NOMA presents a series of virtual concerts featuring a range of music’s best and brightest performing from their homes. Assembled by internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist and composer Mahmoud Chouki, enjoy these relaxed and informal music experiences with acclaimed musicians from New Orleans and beyond.
ABOUT KHRIS ROYAL AND DANNY ABEL
Khris Royal was born to be a musician. This young and exceptional New Orleans native began playing the saxophone at seven years old, and producing and writing music at fourteen. Royal’s musical talents were nurtured at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) High School, in classrooms once shared by jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison. When Royal was only 16, he was granted a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, and his career has taken off since then.
To date, Royal has played with hip-hop giants and jazz and funk legends alike, from Lettuce, to Bobby Brown, Alvin Batiste, Ellis Marsalis, Christian Scott, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, Tony Clifton, The Sam Kininger Band, and Johnta Austin. The impressive young artist has recorded with Mary J. Blige, Ashanti, Nelly and The Game, Erykah Badu, Goapele, D.J. Quick, and is also featured with the Regiment on Season 2 of The Boondocks. Royal has developed relationships with prominent New Orleans artists as well, such as George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Fred Wesley, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Galactic, and countless more. The range of Khris’ musical relationships is versatile and reflects the scope of his talent. Although Royal continues to expand and develop his craft, from jazz, hip-hop, rock, soul, electronic, funk, R & B, blues, and reggae—musically, there is not much Khris Royal has not already mastered and incorporated into his unique style.
Since coming to New Orleans in 2001, Danny Abel has become one of the most in-demand guitar players in the Crescent City. Originally from Jackson, MS, Danny began playing guitar at the age of 11. Learning to play music in Jackson, he quickly developed a strong sense of blues and got his introduction to jazz, two styles which largely shape his playing today. At the age of 18 Danny moved to New Orleans and began studying jazz performance at UNO, getting the opportunity to study with Steve Masakowski, Hank Mackie, and Ed Petersen, just to name a few. He graduated in 2005 and has stayed in the city, gigging regularly all over town.
Today Danny’s main gig is touring with Tank and The Bangas. You can find him in venues and at festivals all over the world with the band. And when he’s not on tour with TATB you can find him at many venues around New Orleans, playing numerous styles. His diversity is one of his strongest assets and enables him to maintain a full schedule year round. Danny is a core member of live-electronic band Gravity A, in addition to playing with the high energy funk outfit Khris Royal and Dark Matter. Other groups you can catch Danny with include: Pat Casey and the New Sound, Soul Brass Band, Corey Henry & The Treme Funktet, Derrick Freeman & Smoker’s World, Groovesect, etc – this list goes on and on. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to share the stage with many great musicians, including George Porter Jr., Doug Wimbish, Fred Wesley, Nicholas Payton, Stanton Moore, Ike Stubblefield, Terrence Higgins, Nigel Hall, Big Sam Williams, and countless others.
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ABOUT GEOVANE PAIVO SANTOS
Currently a local presence in the New Orleans music scene, Geovane Santos, a native Brazilian from the city of Belo Horizonte, is a guitarist, composer, arranger, vocalist, researcher, and educator. Awarded the 2017 Louis Armstrong Foundation Jazz Composer Award through ASCAP in association with the University of New Orleans (UNO), Santos holds a M.A. in Jazz Studies from UNO and is now a first year PhD student in the Latin American Studies program at Tulane University.
ABOUT THE SWAMP BUDS
Born in Lafayette Louisiana, fiddle player and vocalist Marie-Isabelle Evangeline is a second generation culture bearer. When an injury prevented her from dancing to the music she grew up with, Marie-Isabelle started performing on stage. She has played fiddle and vocals with Yeux D’Soco, The Backporch Review, The Swamp Buds, and the Swamp Blossoms. In addition to performing traditionals from South Louisiana, she also writes original songs and poetry. Her writings have been published by The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In addition to performing, Marie-Isabelle has devoted much of her time to social change programs. She founded EarthShare Gardens and the Lafayette Hurricane Survivors Coalition, designed and implemented the programs at the Center for Restorative Approaches, and has contributed to ending homelessness through direct services, program development, and program management roles. Marie-Isabelle hopes that everyone who hears her music is transported to the feel of a community dancing in step – with floorboards creaking under the feet of our ancestors, elders, and the next generation.
Scott Stobbe is a New Orleans-based guitarist and composer. Scott has toured nationally and internationally with diverse projects playing traditional New Orleans swing, Brazilian choro as well as American and European folk musics and free improvisation. His projects and compositions have been heard at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Portland Jazz Festival, Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle, Woven Festival in Tokyo and Soledad State Prison where he taught music for 3 years. Scott has a firm belief that music is a powerful force that can uplift, heal, educate and bring people together.
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ABOUT MARTIN MASAKOWSKI AND SIMON MOUSHABECK
Bassist and luthier Martin Masakowski was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. The son of a musical family, Martin’s emersion in the arts began from a young age. He spent his youth studying visual arts and transitioned into music at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school. Martin went on to study jazz at the University of New Orleans before moving to The Netherlands to finish his bachelor’s in music at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He spent the following years touring with an Eastern European folk band, the Balcony Players. With them he explored over twenty countries in Europe, performing in clubs and festivals and also visiting Roma gypsy villages to study their music and culture. As a result of his travels and the influence of his family and his city, Martin’s musical styles span across jazz, folk, classical, electronic, experimental, Eastern European and Indian genres. Inspired by years on the road with an upright bass, Martin’s most recent endeavor was the design and building of his own custom travel bass, with future plans to produce his own line of instruments to meet the need of traveling musicians. In 2019 Martin received a Masters of Jazz Performance from the University of New Orleans.
Simon Moushabeck is a Palestinian American percussionist and accordionist living in New Orleans. He learned riq (the Arabic tambourine) from his Uncle, and later studied with masters of the Arabic music tradition including Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, and Michel Mirhej. Simon plays a modified accordion which enables him to play Arabic maqam and other microtonal music from areas near and around the Arab world. Learn more:
Follow Simon on Instagram.
ABOUT ANNA MOSS
Anna Moss is a multi-instrumentalist and one half of the band Handmade Moments. With roots in the mountains of Arkansas and the city of New Orleans, Anna’s music is an amalgam of beatnik porch jazz bathing in Southern roots, R&B, folk, and more.
Learn more on Instagram @handmademomentsmusic and @annamossmusic.
About Gary Washington, TheUrbanCellist
Between being a bassist and banjo player combined with being classically trained on the cello, Gary Washington, aka TheUrbanCellist, has created his own unique sound. From beatboxing and playing the cello at the same time to singing and playing the cello, TheUrbanCellist stands out.
Live performance is TheUrbanCellist’s specialty. He is a one man band who beat boxes and uses the cello as a percussion instrument playing the bass line lead melody and rhythms all at the same time on one cello. His live performances are high energy/earthy soulful trap/disco/funk/hiphop/soul that will keep you on your feet while also feeding souls with soulful ballads. TheUrbanCellist developed his style of playing cello in New Orleans. Playing different instruments and styles through the years influences TheUrbanCellist’s cello playing. Being exposed to such a vast and diverse repertoire enables him to push the music forward while being rooted in tradition.
Follow @theurbancellist_thefitnessgod on Instagram to learn more.
About Carmella Rappazzo and Mark Carroll
Mark Carroll and Carmela Rappazzo are both musicians and have been married for 30 years. Except for a few gigs in Newport, California, when they first met, and Mark’s gig playing the World Cup Parties when it was in Los Angeles, and a few soundtracks for independent movies, they have pursued separate paths in music. Much better to stay married. After living in New York, then L.A., then New Mexico, then back to New York, they chose to make their home in New Orleans. They were still successfully avoiding playing music together until their friend Paul Sanchez started having them up at his gigs as a duo. They now perform regularly together, covering Americana music, their own original compositions, and even a few standard jazz tunes—much to their amazement, while still married.
Carmela was raised in upstate New York with a love of the Great American Songbooks. Her father and five of his brothers were big band swing musicians. Music was always a part of family gatherings. She has lived and performed in New York, Los Angeles, and internationally. She has recorded and released three standard jazz cover albums and two original composition albums receiving critical praise for all. She was nominated for a New Mexico Music Award for best jazz original composition, has appeared in several feature films and been a part of the Musicians Assistance Program, a division of Music Cares.
Her album release Myths and Legends is a collection of original songs written by Carmela about difficult women, love gone wrong, and the dreams and spirits within us all. The recording also includes two covers from Duke Ellington and Al Anderson. The newest release, Howlin’ At The Moon, was recorded at The Ellis Marsalis Center For Music in New Orleans and is heavily influenced by the people, culture and sounds of the city. It features the great local musicians that reside in the Crescent City.
Mark Carroll is originally from New England. His love of music developed at an early age playing the guitar and several other instruments. He has played in many rock and Americana bands and led a large piece band while living in Los Angeles where he also scored independent films and documentaries including the critically acclaimed Ten Tiny Love Stories directed by Rodriego Garcia. He has appeared in theatrical performance pieces and has done studio work on various artist’s recordings. After living in New York, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and back to New York, he now resides in New Orleans and plays regularly around town and can be heard with Gwenn And Mad City, Patrick Cooper, and Carmela Rappazzo.
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ABOUT HARUKA KIKUCHI AND YOSHITAKA “Z2” TSUJI
Haruka Kikuchi was born in Japan and always had a knack and a love for music, listening to as much of it as she could at a young age as well as picking up instruments like piano and violin. It wasn’t until she heard an old recording of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band that she decided to pick up a trombone, a decision that would predicate her later move to New Orleans.
Since she arrived in the city, she has been playing with Shotgun Jazz Band, Shake’Em Up Jazz Band, Preservation Hall All Stars, Kermit Ruffins, and many others both within and beyond the US at festivals like the North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Kikuchi was a nominated member for 61st Grammy Awards, Best Regional Roots Music Album on Cha Wa’s album SpyBoy. In April 2020, a new compilation album from her Japan: New Orleans Collection Series debuted and is now available on online and at the Louisiana Music Factory.
Yoshitaka “Z2” Tsuji was born in Osaka, Japan. He started playing the piano at the age of 5, but his passion for jazz piano really grew when he was 18. From 2000 to 2010, he performed in Japan, Korea, and Spain, among other nations. He moved to New Orleans in May 2010. He currently has his own band and has been a member of Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers since 2012. Each year he performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Fest, and other music festivals in New Orleans. He has performed on the albums All About Everything by John Boutte (2012), #imsoneworleans by Kermit Ruffins (2015), Funk’n’nfeathers by Cha Wa (2016), and Basin Street Records Celebrates 20 Years (2018). In 2016, he appeared on a documentary TV program Asian Dreamer broadcasted by NHK World in New York. He released his first album, Homie, in 2016, and released a digital album on the twentieth anniversary of his musical life, From The Beginning, in 2020.
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ABOUT CINDY SCOTT AND BRIAN SEEGER
New Orleans-based vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cindy Scott and guitarist Brian Seeger have been cultivating their magical musical connection for over a decade now. The pair have wowed audiences around the world, including concerts in Kazakhstan, Turkey, Morocco and across the US and Europe. Although they both have serious jazz credentials, their performances and songwriting embrace a multitude of sounds including the music of New Orleans and Americana.
About Lilli Lewis
Trained as opera singer and classical pianist, genre-busting Americana Soul Diva Lilli Lewis has been a composer, producer and performing artist for over 20 years. Her last two critically acclaimed albums were the solo The Henderson Sessions, and The Lilli Lewis Project’s We Belong. She performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s last show before statewide Covid-19 shutdown: “Chanteuse: Celebrating New Orleans Women in Music.”
ABOUT CATHERINE BENT AND STEPHEN PAUL GUERRA
Catherine Bent is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, and has a studio for individual lessons (remote and in person) and courses in Cello Flow and Brazilian grooves for cello. She has performed with Cirque du Soleil, Joe Jackson, Enya, Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Anthony Braxton, Donna Summer, and Kanye West, and has credits as a side musician and arranger on dozens of pop, jazz, and world music recordings. In Brazil she has played on Rádio Nacional multiple times with legendary choro band Época de Ouro. Current projects include Trio de Janeiro, Macayú Trio, Quebra Tudo! and (as percussionist) folkloric dance band Forró Zabumbeca. With vocalist/guitarist Elis Roseira she is producing a new album soon to be released.
Catherine’s 2018 album Ideal,an original tribute to Brazilian traditional music, has been hailed as “One of the best Brazilian recordings you’ll hear this year” (Vancouver Sun). Roots World states that “Bent’s compositions…have an instantly classic sound that’ll get you swinging and swaying with delight.” Ideal is available at the bandcamp website.
STEPHEN PAUL GUERRA
Specializing in Brazilian guitar (violão brasileiro), Stephen Paul Guerra performs at music clubs, cultural centers, and universities around the US as a soloist and accompanist and has shared the stage with Rogério Souza, Duo Violão, Ami Molinelli, Tiago do Bandolim, Regional de NY, Catherine Bent, and Q Morrow, among others. In March 2020, his classical guitar duo project Duo Guerra/Morrow released its debut album Choro in the Time of Bossa Nova, supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council. He is a published author writing about questions of rhythm and meter in African-diasporic music of the Americas and has a PhD in music theory from Yale University.
NOMA is committed to uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures through the arts — now more than ever. Your gift will make a direct and immediate impact as NOMA welcomes our community back to the museum and sculpture garden, plans new exhibitions, and develops virtual and at-home arts education resources for school partners.