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico and Portugal, illustrating the diversity of talent in our community.