Mandara-cover216Mandara (Debut CD)

Described as an “African imbued jazz percussion ensemble.” and ‘a fascinating assemblage of instrumentalists and vocalists from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds.’ This all-star quintet celebrates the link from African and Native American chamber music (on traditional instruments), to its grandchildren – the jazz and popular dance music of the Americas. The timbre and effect defy’s description, although Mark Adamo of The Washington Post says:

“(MANDARA) led by the delicate, intense, incantatory Valerie Naranjo, makes a kind of music in which sound is inseparable from dance…MANDARA’s players fling their entire bodies into executing their fantastically complicated lines…The prayerful, otherworldly quality of these patterns reveals that contemporary minimalism owes as much to African as to Indian parentage.”

and —Christopher Paddack, of the U.S. Information Agency states:

“The experience of being taken back to African roots and then hearing its transformation into cutting edge art that retains its hold on tradition was a breathtaking one.”

Valerie Dee Naranjo – vocals, marimba, gyil, percussion
Barry Olsen – trombone, piano, percussion, vocals
Bryan Carrott – vibes, marimba, vocals
Leo Traversa – bass
Vince Cherico – drums

Additional musicians:
Papo Geli – guitar
Ian Herman – drums
Ema – karimba, guitars
Ralph Farris – violin, viola
Paul Brantley – cello