An internationally known and award-winning picker, singer/songwriter, and teacher, the Midwest native relocated from Denver to the vibrant Portland, Oregon, music scene in 2004. She continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals, teaching seminars and concert stages domestically and abroad, that include Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, Prairie Home Companion, and the Vancouver Folk Festival, among many. A finalist in 2000 and 2002 at the National Finger Picking Guitar Championship; a nominee in 2008, 2012, and 2016 for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award; and many times a Cascade Blues Assn. Muddy Award winner, Flower embodies a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz. Flower’s twelve recordings, including her four for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records—Bywater Dance, Instrumental Breakdown, Bridges and Misery Loves Company—show a deep command of and love for folk and blues string music. For Flower, it’s never about re-creation. Her dedication to the art form is a vital contribution to America’s music.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/12/2020.
Born in Portland, OR, Nat Hulskamp began studying guitar with guitarist/composer Paul Chasman at age seventeen. He was soon introduced to flamenco guitar by José Solano. His interest in the influence of Arabic music on flamenco led him to study oud in Morocco. After returning to the U.S., he moved to Seattle to study ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. In 2000, he co-founded the Vancouver, BC, based Arabic/flamenco group Aire. In 2004, he moved to Portland and formed the group Shabava with kamancheh/sehtar/violinist and singer Bobak Salehi. In 2010, he formed the trio Caminhos Cruzados with master jazz guitarist Dan Balmer and Ghanaian percussion virtuoso Israel Annoh. Nat has studied with the top flamenco guitarists of today, including Diego del Morao, Manuel Parrilla, Pepe del Morao, Dani de Morón, and Antonio Rey, among others. He has recorded in Spain with Diego del Morao, La Macanita, Luís de Perikín, and LaBejazz, and has performed with José Antonio Rodríguez, Santiago Lara and Antonio Rey during their US tours. He now resides in Portland, composing and performing with Shabava, Caminhos Cruzados, and Seffarine.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/20/2020.
Aaron Keim lives an artistic life along with his wife Nicole, making music, building musical instruments, writing instructional music books, crafting folk art, and raising their 6-year-old son Henry in Hood River, Oregon. As the Quiet American, they play old-time and teach at festivals and music camps. Their connection to folk tradition is undeniable as they find new ways to sing old songs and unique ways to incorporate music and art into their teaching and performing. Mainly influenced by Depression-era string band music and the folk revival, they use ukulele, banjo, and accordion to accompany their harmony singing; pick old-time tunes; and lead the audience through group singing. A modern, home-grown folk revival: the Quiet American.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 09/23/2020.
Originally from Jersey City, NJ, Eddie Parente studied violin and four-part harmony at Jersey City State College and played in string orchestra while studying jazz with saxophonist Emile DeCosmo. Eddie also studied with violinist Julie Lyonn Lieberman in NYC and credits trumpeter Ted Curson, who held jam sessions in Hoboken and encouraged Eddie to play jazz in those formative years. In the early 1980s, Eddie lived in Boston, Massachusetts, where he played in a Mexican mariachi band while studying classical Indian music with tabla, attending Irish traditional music sessions, and playing in an international folk dance band. Upon moving to Portland in 1985, Eddie participated in Ron Steen’s jam sessions and studied and played with the great jazz violinist/bassist Rob Thomas. Since then, Eddie has played and recorded with a wide variety of musical groups. These days, Eddie is leading his own jazz quartet and plays in Mariachi Viva Mexico, a successful working mariachi group in the large and growing Latino community in the Pacific Northwest. Eddie has a CD of his original jazz and Latin compositions entitled Touraco and a CD entitled Quartet Jazz.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 08/31/2020.
Playing Arabic keyboard and accordion, Middle Eastern percussion, ud, and elektro-saz, David Reihs is a multi-instrumentalist turned producer and educator who currently focuses on music of Turkish and Arabic cultures. He has been studying a wide variety of Middle Eastern genres and instruments since 2001, including four years living in Istanbul, Turkey, where he learned and spent time with many of the country’s finest musicians. Aside from his work with Ritim Egzotik, David’s company produces concerts, workshops and instructional DVDs for Middle Eastern music and dance. He is the artistic director for Ritim Egzotik, a modern Turkish and Arabic music ensemble that respectfully plays classic and popular Arabic and Turkish compositions and tosses in prog rock and psychedelic spices to add their own twist and modernize the songs they love. Added to this feast of sounds are Greek and Turkish Roman favorites.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/14/2020.
A retired schoolteacher, Fred Riedel is the bandleader, guitar player, and singer for the blues band—swing style—Blues Battalion. The group plays cover tunes as well as original tunes mostly written by Fred. Blues Battalion is John Johnston (keyboard), John McKenney (bass), Shelley Lenz (vocals), Cardo Bonjourno (drums), and Fred Riedel (guitar & vocals).
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/06/2020.
Gospel, jazz, and blues singer LaRhonda Steele began her musical journey in Jones, Oklahoma, at age 13 singing her first solo in church. Her journey continued to Portland, Oregon and beyond culminating into a powerful legacy of musical experiences. Throughout her musical career, she has enjoyed working with local, national, and international artists including Gino Vannelli, Curtis Salgado, Norman Sylvester, Janice Marie Scroggins, and Tharp Memory. She is the 2017–2019 Muddy Award winner for Best Female Vocalist presented by the Cascade Blues Association and is a member of the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame. Performing in Porretta, Italy, at the 30th annual Porretta Soul Festival honoring American Soul Music; Lincoln Center with Obo Addy in 2005; and her yearly appearances at the Waterfront Blues Festivals are just a few of the many highlights of her career. LaRhonda currently enjoys directing the nonprofit Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, serving as music director of the Portland Center for Spiritual Living, performing with her own LaRhonda Steele Band, vocal coaching, and songwriting. LaRhonda will be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2021 since the 2020 inductees have to wait a year due to COVID.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/26/2020.