"Angels of Persepolis" is a concept instrumental CD that features Flamenco guitar wizardry of Mehran, Iranian born Flamenco guitarist who resides in Chicago. The concept intertwines ancient Persian history, Persian mythology and Iran's current affairs. This objective was reached by usage of sound effects, insertion of actual excerpts and sounds of the recent affairs in Iran and the mood translated by the music. The recording of this CD took exactly a year and in the beginning the concept was more cultural and focused on composing Flamenco guitar music with the theme of nostalgia and romanticism with some poetry.
As the summer of 2009 brought with it a new and rejuvenated movement in Iran for freedom and basic human rights, the concept of this CD changed to that of support and raising awareness. As the world witnessed the silent and peaceful demonstrations of the Iranian people and how it was met with some of the most barbaric attacks a government can unleash on its people, it was then the concept of this CD started to get a form.
Symbolically, Persepolis represents Iran and the angels are the men and women who have risen to ask for their rights. The news and images of these events that found their way all over the world, the bravery of the Iranian people and the manner in which they stood up to the face of tyranny were the inspiration behind most of the compositions on this CD.
The entire CD is composed by Mehran except â€œyare Dabestaniâ€� which was composed by Mansour Tehrani but rearranged by Mehran. The music is a mixture of Flamenco, Jazz, classical and Persian music. Mehran used the talents of 13 different, very capable musicians during the course of this recording. Each one of the musicians were given the freedom to play their own accompaniment for the most part and when required, their own solos.
Mehran is an Iranian born Flamenco guitarist who has studied extensively in Spain with great Maestros of Flamenco guitar including Amir Haddad (Radio Tarifa), Antonio El Muneco, Juan De Madrid, and Rafael Mendiola and in the states with Pedro Cortes, Ted Rachine, Arturo Martinez, Jacco Muller, Jose Panequito, Michael Hauser and Narada Recording artist, Chuscales. Mehran has appeared as a soloist and accompanist at the Chicago Cultural Center with Northeastern University Ensemble Espanol Dance Company. Other appearances include the Hot House with Azucena Vega â€œsoul and Duende Dance Companyâ€�, Old Town School of Music with â€œMaya Tatiana and Lucero Flamenco Companyâ€�, the Goodman Theatre and many other colleges and universities. He has also studied the Cante accompaniment in Spain with Mr. Manolo Segura (singer in the movie disappearance of Garcia Lorca). Currently Mehran teaches Flamenco Guitar at the Old Town School of Music and performs at this venue with his ensemble seasonally. http://www.flamencoguitarplayer.com/
of JGM RECORDING STUDIO is a music producer, guitarist and a recording engineer with over 15 years of recording experience. Lito has worked with a diverse range of artists in the Chicago land area including Marshall Jefferson (House Music), Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan (Gypsy Jazz), Stanley Reeves (Gospel R&b), Mehran (Flamenco), Jacco Muller (Flamenco), Sam Grossner (Jazz Keyboard ), Juliano Milo (Gypsy Music), Adonis (House Music) just to name a few artist.
Lito is based in Chicago and can be found most of the time in his recording studio. He can be reached via email
at email@example.com for information and booking.
Current projects include Movie Score and a Gypsy Jazz Project.
Rocky Yera, Flute Cuban born tenor saxophonist Rocky Yera was musically conditioned at an early age. Rocky´s greatest musical influences came from his church youth band, and itâ€™s director, Richard Aspinwall. He joined the band at thirteen years of age and learned, taught (woodwinds and theory), and continued performing with them at different church events and services for ten consecutive years. Other influences include the music of Ed Calle, Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, Joshua Redman, and Lenny Pickett.
Through his high school years at New World School of the Arts, Rocky was acknowledged with several awards, including the Downbeat "Outstanding Performance" award, and with the opportunity to perform at several â€œAll Countyâ€� and â€œAll Stateâ€� bands, as well as the noted High School "Grammy Band". As a college jazz performance major at Miami Dade Community College and Florida International University, he was granted a second Downbeat "Outstanding Performance" award, took part in two European tours with the Miami Dade Hard-bop Ensemble, and toured Japan and Korea with Tito Puente Jr. Additionally, in his twelve years as a musician, Rocky has had the opportunity to perform with numerous musicians including: Arturo Sandoval, Ed Calle, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente Jr., Frank Catalano, Eric Lewis, Dave Koz, Ingrid Jensen, and Eliane Elias.
Rocky moved to New York City in order to continue expanding his craft through the city's rich and diverse music scene, which had a very positive impact on his musical maturity. After spending some years performing throughout the New York area, Rocky moved to Chicago, where he now resides as he continues his search for experience and growth. http://www.rockyyera.com
Victor Garcia, Trumpet and Flugelhorn (born on January 6, 1983 in Chicago, IL) was introduced to music via the piano at age 4. At age 8, Victor began learning the guitar and singing with his father and brother in a Latin American styled Trio, a setting in which he gained a deep sense of harmony. Victor began teaching himself to play the trumpet in high school, being influenced by recordings of jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker, and Freddie Hubbard, and by the middle of his senior year enrolled in the Merit School of Music, studying under Michael McLaughlin. He also gained some performance experience having participated in the Horner Park Jazz Band, comprised almost entirely of senior citizen and in the Gallery 37 Latin Big Band, funded by the City of Chicago. By the time he left for college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Victor had begun playing with various Latin bands, including Ricky Luis (singer of N'Klabe of Universal Records), Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra, Johnny Rodriguez's Latin Inspiration, and Papo Santiago & Infraverde. While at UIUC, Garcia studied with classical luminaries Ron Romm of the Canadian Brass, the late, great Dr. Michael Ewald and with jazz saxophone master Ron Bridgewater. He subsequently transferred to Northern Illinois University due to an increasingly busy schedule in Chicago. There he studied with Dr. Mark Ponzo and jazz trumpet master Art Davis. Playing in the NIU Jazz Ensemble under Prof. Ron Carter, Victor had the opportunity to play with jazz greats Dennis Mackrel, Rufus Reid, Hamiett Bluiett, and Steve Turre. During this time, he met pianist Darwin Noguera and before long, they founded the band now known as the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE). The band features original works as well as arranged cover material and consists of world-class musicians, such as Tito Carrillo, Ernie Adams, Steve Eisen, and Greg Ward. CALJE has performed at jazz festivals such as the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Isthmus Jazz Festival, and the Made In Chicago Jazz Series, the latter of which included special guests Howard Levy, Brian Lynch, Paoli Mejias, and Steve Turre. Garcia continues to freelance in Chicago and beyond, some notable performances including the Montreal Salsa Festival with Angel Melendez, a live DVD recording at the Grand Ballroom in Navy Pier with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the Blues & Brews Fest in Telluride, CO with Lubriphonic, winning the Grand Prize at Buddy Guy's Legends for the Union League Club Jazz Improvisation Competition (2009), and playing aboard Oprah Winfrey's Trip Of A Lifetime Mediterranean Cruise with Walt Cunningham. He also has had the opportunity to play with countless salsa artists, some of which include Michael Stuart, Frankie Negron, Cano Estremera, Tony Vega, Alex D'Castro, Tito De Gracia, Bobby Valentin, Ismael Miranda, Larry Harlow, Yomo Toro, Tito Allen, Jimmy Bosch, jazz legends Bill Holman, Roger Ingram, Jon Faddis, Ignacio Berroa, Luis Bonilla, and R&B celebrities Aretha Franklin and the Temptations. Victor Garcia has recorded on dozens of albums as well, two of which garnered Grammy nominations in 2005 and 2008 (Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra and Sones de Mexico), and one which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2007 (Sones de Mexico). He also maintains a busy teaching schedule at the Chicago Jesuit Academy and at Loyola University, as well as many private students.
Juliano Milo, Accordion - is a solo Accordionist in famous Orchestra Romalen. He has won Yugoslavia's National and International Awards for Music and has traveled extensively, giving virtuoso performances throughout Europe, the United States and Australia. In May 2008, Juliano's International Trio and Orchestra received an award of excellence for preserving and promoting ethnic music and culture from the Cook County treasurer. Juliano's specialty is mastering the gypsy Jazz style of music.
Greg Wyser-Pratte, Acoustic Drums - has enjoyed a wide variety of musical experiences despite his relatively late start with percussion instruments. After playing piano and then trumpet for nine years, Greg found his calling with the drums at age 18. Following a BM degree from Northwestern University, Greg stayed in Chicago to perform with the areaâ€™s top artists, including Von Freeman, John Campbell, Jodie Christian, Ron Perrillo, Dan Trudell, Judy Roberts, Dennis Carroll, and Ira Sullivan, to name a few. In addition to his freelance work, Greg is a member of several successful groups including the Dan Cray Trio and the Dave Specter Quartet. Greg has recorded over 20 albums with these and many other groups and has received high critical praise for his efforts. Now a resident of San Francisco, Greg maintains a dual-city professional career by travelling back and forth to work the top musicians in both regions. http://www.gregdrums.com/
Jamey Hannon, Electronic drums - was raised near Chicago, IL. He initially played trumpet his first year in grade school band but it was there that he heard his calling to play the drums. He received a classical education by his teacher Jeff Majetic of New Lenox, IL. Jamey has experience with a wide array of musical styles and percussions but specializes on the drum set, primarily with Rock, Progressive & Jazz. He has been a member of several bands, notably No Romeo & Fatal Charm. Jamey currently resides in Chicago, IL.
Kassandra Kocoshis, Percussionist -has been playing percussion since the age of eleven. In 2006 she received her Bachelors of Music in Percussion Performance from DePaul University under the instruction of members from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During college, she also studied with members of the world-renown percussion group, NEXUS. Kassandra has played with DePaul University's major ensembles, the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, marimba soloist with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Concertante di Chicago, Sacred Winds Ensemble, the Aspen Opera Theater, and with hip hop artist, Kanye West.
In 2004, Kassandra found flamenco. Since then, she has studied with flamenco percussionists Francisco Orozco Fernandez "El Yiyi", Gonzalo Grau, and Oscar Valero. Kassandra has performed with various Spanish guitarists and singers including Jose Cortes "Pansequito Hijo", Paco Fonta, Alfonso Cid, Manuel Palacin and Antonio Gabarri Jimenez. She has also worked with Spanish dancers such as Carmela Greco (daughter of the great JosÅ½ Greco), Cristian Lozano and Paloma Gomez (both members of the ballet Nacional de Espaâ€“a). She has also performed with many Chicago-based flamenco musicians including Diego Alonso, Chiara Mangiameli, Carlo Basile, Patricia Alonso, Alfonso Ponticelli, David Chiriboga, Las Guitarras de Espaâ€“a, Ensemble Espaâ€“ol, and others. In 2006, she was featured as one of 6 flamenco women in the Chicago tribune's article "Flamenco: A way of life." Kassandra also contributed as a guest artist on Las Guitarras de Espaâ€“a's 2007 album, "Cuatro por Arriba" and as the percussionist in Wendy Clinard's production of "Jondo Portraits."
Omar Al Musfi
Omar Al Musfi, Doumbek, Daf - was born in Syria in 1976. From an early age, he showed a proclivity for music and won several national competitions at the elementary level. By 13, he was competing above his age level and began teaching himself to read music and traditional Arabic forms. During this time, Omar also began to perform professionally with different bands and well-known Middle Eastern singers.
After high school, he was accepted into the prestigious Syrian Conservatory of Music, and after graduating joined Syrian National Symphony Orchestra. For more than seven years, he traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe, performing with the Symphony and various Arabic bands and singers. In between tours, Omar taught at the Syrian Arabic Institute, an academy for young music students, and recorded extensively in the studio, as he still does today. His recordings include everything from the albums of singers and orchestras to soundtracks for movies and theater. Omar eventually relocated to Chicago to pursue his interests in western styles. In 2005, Omar carried out his vision of music that blends Arabic, Armenian and Turkish instrumentation with modern Latin jazz by forming an innovative band, HiJazz, and recorded an album, Modern Mijanna. This past year, Omar and HiJazz performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and toured the East coast. Omar also played as a special guest with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, recorded a song for pop star Shakira.
Timo Lozano, Cajon - began his dance training at the early age of 6, and at 17 while performing at a tablao in his home town of San Antonio,Texas he was discovered by the internationally known Spanish Dancer Jose Greco. Mr.Greco was so impressed with Timo's performance, that he asked Timo to join his company that same night.
After touring the world as a soloist with the Jose Greco Spanish Dance Company for several years. Timo moved to Spain where he then performed with some of the most famous dance companies in Spain such as MARIA ROSA, RAPHAEL DE CORDOBA, MARIA BENITEZ and CIRO. Timo also danced along side some of the greatest flamenco dancers such as MATILDE CORAL, RAPHAEL EL NEGRO, ANGELITA VARGAS, LA CHANA and many more. Besides dancing flamenco as well as classical Spanish dance, Timo is also recognized as a highly acclaimed cajon player. Timo has played the cajon for SARA BARAS and EVA YERBABUENA in the documentary movie "FLAMENCO WOMEN" directed by MIKE FIGGIS who also directed the movie LEAVING LAS VEGAS.
Alyson Berger, Cellist, is an active free-lance performer and recitalist in the Chicago area. A native of New York, she began studying cello at the age of 7 and made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with New York`s Orchestra de Camera playing the Lalo Concerto. In NY she went on to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music and Ithaca College and spent summers at the Meadowmount School and the Ithaca Violoncello Institute. Since relocating to Chicago she has performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony and the Northwest Indiana Symphony and has performed as guest soloist with the Ravenswood Community Orchestra. As a contemporary chamber musician in Chicago she is a founding member of ACM (Accessible Contemporary Music) and has performed with CUBE, New Music DePaul and is the resident cellist with the contemporary chamber group "Palomar", the resident ensemble of Chicago based organization Accessible Contemporary Music.
Manoela Wunder Violin - A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, violinist Manoela Wunder has established herself as an eclectic artist with a wide repertoire. Classically trained, she is equally comfortable in styles as diverse as folk, jazz, blues, rock, improvisational, and band and is also self-taught in a number of instruments. In Brazil, Manoela Wunder is a winner of the Paulo Bosisio Competition and has been featured as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro several times. As part of Suray Soren Doyle's studio, she performed at the most prestigious halls of the city and in popular TV shows. She frequently returns to her home town to perform publicly acclaimed concerts.
Ms. Wunder moved to New York City in 2004 to pursue a bachelor of music degree under the tutelage of Daniel Phillips at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. There, she performed in venues such as Mannes College, Walter Reade Theater, Flushing Town Hall, Trinity Church, and Union Square. Highlights of her performances include the pre-concert lectures for the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall as well as recitalist and co-producer at the Alice Tully Hall.
Since her graduation in 2008, Ms. Wunder currently resides in Chicago, IL and is pursuing a master in music under the tutelage of Ilya Kaler at DePaul University School of Music, where she is a scholarship recipient. As orchestra musician, Manoela Wunder has held posts such as assistant concertmaster at the Queens College Chamber Orchestra and Principal Second Violin at the QCCO, Queens College Orchestra, and Accent08 Festival Orchestra. She has also played in the first violin sections of the Greenwich Village Orchestra and Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and has worked with conductors such as Eric Weimer, Neal Gittleman, Charles Neidich, Stephen Gunzenhauser, Barbara Yahr, and most recently Cliff Colnot.
Aram Jalili Piano - has been playing Piano for over 10 years and has specialized on folk and classical Persian Piano. His playing is colored with beautiful melodies that range from classical western music to haunting Middle Eastern and Persian piano music. Being a first cousin of Mehran, Aram has performed with Mehran on many occasions. Aram's playing is full of soul and imagination and it provides a wonderful accompaniment to the guitar on this cd.