Interview with Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse, Seattle, Washington

Arnaldo started as a soloist with Seattle Men’s Chorus (SMC) and has performed with SMC in some of the major concert halls in the US, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. In 1995, he started a group called Cabaret Q, where the “drag chanteuse” persona began. In 1999, Arnaldo began his solo cabaret shows in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and has since performed his one-person cabaret in Portland, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, New York, and Manila. Arnaldo has also collaborated with various directors, choreographers, and songwriters in the Seattle area. In 2005, he completed the Cabaret Summer Conference Workshop at Yale University. In 2006, Arnaldo started the Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association and continues to organize Seattle’s March is Cabaret Month featuring local and visiting artists. 2007 marked Arnaldo’s New York cabaret debut, and in 2008, Arnaldo was honored with a New York Backstage Bistro Award. 2014 was Arnaldo’s Manila debut, where he received Most Innovative Concert Artist in Manila Gawad Musika award. In 2016, Arnaldo was presented by the Filipino Community of Seattle with a Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting culture and the arts.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/07/2020.

Interview with Aria Arus, Raleigh, North Carolina

Aria Arus is a DJ, producer, and biochemist in Raleigh, North Carolina. Biochemist by day, by night she is Neuron Husky, her psyberpunk canine alter ego. Neuron Husky blends genres of drum and bass, psytrance, hardstyle, and future bass. She has performed in venues ranging from music festivals to burns to anime conventions. She has held several residencies at clubs throughout central North Carolina, has performed in Japan and Thailand, and has played alongside renowned artists such as Jackal & Hyde, Fixx, DJ Irene, DJ Micro, John B, Apashe, Space Jesus, and many others. Starting in 2015, Neuron Husky gained recognition as both electronic musician and installation artist, designing her own performance stages. She is backed up by the artist collaborative Source Code Studios, which specializes in constructing immersive psychedelic landscapes around the dance floor.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/06/2020.

Interview with Joshua Asante, Little Rock, Arkansas

Joshua Asante is a musician, writer, and photographer. He is the lead vocalist and guitarist/keyboardist for the Little Rock, Arkansas-based indie bands Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente. Asante has also toured extensively as a solo performer, sharing what he calls “astral soul,” a blend of electronic and soul music. Onstage, Joshua sings lyrics inspired by travel through space, the paintings of Hughie Lee Smith, and the literary work of Black speculative fiction giants Henry Dumas and Octavia Butler. For his live iterations of these ideas, Asante positions himself alone surrounded by synthesizers, drum machines, guitars, and a saxophone.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/14/2020.

Interview with Aubrey Atwater, Warren, Rhode Island

Aubrey Atwater is a musician, vocalist, writer, public radio commentator, and dancer based in Warren, Rhode Island. Atwater presents programs of folk music, dance, and spoken word, and has performed and taught across the United States as well as England, Ireland, and Canada. She sings and plays the mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, mandolin, and Irish tin whistle, and also performs with percussive clogging. In both teaching and performance, Aubrey conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, showing an expertise of folk history and its key players. Part of the acclaimed duo Atwater-Donnelly, Aubrey and her husband Elwood Donnelly perform with up to eight other band members and have thirteen recordings and six books to their credit. Atwater and Donnelly are both on the performing rosters for the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/29/2020.

Interview with Ricky B, New Orleans, Louisiana

Raised in the St. Bernard projects of New Orleans, Ricky B is considered a pioneer of New Orleans bounce, an indigenous local subgenre of rap. Incorporating Mardi Gras Indian chants into his early records, Ricky is considered widely influential across multiple demographics, including rap, hip-hop, brass band, funk and more. Ricky B has multi-generational appeal, as the songs he wrote in the 1980s and 1990s are still regularly played by DJs throughout Louisiana. Ricky B is also a cultural historian and advocate for New Orleans music and culture.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/15/2020.

Interview with Aurélien Barnes, New Orleans, Louisiana

Aurélien Barnes is a New Orleans trumpet player steeped in the tradition of the city. Born in 1995, he is part of the young generation of musicians carrying on the legacy of the trumpet and the blues in New Orleans. From an early age, he learned from some of the best musicians and teachers in the city, including the Tremé Brass Band, Leroy Jones, Gregg Stafford, Kent Jordan, and many others. He is the son of Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, a multi-instrumentalist and specialist in blues, zydeco, and Afro-Caribbean musics. Aurélien performs with several brass bands in New Orleans and around the world, including Grammy-nominated Cha Wa, Kings of Brass, the Palmetto Bug Stompers, and more. He has performed with a wide range of artists across several genres, such as Marcus King, Nicholas Payton, Solange, Dr. John, and Carlos Vives. In addition to his musical diversity, Aurélien is a French citizen and speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese fluently.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/14/2020.

Interview with Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, New Orleans, Louisiana

Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes is a musician, author, and ethnographic photographer. Sunpie is the Big Chief of the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, one the oldest Afro-Creole carnival groups in the United States, which began its traditions in 1819. He is a member of the Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club and the band leader of Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots. His joint book and album project, Le Kèr Creole, was co-authored with Rachel Breunlin and Leroy Etienne. Sunpie is a former National Park Service Ranger, former high school biology teacher, former college football All-American, and former NFL football player for the Kansas City Chiefs. He performs his own style of Afro-Louisiana music, incorporating blues, zydeco, creole jazz, gospel, work songs, and Caribbean and African-influenced rhythms and melodies and is a multi-instrumentalist who plays accordion, harmonica, and piano along with rubboard, talking drum, and dejembe. He is a former member of the Paul Simon Band, and his acting work has appeared in the Hollywood films Point of No Return, Deja Vu, Under Cover Blues, Jonah Hex, Tremé, The Big Easy, Skeleton Key, and many more.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/14/2020.

Interview with Trina Basu, New York City, New York

Trina Basu is a violinist, improviser, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Trina is trained in Western Classical music, later studying jazz and Carnatic music. Her path as a violinist is influenced by her South Asian and North American roots and her experience working with musicians across genres and disciplines. Trina co-leads raga chamber folk ensemble Karavika as well as Nakshatra, a violin duo with Arun Ramamurthy. She is co-founder of the collective Brooklyn Raga Massive and founder/curator of Out of the Woods, a NYC festival focusing on women led projects working in South Asian music. Trina has appeared in venues including Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and Raga Sudha Hall, performing with artists such as Urban Bush Women, Mos Def, and Imani Uzuri. She is a trained Suzuki teacher (School for Strings in NYC), holds a BM in Music Therapy from Florida State University, and is a 2007 recipient of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Artist Fellowship.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/07/2020.

Interview with Pablo Batista, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Pablo Batista is a master percussionist based in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. He has performed, recorded and toured internationally since the 1980s with renowned musicians across genres, receiving the rare distinction of having performed on Grammy-winning releases in jazz, R&B and gospel. Pablo worked with Grover Washington, Jr. since 1985, and served as his touring percussionist 1991-1999. Between 2000-2012, Pablo recorded and toured with Alicia Keys, performing alongside her at such venues as the 2010 World Cup ceremonies in South Africa for an estimated audience of over one billion viewers. Pablo has received grants for research on Afro-Cuban percussion and composer commissions from organizations including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. Pablo leads his own ten-piece Mambo Syndicate salsa conjunto. As an instructor, he has taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as taught low-income students at schools and community centers in North Philadelphia.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/08/2020.

Interview with Dewa Berata, Los Angeles, California

Bapak I Dewa Putu Berata is an internationally acclaimed Balinese musician, teacher, and composer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and Pengosekan, Bali. A graduate of STSI Denpasar (Bali’s National Academy of the Arts), he has been an artistic collaborator with dance troupes, theater companies, and music ensembles in multiple countries. He has served as Gamelan Sekar Jaya’s Guest Music Director many times since his first residency in 1994. Berata is the founder and director of Çudamani, one of Bali’s most innovative and acclaimed gamelan ensembles that has toured extensively including appearances at the Cultural Olympiade (Greece), EXPO (Japan), Tong Tong Festival (Holland), and Lincoln Center & Zellerbach Hall (USA). Çudamani has become one of the most vibrant centers of artistic activity in Bali, endeavoring to study rare classic forms of Balinese arts. Berata’s life’s work has been dedicated not only to the arts, but to creating community by providing opportunities for active arts engagement to children, youth, women, and elders. He is also the musical director for Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering artistic exchange between Bali and the United States and to sharing the excitement of this exchange with diverse audiences in California, the US, and abroad.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/23/2020.