Talent agency for performing arts: Roots, Jazz, Traditional, Classical, Spoken Word
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Alex Torres and his Orchestra
Latin Jazz Dance Band
This 12 piece orchestra is led by the Bronx-born bassist Alex Torres. They have been presented by hundreds of festivals, performing arts centers and events annually to perform their original blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as Salsa, Merengue, Cha-cha, Bomba, Plena and Latin Jazz.
The Orchestra has been the recipient of numerous awards including the New England Cultural Arts Preservation Award, the New York State Music Achievement Award, the Schenectady League of Arts Award, The Governor´s Excellence in Arts Award, The NAACP Albany Chapter Award and Metroland Magazine´s “Best Of Award” for seven consecutive years.
Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra have performed for President Bill and Hillary Clinton at the New York State Democratic Convention and also for New York Governor's George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer's Inauguration. They have shared the stage and billings with such major acts as Tito Puente, Tito Puente Jr., Eddie Palmieri, Andy Montañez, Los Hermanos Moreno, Arturo Sandoval, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Ray Barretto, Jane Burnette & The Spirits Of Havana, Larry Harlow, Jose Alberto "El Canario," Brenda K. Starr, Tito Nieves, Jerry Gónzalez & The Fort Apache Band, King Changó, Branford Marsalis, The Count Basie and Woody Herman Orchestras.
The group is also registered with the Arts-In-Education Program of New York State. This program brings the orchestra into schools to showcase and explain the music, instruments and rhythms associated with their music.
Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra "Otra Noche Habanera"
Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra - Verde y Maduro
Speaker, storyteller, poet, playwright, musician, arts and diversity advocate, community engagement.
David Gonzalez is a public speaker, storyteller, poet, playwright, musician and arts activist. He is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department and a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation. Mr. Gonzalez was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Unique Theatrical Experience”, and has received numerous grants, awards and commissions. He was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, and appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. The Man of the House was commissioned by, and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. David earned his doctorate from New York University’s School of Education, and worked as a music therapist for many years. His poetry project City of Dreams has been presented at many colleges, festivals, and theaters throughout the country. He is also the Artistic Director of Crisalida Communications which consults to arts and civic organizations helping them to create effective community outreach programs.
Creativity in Action - The Box, The Circle, and The Crescent Moon Mi Gente - Communicating to the Hispanic Community through Stories Our Stories - Powerful Connectors to Clients and Customers
Cantrip is a leader in Scottish music. For two decades they have been breaking boundaries in the tradition, touring extensively throughout Scotland and the US. Known for their innovative arrangements, un-produced sound and dry wit this power trio can be seen on some of the largest Celtic stages in the world. From the strong base of its Celtic roots their music branches out into, and takes influences from, the music of other European cultures. Weaving together songs and tunes, both traditional and contemporary, Cantrip takes an audience on a cultural journey, putting their own spin on each style.
Four tunes… 12 minutes long… click ahead if you don’t have patience for them all!
Cantrip, Two Reels
An introduction to Cantrip
Oh Hudson! A Music and Poetry celebration of the Hudson River Valley
"David Gonzalez' epic poem Oh Hudson! has been the centerpiece of programs at the Hudson River Museum celebrating the culture and history of the Hudson Valley. He has not only entertained, but also, through his unique multi-media artistry, inspired our audiences to care about the environment and their place in it, in the tradition of Pete Seeger and his fellow travelers." ~ Saralinda Lichtblau, Hudson River Museum
Upstate Rubdown is an acoustic septet drawing inspiration from every corner (and decade) of America's musical heritage.
"Upstate Rubdown is an acoustic septet drawing inspiration from every corner (and decade) of America's musical heritage. "Pulling from the greatest corners of American music, this group has the power to get feet moving with or without amplification. Like fresh-farmed vegetables, their music is as organic as it is good for you. From foot-stomping bass, highlighted by the slap of a cajon, to the familiar strums of the mandolin over a wailing saxophone – there’s so much going on instrumentally that when the harmonious lead vocalists chime in, the result is nothing short of a homegrown hurricane of sound." ~ Otis Mountain Get Down
Upstate Rubdown - sample of music, but not from the Oh Hudson! project, which is in development.
Tony McManus & Julia Toaspern
“Julia’s bell like voice and her filigrane fiddle playing are thrilling. She moves effortlessly from fiddle to guitar, her solo is impressive.” – SalonFestival
“Tony’s music is beyond beautiful, it’s perfect” – Tommy Emmanuel
Tony McManus is the leading celtic guitarist worldwide and has just been listed as one of the 50 transcendental guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine. While Tony is known as a soloist his frequent collaborations with diverse musicians have always been a significant part of his work.
Julia Toaspern is a multi-talented musician from Berlin who combines classical training on violin and voice with a wide interest in genres such as jazz, baroque and traditional music. She has released two albums of original songs and has performed in both classical and singer/songwriter modes on both sides of the Atlantic. On top of all this her skills as a guitarist are prodigious and make an exciting fit with Tony’s work.
Their twin guitar treatment of traditional music is unique and each supports the other in exploring the harmonic possibilities of these old, and not so old, tunes. Each of the pair both flatpicks and fingerpicks at the highest level but always at the service of the tune rather than a display of technique. Her violin can effortlessly morph into a fiddle as she weaves from Italian madrigal to Scottish reel. Julia’s songs go to the heart of love and loss, hope and survival and are inflected with musical input from a wide and eclectic experience of musical life. Tony’s and Julia’s arrangements are rooted in deep musicality and heartfelt expression.
Having met over a conversation in Berlin about JS Bach, together they play and sing music that speaks to them and hopefully through them to a wider audience.
Rolling Waves and Martin Wynne's by Tony McManus & Julia Toaspern
Fiddle set - Tony McManus with Julia Toaspern at the Duncan Showroom
Penny by Julia Toaspern & Tony McManus
Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman
Virtuoso Harp and Guitar
The celebrated virtuoso partnership of “the doyenne of Irish harpers” (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY) and “one of the UK’s most staggering and influential acoustic guitarists” (fROOTS), has by now brought its special musical vision to venues large and small - from the tiniest of historic churches in England, Germany and Italy to palaces in Kyoto and Istanbul, London’s Barbican, Sydney Town Hall and the Philharmonie in Cologne – in twenty-two countries on five continents. Their performances - described by The Irish Times as “music of fire and brilliance from the high-wire act in traditional music” - are rooted but eclectic, emotional but adventurous: a breathtaking blend of traditional Irish music, hot jazz, bluegrass and baroque, coupled with striking new compositions and Chris’s delightfully subversive wit.
Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman. Bright Falls the Air
Maire Ni Chathasaigh And Chris Newman.- Eleanor Plunkett
Acoustic Guitar from Scotland
To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable.
Tony McManus has come to be recognised throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony’s hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.
Self taught from childhood, initially through listening to the family record collection, McManus abandoned academia in his twenties to pursue music full time. The session scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh provided the springboard for gigs around Scotland and a studio set for BBC Radio, frequently rebroadcast, began to spread the word.
Tony’s first self titled recording in 1996, followed by Pourquoi Quebec in 1999 led to worldwide recognition. However, it was with the release of Ceol More in 2002 that Tony’s stature as a first class musician reached a new level. Having been nominated as Musician of the Year by both the BBC Folk Awards and The Scottish Traditional Music awards, in 2002 “Ceol More” hit the Critic’s Album of the year list in Acoustic Guitar magazine and named “Live Ireland Awards” Album of the Year.
Tony’s work has come to represent Celtic music in the guitar world, making regular appearances at guitar specific events where just a few years ago jigs and reels would be unheard of. His ability to reach audiences unfamiliar with traditional music is remarkable- he is quite comfortable at predominantly classical events such as the Dundee and Derry Guitar Festivals (appearing six times between the two) the Uppsala Guitar Festival and even The Bogotá International Guitar Festival where he followed virtuoso Eduardo Fernandez.
He is also in great demand as a studio musician having contributed to over 60 albums. In addition to his solo output Tony has worked with both singers and instrumentalists providing his distinctive sound on many successful projects.
His 2009 release “The Makers’s Mark” saw him showcase 15 of the finest luthier built guitars available. Recording a solo piece on each instrument, the project caught the attention of the mainstream rock guitar press in a way that acoustic work rarely does.
The following year, a chance hearing on Irish radio led to an invite to contribute music to the soundtrack of Oscar winning director Neil Jordan’s film “Ondine” starring Colin Farrell.
Never one to be typecast, Tony’s new album “Mysterious Boundaries” is his most ambitious to date. An encouraging challenge from mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall to learn the Bach E Major Prelude on guitar led to an exploration of classical and baroque music – seemingly very different to the jigs and reels that he grew up with. By examining the boundaries between genres and sticking to his steel string guitar (rather than the conventional classical guitar) McManus has produced a work of great originality and beauty, hailed by his peers as “a masterpiece” (Renbourn), “beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” (Tommy Emmanuel) and which contains a truly remarkable rendition of Bach’s colossal Chaconne in D Minor – one of the greatest compositions of any age.
Whatever work McManus brings within his scope the listener is assured a journey into the depths of the music in the company of a great talent.
Tony McManus - Bidh Clann Ullaidh (The Clan of Ulster)
Tony McManus: "Piebroch" - Hugh's Room
Racism, Reconciliation and The Blues
Phil Wiggins and George Kilby Jr., are proud to present a program of music, discussion of American history, racism, and an insightful look at their Southern heritage. Included in the program are early American work songs and a discussion of the African influence on early music. They take a look at the blues and how it developed from “Race Music” to Rock and Roll -- leading to a discussion on racism and citing both cultural factors and the power of the fear of the unknown. The artists perform and discuss their own music as they feel it can be a healing and key factor in reconciling differences, whether racial, political or cultural.
Phil Wiggins was half of the internationally acclaimed acoustic blues duo “Cephas and Wiggins” for 30 years. George Kilby Jr spent 20 years playing with and producing albums for the legendary pianist Pinetop Perkins. A link to Wiggins’ recent National Heritage Award is HERE, The duo's educational lecture/concert, called “Racism, Reconciliation, and the Blues”, is an entertaining and enlightening spoken word program with live music. As a black and a white musician, growing up in Alabama during the Civil Rights Era, they are uniquely qualified to speak about their experiences and frame the conversation on racism in the rich cultural backdrop of the blues.
Phil met George Kilby Jr not long after the passing of their respective musical partners. This meeting has resulted in a new partnership including tours and festivals in the US, Canada and Europe, a well-received recording, and a songwriting collaboration for an upcoming album.
George Kilby Jr. was born in Alabama; and the sounds of the South have never left him. Roots-Rock or Americana fit well enough, but the band has a sound all its own. Along with great songwriting, Kilby’s unique approach to the blues features unconventional instrumentation via accordion, mandolin, bari sax, etc. Added to that are influences from country music and a little bit of the Allman Brothers. George’s 20 years of playing with blues legend Pinetop Perkins always show in his repertoire. In a review of his recent CD, Elmore Magazine says: “Naturally this disc offers solid blues but [the band sounds like] five different bands that played a honky tonk roadhouse on successive nights.” Kilby’s recent collaborations with members of the Jamgrass phenomenon Railroad Earth and harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins add to the depth of his sound. George Kilby Jr. has taken his music from the road-houses of the Southeast to the major music festivals of Europe. His sound… has been called everything from New Orleans R&B to Alternative Country. George’s website HERE.
Black Man on the Corner
Matt Flinner Trio
“Deeply Rooted New Acoustic Music”
In 2006, three musical pals decided to get together to play a few gigs; since then, the Matt Flinner Trio has been exploring new pathways and setting new standards for the bluegrass trio sound all around the U.S. and Europe.
Mandolinist Matt Flinner, guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin cover a wide variety of musical styles—all with the common ground of American roots music. Bluegrass, jazz and old-time music are all present here in their ways, along with a dose of classical chamber music composition and arrangement, as the members all draw from their wide array of musical loves, experiences and influences. These influences boil down into the trio’s own organic sound of New Acoustic music, or Modern String Band music, or Chamber Grass (music is getting harder and harder to label these days, isn’t it?). Whatever label you put on it, it is guaranteed to be fresh and original, and definitely something you’ve never quite heard before.