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.
Originally from Georgia, Jake Xerxes Fussell is a singer and guitarist who lives in Durham, North Carolina. He has toured extensively as a solo performer and as a guitarist for a number of acts, including The Como Mamas and Joan Shelley. Fussell has released three studio albums of traditional material. He hosts a weekly radio program, Fall Line Radio, which airs every Wednesday afternoon on WHUP FM, a community station in Hillsborough, North Carolina. A long-time folklorist, ethnographer, and student of old songs and traditional repertoire, Fussell brings old repertoire to new generations in his own thoughtful and innovative way, honoring what came before while offering his own unique take on the world through song.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/18/2020.
Lakota John is a Native American artist, songwriter, producer, and musician from Southeastern North Carolina. Lakota John has toured nationally and internationally, performing in venues including the Kennedy Center, the Institute of American Indian Arts Music Fest in Santa Fe, and the Piedmont Blues Festival. He has shared the stage with artists including Pura Fe, Taj Mahal, Keith Secola, and Dom Flemons. He has studied with blues masters John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, among others, and was an artist with the Music Maker Relief Foundation, performing locally as one of their Next Generation Artists alongside elder Bluesmen. His recorded releases include Old Bluez That’s Newz to Me (2009), Lakota John and Kin (2013), and The Winds of Time (2017). Lakota John was awarded a Carolina Music Award in the America/Bluegrass category and has won first place in the 2019 Road to Memphis PBPS Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Competition.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/16/2020.
Rabbi Sandra Lawson is a rabbi, activist, public speaker, and musician based in Elon, North Carolina. Known for teaching Judaism in unique ways, Rabbi Sandra is known as the Snapchat Rabbi, and she has been featured in the Jewish Telegraph Agency as one of 10 Jews you should follow on Snapchat” and “The 50 Jews everyone should follow on Twitter.” She was ordained as a rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Sandra is a guitar player and singer. Her musical projects include the Barefoot, Bluegrass and Blues on the Porch virtual series and The Torah of the Blues, which explores connections between Judaism and the Blues in relation to her perspective as a Black rabbi with southern roots. Rabbi Sandra serves as Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life at Elon University.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/23/2020.
Sinclair Palmer is a bass player, educator, and instrument maker based in Durham, North Carolina. They perform in a wide range of genres with multiple local bands, and have toured nationally and internationally. They are a member of the musical groups the Muslims, Violet Bell, and Loamlands. Sinclair is also a music educator, teaching in various contexts from private lessons to university settings. They have taught their own community music course titled Music Queery at the Durham venue Pinhook’s People’s School series. Sinclair also plays several other string instruments, in addition to building their own. They hold a BM in Music Performance in Double Bass from the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2017), and an MA in Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2019).
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/16/2020.
Bradley Simmons is a performer and educator of Afro-Cuban and African percussion based in Durham, North Carolina. A native of New York City, he started playing at age nine, and became a sought after Conguero and shekere player for community and religious events. Bradley has played on Broadway plays including Timbuktu with Eartha Kitt and Melba Moore and Billy Wilson’s version of Guys and Dolls starring Robert Guillame. He has performed in nightclubs with musicians including Eartha Kitt, Gregory and Maurice Hines, and Oba Babatunde, and has recorded and played with the Fatback Band and with drummer Norman Connors. Bradley is the former Music Director of the Chuck Davis African-American Dance Ensemble and has taught throughout the United States. Bradley is a Musical Director at Duke University where he teaches West African and Afro-Cuban music. He is the leader of the percussion ensemble Elements of Percussion, which tours locally and nationally.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 09/25/2020.
Caique Vidal is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and educator based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Born in Salvador, Bahia, he is steeped in the Afro-Brazilian tradition. One of his first performances took place with the ensemble of the Olodum Mirin project, participating in Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” (1993). Vidal studied at the Liceu de Artes e Oficios da Bahia and toured with the Balé Folclórico da Bahia. He participated in Mikael Mutti’s project Percussivo Mundo Novo. He has performed nationally and internationally, sharing the stage with artists including Suzana Baca, Carlinhos Brown, and Gilberto Gil. In 2012, Vidal moved to North Carolina, where he has taught Afro-Brazilian music and culture to professional musicians, publics school students, and universities. He leads the band Batuque, which uses Afro-Brazilian percussion in various contexts. Batuque has performed at venues including the Art of Cool-NC, Afro-Bahia Festival-NC, and Hardee’s Festival-VA.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/14/2020.