Sinhô Francisco is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist born and raised in the city of Recife with a long professional career performing extensively throughout northeastern Brazil. His music draws on many Brazilian musical genres of the Northeast including baião, coco, embolada, ciranda, frevo, maracatu, and xote. Francisco’s songs are an inspiration to audiences seeking positive human relations, peace, love, and social responsibility. His poetic texts bring a tender view of the world where everyday life becomes the center of social and artistic activities. His professional musical career began at age 18 at Recife’s center for cultural activities. In 1985, Sinhô Francisco traveled to Rio de Janeiro to record his first album titled Radiant. He then participated in “Ciranda,” a program that saw him performing in important music festivals of throughout Brazil, including “Canta Nordeste” (1994), “Geraldão Stadium” (1995), and “EPHF” (1996). Additionally, his work has been featured on albums with the groups Xote Térmico and Banda Bacurau. His compositions have also been featured on the albums of Maciel Melo, Genival Lacerda, João Lacerda, Dudu Accordion, Salatiel, and Dominguinhos. He also served as resident artist at Paço Alfândega library in 2009 to 2013. Sinhô Francisco is currently working on a recording project titled A Lua é loa featuring new compositions and collaborations with many artists and songwriters from his generation.
Brazilian Voices, a non-profit organization, is a women’s vocal ensemble that performs for cultural, charitable and educational purposes. Known as 10-time winner of the Brazilian International Press Award for Outstanding Brazilian Musical Group, the group has released 7 CDs and performed widely for 14 years, including in Barcelona, Madrid, Mexico, New York and London, in addition to almost 400 performances in South Florida. Its talented female vocalists volunteer their voices and time to preserve the rich multicultural Brazilian heritage and do intercultural outreach in the community. Brazilian Voices fosters cultural exchange and music appreciation through its four departments: Concerts, Education, Arts & Healing and Customized Performances, all of which are developed and organized by diverse community volunteers. Brazilian Voices is proud to receive ongoing support from state and local cultural sponsors as well as private donors and arts patrons. http://www.brazilianvoices.org/
"Energized through our love for Brazilian music, we sing, educate and promote well-being within ourselves, our community and our world."
A self-taught musician, artist, and also Professor of Biology, Cesar Meneguette (Cesinha) first learned percussion in his home town of São José do Rio Preto (São Paulo State) from Master Bongô and many other local musicians. He took part in several performances with Welson Tremura at the festival of Campos do Jordão, where he developed a variety of drum set-like techniques for the timba, a cylindrical hand drum. As a drummer and percussionist he has participated with several musical groups: Realejo, Madeira e Vento, Mosaico, Libambo, and Kalamarkay. He has also performed on the DVD Raízes D'África (African Roots) with the group Memphis. Cesinha frequently accompanies traditional musicians in São José do Rio Preto and throughout Southeast Brazil, and has worked with pianist Roberto Farah in festivals all over Brazil. He is a member of the Official Band of the city of São José do Rio Preto performing for the Festival Nacional de MPB (National Brazilian Popular Music Festival), which is now entering its 11th year. Cesinha is also an instrument maker and wood worker specializing in a variety of percussive instruments, thereby developing and building instruments that he uses for his own performances. Currently, he plays, composes, and arranges with the Disk Jazz group, helping revive the work of many acclaimed composers.
Ulisses Rocha was born in Rio de Janeiro (1960) and is one of his country’s finest guitarist/composers. He has performed and recorded as both soloist and in the musical company of some of Brazil’s best known artists including Gal Costa, Cesar Camargo Mariano, and Hermeto Pascoal. He has also shared the stage with Egberto Gismonti, Al Di Meola, Eliane Elias, Marco Pereira, and Paulo Belinatti. Dr. Rocha began playing and studying classical guitar at a young age but also took up electric guitar to explore rock and roll music. At the same time the ever-present influence of Brazilian music with its abundance of great guitarist-composers influenced his musical development. These diverse elements have combined to make Ulisses adept in a variety of musical styles while also developing his own unique guitar style. In the early 1980s he united with fellow guitarists André Geraissati and Mozart Mello to form the Group D’Alma, a musically eclectic trio that influenced the formation of the enormously successful trio of John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, and Al di Meola. In 1985, he recorded Alguma coisa a ver com o Silêncio (Something to do with Silence) under the Visom label. To date, Ulisses has released eleven CDs and participated in numerous recording projects with other artists. He has performed as a soloist with many Brazilian orchestras and at international festivals throughout the world. Dr. Rocha has been a professor at the Unicamp Faculty of Music since 1990 and is currently a Visiting Professor of Guitar in the School of Music at the University of Florida where he was also the 2012-2013 Bacardi Eminent Scholar through the Center for Latin American Studies. For more information on Ulisses Rocha, visit www.ulissesrocha.com.
Welson Tremura (Musicologist, guitarist and singer) is a native of Brazil and a Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Florida State University. Dr. Tremura also holds a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Combining classical guitar and voice to interpret the most acclaimed bossa nova songs and his own guitar compositions, Dr. Tremura maintains an active performance and academic schedule and has been involved in concerts, presentations, and interdisciplinary projects in in Brazil, China, Mexico, Guatemala, United States, India, Spain, Italy, Germany, and New Zealand. Some of these events include the International Double Reed Convention (Rotterdam, Holland), Festival de Inverno (Campos do Jordão, Brazil), Nashville Opry Theatre Christmas Concert with Barbara Mandrel, and a benefit Concert with Bernadette Peters (Tallahassee). Dr. Tremura is currently an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Music and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida where his research focuses on music and religion of folk Catholicism of the folia de reis (Three Kings celebration) and other Brazilian folk and popular music. Additional research areas include the usage of digital technology in performance, global technology, and the inclusion of world music as a core discipline and collaborative method for teaching. Dr. Tremura directs the Brazilian Music Institute (BMI) and is the co-director for the University’s Brazilian music ensemble Jacaré Brazil. He actively performs with the Alachua Guitar Quartet (AGQ) and has performed with the renowned Ahn Trio and the California Guitar Trio. His most recent academic publication: Brazilian Folia de Reis: With an Open Heart: A Spiritual Journey Through Song is available in paperback throughout several publishing sites. For additional information on Welson Tremura, please visit www.welsontremura.com .
Larry Crook is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Florida where he teaches courses on music of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. A percussionist, Dr. Crook began performing professionally while in high school and then studied orchestral percussion with George Frock at the University of Texas at Austin. In Austin he began specializing in drum set and hand percussion while performing in numerous groups. He performs on a wide variety of percussion instruments including pandeiro, cuíca, cajón, reco-reco, atabaque, congas, and berimbau. He has studied with and performed alongside many outstanding musicians including Godwin Agbeli, Abou Sylla, Augustin Frisner, Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro, Oscar Bolão, Jorge Martins, João do Pífano, and Hamza El Din. Dr. Crook is founder and co-director of the Jacaré Brazil music ensemble at UF and area head for Musicology/Ethnomusicology. His research focuses on Brazilian music, the African Diaspora, and popular music, and he has numerous publications to his name. He also invents, designs, and builds many of the percussion instruments he plays.
Vadim Arsky (saxophonist, conductor, and arranger) received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Brasilia - Brazil (1987) and his master’s from University of Louisville (1990), both in saxophone performance. From 1990 to 1994, was the coordinator of the wind instruments department at the CLAM, Centro Livre de Aprendizagem Musical, a Brazilian music school in São Paulo directed by the Zimbo Trio specialized in teaching bossa nova. Since 1994, Vadim has been the saxophone professor of the University of Brasília where also teaches chamber music, theory, jazz and bossa nova studies and started popular music program and a jazz band. He was the winner of the Eldorado Prize (1991), the most important award for classical music performance in Brazil, in which all instrumentalists compete for the overall prize. Mr. Arsky was also the semifinalist of the East and West Competition at the Carnegie Hall (1995). As a saxophone player, he performs as a soloist and chamber musician and is a member of the Com Domínio do Sax, one of the first saxophone quartets in Brazil. He also performs a wide variety of popular music styles including jazz, bossa nova, and choro. From 2006 to 2013 Vadim served as the director of bands at the American School of Brasilia, where he taught some 600 middle and high school students through the program. In 2015 he moved to Florida to pursue his Ph.D. degree in Music Education at University of Florida where he performs and arranges for the UF Brazilian music ensemble Jacaré Brazil.
Beatriz Malnic is Co-Founder and Musical Director of Brazilian Voices, Inc., in operation since 2001. Beatriz received her BA in Music from the University of São Paulo and came to the US in 1996, where she was immediately in demand performing and recording as a singer, teacher, arranger, conductor and choir director. As a music educator, Beatriz teaches piano and vocal master classes. She has recently coached vocalists at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the L’Auditori in Barcelona, the Conservatory of Music in São Paulo, the Ignacio de Loyola Church in the Vatican, and the Brazilian Music Workshop with Antonio Adolfo in Hollywood, FL. As an arranger, she has produced most of the vocal arrangements performed by Brazilian Voices. As a vocalist, she has performed and recorded with music icons such as Al Di Meola, Nestor Torres, Chico Buarque, and Toquinho, among others. Beatriz is the featured vocalist on several CDs. Her CD Bossa Nova and Samba (Warner Music of Brazil) was directed by Nelson Motta and produced by Roberto Menescal. Released in 2006, her CD Estrada do Sol features bass player Don Wilner, drummer Duduka da Fonseca, pianist Mike Orta, and jazz saxophonists Felipe Lamoglia and Harry Allen. Two of her latest CDs, Bossa n’ Blues (2009) and Chico Buarque by Beatriz Malnic (2012) have won Brazilian International Press Awards for the best CD by a Brazilian artist in the US; Beatriz also received the prestigious Brazilian Press Award as the best singer in 2009. In 2014 Beatriz won another Brazilian Press Award for her bossa nova performance “Girl from Ipanema” at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center, Florida.
Drummer, percussionist, composer and arranger, Clyde J. Connor is a native of Grove, Oklahoma, and graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1988. After graduation, Clyde attended the University of North Texas as a graduate student in the Jazz Studies Masters Degree program and was a member of the Two O’clock Lab Band. While there, Clyde successfully auditioned for the U. S. Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble and in the fall of 1989, moved to Washington, D.C. In the Navy, Clyde was featured as a performing musician, composer and arranger, with many charts to his credit included in regular concert programming and recordings. Clyde can be heard on numerous recordings as a session player at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland, with the majority of work in conjunction with major music publishing companies including Barnhouse, Columbia, CP Beldwin and Warner Brothers. In addition, Clyde’s compositions and arrangements are being performed by university and professional groups worldwide. In the Fall of 2016, Clyde began serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida where he is currently teaching percussion and jazz arranging. Artists Clyde has performed with include Jeff Andrews, Louie Bellson (drum duet), Randy Brecker, Dave Brubeck, Pete Christlieb, Eddie Daniels, Curtis Fuller, Jon Faddis, Terry Gibbs, Don Grolnick, Milt Hinton, Steve Kahn, Dave Liebman, Brandon Marsalis, Don Menza, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schurr, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Shew, Lou Soloff, Marvin Stamn, Clark Terry, Stanley Turentine, Chris Vadala, Ernie Watts, Joe Williams and Snooky Young.
Trumpeter Scott Wilson has established himself as one of the rising stars of jazz – both as a performer and as a pedagogue. Since earning two masters’ degrees from the University of North Texas and paying his dues on concert stages from Orlando to Osaka, Scott is in constant demand as a player, composer and educator. In addition to his dynamic live and recorded performances on trumpet, he is regarded as one of the world’s foremost proponents of the electronic valve instrument (EVI). Wilson has diverse international performance credits having shared the stage with jazz luminaries including Benny Green, Wayne Bergeron, Gordon Goodwin, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Coffin, Shelly Berg, Denis DeBlasio, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Terrell Stafford, Ron Blake, John Pizzarelli, Ed Shaughnessy, Alex Acuña, and others. He has served as Musical Director for Universal Studios Japan, staff composer for Grand Link World in Qingdao, China, and has been a featured trumpet soloist for Tokyo Disney Sea, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Studios Orlando. As an educator, Wilson has been at the forefront of designing online platforms for jazz education and his nationally published online platforms include Jazz Fundamentals 1, Jazz Fundamentals 2, Jazz Aural Skills and Jazz History. Through Kendall Hunt Publishing these courses can be adopted and delivered to colleges and public schools nationwide. Wilson now serves as Artist Director for Lakeshore Music Jazz Series in Arizona and was a former Artistic Director for the famed Crescent Super Band (Downbeat Award winners 2006-2012). Scott Wilson heads the Jazz Studies program at the University of Florida and has developed a new Jazz Minor and designed six new jazz courses which allow students to receive current music industry skill sets and technology training as they learn creative approaches to problem solving.
Todd Wright, one of the Carolina’s ambassadors for jazz, joined the Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music faculty at Appalachian State University in 1990. As director of jazz studies he oversees the course of study for the Jazz Certification Program, and in 1993 created the university’s Jazz Vocal Ensemble. He has been the recipient of several university and community service awards, and was selected a winner of a Jazz Fellowship Award given by the North Carolina Arts Council. In 2013 he was chosen Appalachian State University nominee to the UNC State Board of Governance in recognition of the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest award given by the Board of Governors. It recognizes a member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina “who has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” He is a jazz clinician, an adjudicator at festivals, and performs as guest artist with school jazz ensembles. He is an active jazz saxophonist and has led the ASU Jazz Ensemble on four European performance tours. Along with Unifour Jazz Ensemble he was chosen winner of Downbeat Magazine’s Gold Award at Musicfest in Chicago and has performed at Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Wright has shared the stage with many of the world’s greatest musicians and entertainers. A few include Idina Menzel, Benny Golsen, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Dr. Billy Taylor, Sam Rivers, Jason Marsalis, Bernard Purdie, Marcus Roberts and Peter Erskine. He has opened for the world famous Dave Brubeck Quartet. As a studio musician Wright can be heard on numerous projects of other artists. He has produced three CD recordings under his own name. While Wright can be heard regularly with his groups in the North Carolina High Country he has also performed internationally in Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain and Brazil.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Jason Hainsworth is in demand both as a saxophonist and composer/arranger. Having studied at the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Jason went on to study music at the University of New Orleans with legendary jazz educator Ellis Marsalis. Hainsworth then moved to the New York/ New Jersey area to pursue his musical studies while performing along the East Coast. After receiving his undergraduate degree in music from William Paterson University, Jason entered Florida State University for graduate work. At FSU he became a member of the Leon Anderson Quartet as well as performing with Marcus Printup, Wycliff Gordon, Kevin Bales, and many others. As a composer/arranger, Jason’s works have been performed throughout the world at various high school and university jazz festivals such as Louisiana State, University of Iowa, Jacksonville State, Michigan State, and Florida A&M. His first vocal arrangement was premiered last spring at the Florida Music Educators Conference by the Dillard Center for the Arts Vocal Ensemble. Kaleidoscope is the title of Jason’s debut CD, which features his large jazz band, the Jason Hainsworth Jazz Orchestra. The recording is available through cdbaby.com and iTunes and features his original compositions and arrangements. He currently lives in the South Florida area and can be heard playing as a sideman in bands led by Michael Dease, Etienne Charles, Melton Mustafa, Rodolfo Zuniga, and Fernando Ulibarri in addition to leading his own groups. The University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press publishes Mr. Hainsworth’s compositions and arrangements. This is Professor Hainsworth’s 13th year serving as Director of Broward College’s Jazz Program.
Alex Berti was born in Venezuela and began his musical studies at the age of five and by sixteen was performing on double bass as a member of the Venezuelan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Two years later he joined one of the most prestigious orchestras in South America: El Sistema Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. With the Simon Bolivar, Alex had the opportunity to perform in some of the most important concert halls of the world: Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Festival Hall in London, Teatro de la Opera Madrid, UNESCO Hallin Paris, Teatro Colon in Argentina, Teatro Heitor Villa-Lobos in Brazil, and Teatro Teresa Carreño in Caracas. In 1991 he became Principal Double Bass of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra where he served until he moved with his family to the United States in 1995. Throughout his extensive musical career Alex has participated in renowned international music festivals, like Tanglewood, Montpellier, and Trinidad, and has shared the stage with top artists like Placido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Montserrat Caballet, Eduardo Mata, Jean Pierre Rampal, Paco de Lucia, Zubin Meta, and Arturo Sandoval, among others. Mr. Berti is also an active composer and held the position of Composer in Residence of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and Director of the MISO Big Band. He was chosen to be part of the jury for Cintas Foundation Composer’s Competition 2014. Currently, Mr. Berti is the musical arranger for Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, professor of double bass at Miami Youth Symphony Project, and instructor of double bass at New World School of the Arts. He also recently began conducting the string orchestra of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony.
Jazz pianist, Michael Orta has been very active on the jazz scene. Displaying his compositional and performance abilities, he recorded two albums with his jazz fusion group The Wave on the Atlantic Jazz record label. In 1991, Michael toured as pianist for the Arturo Sandoval group as well as recording on Sandoval's American debut album Flight To Freedom (GRP). In 1993, Michael was chosen as one of five finalists in the prestigious Great American Jazz Piano Competition. In 1994, Michael spent the year touring and recording with the Paquito D'Rivera group playing concerts and clubs in Trinidad, Curaçao, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Greece, Holland, and Slovenia. Michael has also been an active clinician, sharing his musical knowledge and philosophy with music students in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and South America. He was most recently invited to give masterclasses at the Conservatories of Puerto Rico, Madrid, and Berlin. Michael is an Associate Professor at Florida International University where he teaches jazz piano, jazz improvisation, and is director of the FIU Latin Jazz ensemble. Michael released his debut album, Freedom Tower (Fantasy/Contemporary) featuring Paquito D'Rivera, Nicky Orta, Gary Campbell, and others. Michael has two publications with Warner Brothers, Jazz Pedagogy: The Big Band Resource Guide, and Jazz Etudes for Piano. Michael has been actively touring with his group the Araya-Orta Latin Jazz Quartet and in 2010 performed at the Rivera Maya Jazz Festival in Tulum, Mexico and at the National Theater in Costa Rica, with special guest artists Paquito D'Rivera and Diego Urcola. The group also performed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival in Minnesota in 2012. They headlined the festival in 2015.