Ken Allen, DJ and founder of Amplified Entertainment has pushed the limits of nightlife entertainment throughout northern Nevada. Many will tell you that Amplified has grown to be one of the most versatile entertainment companies to date, reaching many genres: country, EDM, Latin, hip hop, top 40, pop, and reggae. With Ken Allen leading the way for over eighteen years, Amplified has reached places that were once thought to be unreachable. Self-taught, Allen is a sought-after DJ for his ability to mix any genres of music together.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 09/30/2020.
Accordionist Mercedes Mendive is the daughter of Joe and Veronica Mendive. She attended schools in Elko and has lived in Reno, as well as eleven years in Miami, Florida. Her father was one of her greatest influences beginning at a very young age, when the sound of the accordion was constantly present in her world. Mercedes’ musical journey has taken her to prestigious accordion festivals in Texas, Orlando, Florida, Miami, as well as festivals in California, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and all over the state of Nevada. Mercedes was invited to perform in July 2016 for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival while accompanying the Elko Ariñak Basque Dancers (Basque Dancers of the Great Basin). One of Mercedes’ latest endeavors is the Ariñak Project that she co-founded during the summer of 2016 with lifelong friend and fellow dancer/musician Janet Iribarne. Their focus is to elaborate on the Basque culture not only with traditional dances, but with new dances, new music, instruments, language, and songs. Most recently, Mercedes was a featured performing artist with her band, Melodikoa, who performed throughout the prestigious 2018 National Cowboy Gathering in late January/early February in Elko, Nevada, titled Basques and Buckaroos.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/07/2020.
Hong Wang is an internationally touring multi-instrumentalist. He graduated from Nanjing Normal University’s Music Department, where he mainly studied the erhu (two-string bowed instrument) and composition. He studied oboe at Nanjing Arts Academy, and after graduation, he taught songwriting and oboe at the music department for about five years. Later, he changed his career to music editor at Jiangsu Province Institute of Arts. Hong has been living in the United States since the early 1990s. He has composed several pieces for the Chinese ensembles and contemporary mixed bands, earning him a number of awards. He has recorded for several recording companies, including Sony Classical, Sega, TDK, Sound World, and Water Baby Records. He is also a zhonghu soloist for the album Monk’s Moods, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Hong has performed extensively at many international festivals and with several renowned musicians. As a leading contemporary musician, he has played several concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as Thundering Across the Sky; A Musical Dialogue with Dancing Lions; New Music Concert with the Citywinds; and Three Sound, an experimental music series by composer Carl Stone, sheng master Wu Wei, matouqin master Li Bo, and bass clarinetist and composer Gene Coleman.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/22/2020.