Jesse Bermudez passed away at the age of 79 on September 14.
Jesse Bermudez passed away at the age of 79 on September 14.

Jesse Bermudez Legacy Fund launched to support local musicians

The fund will offer financial aid for students and emerging artists.


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Jesse Bermudez was a musician, producer, educator, arts advocate and an admired leader in Philadelphia's Latino community. But, above all else, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and unconditional friend. To continue this great legacy and keep his commitment to music alive, the Jesse Bermudez Legacy Fund was launched on April 4th at Taller Puertorriqueño surrounded by music, his friends and family. That same day, Jesse would have celebrated his 80th birthday.

“This was Jesse’s vision,” said Daisy Bermudez, Jesse's widow. “It’s just amazing because there’s not many people here doing this,” she continued. 

The fund will support emerging musicians through scholarships as well as established musicians in the form of microgrants. Also, the fund is administered by an advisory board composed of local community leaders, cultural experts, musicians and arts and education advocates from the regional community. 

One of the advisory board members and co-founder of the fund is cultural producer Marángeli Mejía-Rabell, who is also the director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival and co-founder of AFROTAINO. 

For Mejía-Rabell, Jesse was her friend and mentor. In one of her last conversations with him, Jesse confessed how pleased he was to have enjoyed a full and loving life. 

"He was very clear about what he wanted," Marángeli assured AL DÍA. "This is a way to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Jesse Bermudez," she confessed.

Music brings everybody together

To celebrate the release of the fund as Jesse would have wanted: surrounded by music and his loved ones, that same April 4th, the benefit concert La Música Continúa was held. At the Taller Puertorriqueño amphitheater, his great friends and musicians Papo Vazquez (trombone), Pablo Batista (percussion) and Elio Villafranca (piano) performed together for the first time. Also present was the all-female salsa band Ellas.


Each of these artists served an important place in Jesse's personal and professional life through his more than 40 years of experience as co-founder of Artistas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) and Siempre Salsa Philly. 

For all people aspiring to pursue a career in the music industry in Philadelphia, Daisy advised them what Jesse always said, "Dream big and never give up on your dreams, because winners never quit and losers never win."

The Painted Bride Art Center serves as a fiscal sponsor of the Jesse Bermudez Legacy Fund. If you're interested in contributing to the fund, click here.


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