PERFORMERS IN JAMLAND 2015
Announcing 2015 LineUp
New Orleans mantra musicians Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band (Alvin Young and Gwendolyn Colman) are celebrated as one of the leading voices in western kirtan music, known for their dynamic sound that merges mantras, rock, funk, and world grooves. The band is a favorite headliner at festivals and conferences worldwide and they are the first kirtan band to ever play The New Orleans Jazz Festival. The band tours the U.S. and abroad playing music festivals, yoga studios, retreat centers, concert halls, and celebrations year-round.
Trevor Hall realized at a very young age that music was more than just a passion. As an eleven year old, playing harmonica beside his father in the cradle of the weeping willows of South Carolina, music quickly became his most intimate companion, guide and creative outlet. In his elementary years, he began to write his own songs and perform them locally. At sixteen he recorded his first record, and the following year he left South Carolina to study classical guitar at Idyllwild Arts Academy, an international boarding school east of Los Angeles. There, Trevor was introduced to yoga and certain spiritual practices found in India, which greatly influenced his music and his life journey. During his senior year, Trevor signed a record deal with Geffen Records and his career as a musician formally began.
Option 22 is an ecelctic Americana ensemble with a revolutionary vibe. Dubbed by one listener a “new age jam band,” their broad style spans from newgrass to space-folk to roots-rock world funk and points in between. They are channels for the music, allowing it to flow through them and deliver it to whomever is present along with messages of hope, love and healing. On the fly collaborative dynamics, rhythmic muscle and thematic inventions shower you with sound that is sure to lift your vibration and unlock the doors of your heart, allowing you to groove freely and transcend.
Based in Princeton, West Virginia, Lori McKinney (vocals, drums, djembe, spoken word) and Robert Blankenship (guitar, banjo, shamisen, hand-drums, didgeridoo) have been writing and playing music together since early 2004, forging songs from the creative blast furnace of the divine flow. Now infusing the mix are the intense, driving bass lines of Brandon Dunn (bass) and the intuitive, free form guitar stylings of Jordan Furrow (lead guitar, percussion).
Girish is a singer, songwriter, session tabla player, producer, and teacher of tantric yoga philosophy who’s life journey has been marked by a series of profound transformations. He has gone from aspiring jazz drummer to renunciant Hindu monk to first call tabla guru for the likes of Krishna Das to solo mantra troubadour, and he’s not done yet.
Girish lived in an ashram for five years taking the vows of a monk in the divine mother tradition called Dakshina Marg or Mahashakti Yoga. Another compelling sound force emerged for Girish: the chanting of Sanskrit mantras. As a monk in the ashram he spent hours every day chanting. Girish also studied Sanskrit as a means to understand the deeper meanings of these ancient chants, and helped his teacher translate dozens of hymns.
Christie Lenée has been capturing a wide audience across the US, touring frequently and delivering vibrant energy at every show. Her unique guitar work is often compared to visionaries like Michael Hedges, Bela Fleck, Andy McKee, and John Mayer- fusing folky/funky playfulness with pop/rock inspired songs and virtuosic guitar compositions. She is, as Skope Magazine states, “a refreshing burst of unrestrained love and feeling… It’s simply a joy to listen to her spirit break free.”
Lobo Marino is a mix of tribal, folk and world music featuring the harmonium, drum and various other unique instruments and voices. At its core it is the musical response to the continuous travels and ongoing spiritual journey of its members. During one of their journeys, a year long trip in South America, they encountered one of their many spirit guides, the enormous Pacific Sea Lion, also known as “el lobo marino”. From its monstrous mouth came a low growl, a welcome into the world of animal and nature worship, an inspiration that carries through their music today.
Blue Spirit Wheel is a progressive evolution in the world of mantra music. Based on the fundamental rhythms contained within the Sanskrit language, the band uses solid bass grooves, dancing tabla beats and an improvisational vocal style to create soundscapes that draw the listener into a deep state of meditation and consciousness expansion. The audience is invited to participate by chanting simple mantras along with the music, or interact with the sounds through dance and movement, or enter a receptive meditative space where the vibrations of the Sanskrit bija mantras create powerful energy shifts.
The musicians in Blue Spirit Wheel are all practicing yogis who bring together a diverse range of stylistic and cultural influences, ranging from rock and jazz to choral and a cappella to Indian classical and world grooves. All of these sounds are woven into a coherent whole and placed in the service of spiritual transformation.
Baltimore band Fractal Cat mixes pop song and vocal craft inspired by early rock ‘n’ roll, classic soul, and psychedelia with more eclectic elements. The range of textures from acoustic guitar to saxophone to electronic found sounds elicits a feeling both familiar and new. On the eve of Halloween 2012, the band released its first album, The Eye in the Dawn, a collection of songs that Baltimore singer/songwriter Miles Gannett had been accumulating since his teens. According to Gannett, the album was “inspired by the psychedelic experience and a journey of spiritual awakening.” Featuring the jazz/Afro beat–influenced drumming of Jason Baker, the electronic sound–wizardry of Joe Clark, the acoustic rhythm guitar of Keith Jones, the dubbed-out bass of Andy Myatt, and Gannett’s lysergic lead guitar and production, Eye revealed a band paying its debts to the psychedelic rock canon while envisioning a new path forward.
The Deer Run Drifters
What do you get when you take two sets of brothers, the broken remnants of an unheard Alt-Country band, and the skills of a veteran bassist? Is it countless cases of beer? Maybe it’s endless amounts of broken guitar strings, or perhaps more simply, it’s those late night practices in an empty wood shed knowing you have to drag your ass into work the next morning. Well, it’s all of those things. More importantly, it’s the perfect combination of those things. It’s none other than a genuine love for music that has forged The Deer Run Drifters. With one half of the band influenced by the sounds and lyrics of Alt-Country, and the other half deeply rooted in a more modern folk, The Deer Run Drifters have quickly carved themselves out a perfect spot in Americana music.
Internationally touring sensation Brightside is bringing sunshine around the world. Born in Venice Beach, their California Roots Rock style is contagious to audience alike. The band sites many diverse influences such as Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album, Jack Johnson, Van Morrison, and Bob Marley. Their deep grooves, catchy melodic hooks, and positive message seamlessly weaves together to create music with depth, soul, and purpose. In 2014, the band released their critically acclaimed debut EP “West of Lincoln”, and has shared the bill with great acts such as Michael Franti & Spearhead, Matisyahu, Rebelution, Ozomatli, G-Love, Nikka Costa, and Donavon Frankenreiter. Prepare to embark on a musical journey, celebrating the power of love, cultural preservation, and the richness of the human spirit.
Ustad Shafaat Khan, world-renowned classical musician, debuted at the age of 11 in the King’s Lynn Festival opened by the Queen Mother. Since then he has performed worldwide at many prestigious concert halls, music festivals, universities in India, Pakistan, Japan, Russia, China, Malaysia, UK, Germany, France, and Italy, and other European countries. He has played at events that were inaugurated by numerous dignitaries, including Presidents and Prime Ministers of various countries around the world. He has shared a television performance with Ray Charles in Germany and recently performed alongside Stevie Wonder at the Bonaroo Festival–one of the largest music festivals in the United States. He has performed in almost all of the major cities in the US. Through his music he has helped raise money for various charitable purposes including aid for flood victims, disabled children, battered women, and tsunami victims amongst other causes serving those who are in need.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Ani DiFranco & Bela Fleck are just a few artists that funk folk guitarist/singer Kelly Zullo is often compared to. A veteran of touring and a nomad of music, her funk-slap-hammer-on acoustic guitar playing distinguishes her sound from most singer-songwriters. Most recently, Guitar World Magazine calls her music “An energetic acoustic guitar assault by this skilled, funky speed demon.”
Zullo approaches the ‘one man band set’ with a focused frenzy on the acoustic guitar technique and songs they are centered around. A standout from many one-individual shows, Zullo slaps and picks her acoustic at lightning speeds, weaving in and out of the loops on live drums she played just moments earlier. Meanwhile, her feet are pounding out the bass notes below on a PK-5 Midi Bass pedal rig. The sound is incredibly all from one person.
HuDost functions as a duo (with the core musicians Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines) or as a band, incorporating musicians of varying sensibilities and backgrounds, and often including performance art and dance in their shows. As a duo their instrumentation includes vocals, harmonium (Indian Pump-Organ), Shahi Baaja (Electric Indian Auto-Harp), guitars, Bazouki, Dulcinet, percussion, and a slew of sonic ambient effects. Their music is a rich, eclectic blending of Pop and Rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and Folk. Their sound crosses all borders and barriers, taking the listener on a journey they will never forget.
Travis Knapp – born, raised, and living in rural Central New York State – creates music that is unapologetically optimistic, uplifting to the soul, and rooted in a spiritual and earthly vision.
With a diverse stylistic palette of folk, soul, jazz, pop, classical, blues, and gospel traditions, his organic accompaniment on piano, banjo, and guitar supports a strong expressive voice. His latest and most representative album “For Everything That’s Good” was released in October 2014. It was written while bicycle touring around the country, and features the banjo and abundant vocal harmonies.
Spoon Fight is an alternative rock band with roots that dig into Blues. The band formed in 2009 in Floyd County, Virginia. Spoon Fight features Luke Thomas on guitar and lead vocals, Jake Thomas on drums and back-up vocals, and Isaac Wright on bass.
Intriguing lyrics and melodic, blues-heavy guitar solos are a hallmark of Spoon Fight’s music. Their fresh, dynamic sound is the result of years of creative collaboration by three long-time friends, two of whom are brothers. The trio has been creating music together ever since they first picked up their instruments years ago.
Lighthawk (Mark Kenworthy) is an accomplished composer/musician/performer of atmospheric orchestrations, ambient world beat and contemporary piano works with 8 CDs to his name. He has also presented “playshops” on the use of music and vibration as a healing tool.
Performances are a mixed palette of inner dimensional and atmospheric ambient music using multi layered synthesized orchestration combined with the energy and rhythmic influences of Celtic, Middle Eastern, popular and classical dance beats. This is accomplished by choreographing multiple voicings (such as oboe, violin, harp, choir, flute, piano and ethereal effects), throughout the keyboards.
The family band features the talents of Eli and Aila Wildman, ages 14 and 12, on mandolin and fiddle playing traditional bluegrass with a focus on progressive instrumental leads and strong vocals, with a mastery uncommon in ones so young. The pair began their bluegrass careers early as part of Floyd Music School’s “The Blackberries”, playing events throughout the region of Southwestern Virginia since 2011. Mom, Deb Wildman holds down the beat with the bass, and we welcome the guitar skills of Hunter Crawford to round out the group with a fine bluegrass sound.
The Wildmans released their first CD, “Blackberries Jam”, in November 2014. The 29 minute CD is a compilation of fiddle tunes and traditional songs.
Indie folk pop singer-songwriter Joy Truskowski is a one-woman band, weaving together a sonic quilt of soulful and angelic harmonies, flute, guitar, and percussion live through a loop station, creating introspective songs that evoke love, compassion, tolerance, and revolution. Website where you can find links to music, videos, and more: www.joytruskowski.com
Bill is a drummer/percussionist whose lifetime passion with sound and rhythm has taken him on an extraordinary musical journey. Early exposure to rock music and later jazz and 20th Century classical, greatly influenced his musical direction. Bill’s journey would soon take him down another path when he began listening to traditional music from various parts of the globe. In 2001 Bill began to experiment with improvisations and compositions on gongs singing bowls and other metal percussion. The sound of the gong is mysterious and otherworldly. The dynamic range of these glorious instruments can begin with a mere whisper and end with a thunderous roar. They are one of the oldest musical instruments and have been used for thousands of years by indigenous cultures in rituals and healing ceremonies as well as for entertainment in music and dance.