The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, Washington: Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone.
Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in classical concert halls and on stage at Coachella, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues and projects with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.
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A jazz singer and new music composer of eclectic tastes and prodigious gifts, GRAMMY® nominated Theo Bleckmann makes music that is accessibly sophisticated, unsentimentally emotional, and seriously playful, leading his work to be described as “from another planet” (New York Times), as “magical, futuristic,” (AllAboutJazz), “limitless” (Citypaper, Philadelphia) “transcendent” (Village Voice) and “brilliant” (New York Magazine).
Bleckmann, who has been residing in New York City since 1989, has released a series of gorgeous and irreverent albums on Winter & Winter, including recordings of Las Vegas standards, of Weimar art songs, and of popular “bar songs” (all with pianist Fumio Yasuda); a recording of newly-arranged songs by Charles Ives (with jazz/rock collective Kneebody); his acoustic Solos for Voice “I dwell in possibility”, and his highly acclaimed "Hello Earth - the Music of Kate Bush." Bleckmann has most recently appeared as a special guest on recordings by Ambrose Akinmusire for Blue Note Records and Julia Hülsmann’s trio for ECM, followed by touring with both of those artists. In January 2017, ECM will release Theo’s recording with his new Elegy Quintet, produced by legendary label head and founder, Manfred Eicher.
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The music of multi-instrumentalist and singer Kate Davis has been turning heads in New York’s music scene since 2012. Whether she’s crooning rootsy ballads or plucking bright riffs from her bass, the gutsy songstress from Portland, Oregon, puts a fresh spin on the standards and brings a canonical sensibility to her own lush tracks.
Lauded by MTV as one of 2014’s “15 Fresh Females Who Will Rule Pop,” Kate grew up with an instrument in her arms and a head full of inventive lyrics. Her lifelong training makes for smart, warm pop that’s as musically nuanced as it is addictive. If you put a mid-career Jenny Lewis album in a room with Regina Spektor’s coloring, Joanna Newsom’s lyric poetry, and a dose of Tina Fey’s sharp wit—then added a couple decades of rigorous musical education—Kate Davis might come strolling out.
Vivid, nostalgic melodies materialize out of Kate’s musical arrangements, her songbird voice complimented by a rich rock ‘n’ roll bass-line. Alternating between achingly soulful and flippantly funny, Kate’s songwriting combines ranging sonic textures with an anecdotal knack. Her lyrics are novel and rhapsodic, cutting through the clichés and trivia of pop parlance to deliver something honest and truly perceptive. She’s performed at such illustrious venues as The Kennedy Center, The Bowery Ballroom, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall—as well as pretty much every noteworthy club in NYC.
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TORCH is a contemporary chamber music ensemble whose original compositions are a playful juxtaposition amidst our heady intellects and our groove-craving souls. Torch is a reference to Tomas Mann where he proclaimed the aesthetic mantra, “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life's terrible depths”.
The ensemble features Brian Chin on trumpets, Eric Likkel on clarinets, Steve Schermer on double bass, and Ben Thomas on vibes, percussion and bandoneon.
Visit TORCH's website, or facebook page for more info.
Troy Osaki is a Filipino Japanese American writer, performer, and teaching artist from Seattle, WA. He’s received a fellowship from Kundiman and is a Youth Speaks Seattle alum and mentor. His work has been featured by platforms such as Buzzfeed, the Seattle International Film Festival, and online literary journals. He’s a three-time Seattle Grand Slam Champion, a grassroots organizer with Anakbayan Seattle, and a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law. Troy writes in hopes to build a safe and just place to live in by uniting the people and reimagining the world through poetry.
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Azura Tyabji (she/her) is a born-and-raised Seattleite and avid poet. She is part of Youth Speaks Seattle, encouraging other young people to unapologetically speak their truth through the dynamic art of spoken word. What drives her activism is a deep passion and respect for art as an indispensable tool for social change. She was recently named the 2018-19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and will have a book of poetry out next spring.
ZORA “RAINCHILD” SEBOULISA
Zora “Rainchild” Seboulisa is a QTPOC multi-instrumentalist, poet, dancer, filmmaker, and... boxer. Zora Elias Seboulisa irons out her words with melodies and lays them out to dry in the rain. That’s right, Zora Seboulisa can make your eyes misty, with any of her many talents, whether she’s twisting your guts in a motion picture, twisting her hips on the dance floor or knocking your lights out with 16 Oz gloves. Whatever she is doing you can count on at least one thing whenever you see Rainchild on that stage, the storm... is coming.
Esther Eidenberg-Noppe is a passionate, Jewish, genderqueer scorpio poet in love with trees, chocolate, and social justice. They write and perform poetry about privilege and oppression in pursuit of comforting the disturbed, and disturbing the comfortable. Esther is a recent graduate of Nova High School, and they have been writing and performing poetry for 3+ years. Lastly, Esther has had the great honor of writing and working with the amazing group of artists interning and working at Youth Speaks Seattle.