Friday July 14, 2017 Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars, Pleasanton.

Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars on July 14
Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars on July 14

Friday July 14Pairings Cellars, 310 Main Street, Pleasanton CA 94566 at  8pm to 11pm.  Rolando returns to this exciting social hotspot in downtown Pleasanton.  This new wine bar features fine wines, tapas and now dinners, as well as Rolando Morales performing his broad repertoire on solo guitar and voice.  Free!  www.pairingscellars.com(925) 398-8846.

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Interview with world-renowned Musical Diva – N’Kenge

N'Kenge enchants Broadway Musical Audiences around the world
N’Kenge enchants Broadway Musical Audiences around the world

Recently we had the pleasure of a personal interview with N’Kenge, one of the most accomplished musical artists of this century.  Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention. First opera singer to win the Lena Horne Vocal Competition,  first opera singer to win the New York State talented teen, starred in the world tour of Man in the Mirror Tribute Show to Michael Jackson, starred on West End London in the production of the Genius of Ray Charles, was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for outstanding lead actress in arena stage’s production of 3 Mo Divas, she sang for Obama, Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, did 140 shows in 2014 alone and received a proclamation from New York City Hall for her community work. Oh, she sings in 11 different languages.  So it is a genuine honor to have her give us a personal interview.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite upcoming projects?

I’ve started rehearsals this week for The Golden Apple musical which will be performed next month in the encore series at New York City Center. I’m excited to play the principal role of Mother Hare that doubles as Circe.

This summer will be filled with some exciting projects. In June, I will play the role of Tonya in a Showcase of the Broadway bound “54 The Musical.

I also join Maestro Steve Reineke and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the concert Sophisticated Ladies/Ella Fitzgerald at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

What were your favorite performances?

Probably a combination of making my debut as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème at Virginia Opera and originating the role of Mary Wells in the Broadway’s MOTOWN: The Musical.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I started singing at 10 years old at my elementary school in the Bronx PS 95. I landed the role of Patty in Snoopy, the Musical, and I got the music bug. All I ever wanted to do from that time onward was to sing and to make people happy through my music. I got a scholarship to get my Bachelor’s Degree at the Manhattan School of Music and a Master’s Degree at the Juilliard School. I was immediately singing with New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, and Seattle Opera once I graduated. Then I got cast in a show called 3 Mo Divas about opera singers who can sing in  eight styles of music. That was the show that transitioned me into the Musical Theater and Pop World.

You have classical training, do you miss performing classical music or do you still work on it?

I still perform classical music with symphonies around the world and was the lead in a Wagner Opera during a vacation break from MOTOWN: The Musical, on Broadway. Probably the first and last time I would ever perform Wagner immediately after doing an eight show week of Motown music. Ha, ha.

When did you realize you wanted to become a singer / performer?

At 10 years old. My fifth grade teacher gave me a chance to perform on stage, and I’ve been addicted ever since. My mom was a huge supporter and was giving me every opportunity to perform – once she realized I had this gift.

Do you have advice for any young people who dream to become singers.

Turning dreams into reality comes with a recipe of hard work, perseverance and passion. Stay focused and develop a circle of people that will support you. Music is a hard career to break into, but if it’s what you LOVE then every step of your journey is worth it.

N’Kenge is such an amazing woman, such an amazing artist, and a genuine role model for kids all around the world.  Learn more about her on her website:   www.nkengemusic.com

PERFORMANCE LINKS

FEVER- LIVE ON WEST END, LONDON in The Genius of Ray Charles

“DEFYING GRAVITY” AT IWF- Performed by N’Kenge

SKYFALL at the Legendary BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB in NYC

Enjoy more shows on her very own Youtube Channel.

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An evening with Rolando Morales and Carlos Reyes at Sausalito Seahorse, March 25, 2017

Full Rolando Morales Band will perform at Sausalito Seahorse March 25, 2017
Full Rolando Morales Band will perform at Sausalito Seahorse March 25, 2017

Saturday March 25, “An Evening with Rolando Morales and Carlos Reyes,” Sausalito Seahorse, 305 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, approx. 8:30-11:30pm.  After months away, these two passionate musicians finally return to The Seahorse to put on their unique show at this fun waterfront restaurant and club.  The great Paraguayan harpist/violinist Carlos Reyes and passionate guitarist/vocalist Rolando Morales will play a short set in duet to close out the dinner hour, followed by a concert and dancing to the World Class Rolando Morales Group featuring from the Gregg Rolie Band, the exciting bassist Gary Brown; from Brazil, the amazing drummer from Airto and Steve Winwood, Celso Alberti; from Rubén Blades and Dizzy Gillespie, Nicaraguan Latin percussionist/vocalist Danilo Paíz; from Paraguay, the thrilling violinist and harpist from Arturo Sandoval and Steve Miller, Carlos Reyes; and the powerful Rolando Morales leading the journey on guitar, guitar synthesizer and vocals.   Don’t miss it!   $15.  Make your  reservations at (415) 331-2899. www.sausalitoseahorse.com

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Project Freedom will be performed at Yoshi’s in Oakland May 24 & Kumbaya in Santa Cruz May 25

Project Freedom by Joey DeFrancesco out now!
Project Freedom by Joey DeFrancesco out now!
An homage to John Lennon opens Project Freedom with a gorgeous snippet of “Imagine” (Prelude) with a soaring tribute to J. Rosamond Johnson’s uplifting composition, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” rounding out the purifying package.   DeFrancesco’s new Project Freedom band, The People–a unit he’s currently touring the world with–helps him to see and feel things in a radically different manner than the past.
There’s in-the-pocket drummer Jason Brown who nearly got pigeonholed playing “straight Philly Joe Jones style; nothing wrong with that,” until DeFrancesco helped set him free. There’s guitarist Dan Wilson who has that “George Benson-Wes Montgomery-Grant Green thing down cold, and he comes out of the church, so that’s part of his thing too.”
Joey DeFrancesco
Joey DeFrancesco
DeFrancesco wanted to add a good solid saxophonist to the band for some time, and he found one in Troy Roberts, the man behind the tenor and soprano saxophones on tunes such as the alluringly intuitive “Better Than Yesterday.”
From self-penned titles such as “Karma” and “Peace Bridge,” DeFrancesco is telling a story of love, humanity and positivity at a time of overwhelming negativity, to spread goodness when the news runs rampant with stories of brutality, violence and prejudice.
One song that’s become a centerpiece within the ideology of Project Freedom is the quartet’s lustrous cover of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song DeFrancesco began improvising as an encore for his 2003 appearance at the Detroit Jazz Festival. “The crowd was perfect, the weather was perfect, the song just came out of me and the next thing you know the crowd is swaying, men took their hats off and women began to cry. Me too. It was a truly sanctified experience where we all became one, transcending music and melody. I wanted to relive that story, that feeling, on Project Freedom.”
Joey DeFrancesco,  is a modern-day avatar of the Hammond B3 organ and the Philadelphia history he shares with his principle instrument. Organ-based blues and jazz started in Philly and DeFrancesco is the first to tell you so.  His  bluesy, blustery sensibility is shared with the men in his family: saxophonist/grandfather Joseph DeFrancesco, and his father–organist “Papa” John DeFrancesco. Jazz lovers also dig DeFrancesco’s second instrument, the trumpet, and the inspiration gleaned from his first big boss, Miles Davis–with whom DeFrancesco gigged when the organist was in his late teens.
DeFrancesco stopped by the City of Brotherly Love to receive a star on the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame alongside local giants such as Coltrane, Dizzy and Nina Simone.
Being a frequent flyer with a globe-hopping world touring schedule has given DeFrancesco insight into differing–but not opposing–viewpoints that he longed to espouse through music. “I always thought that as touring musicians, we were spreading peace. No matter what happens in the world, we keep playing. In a lot of the so-called forbidden places too.
When we’re there, through war and conflict, problems melt away through music. We’re playing for these people, hanging out with them, and we all come together and we’re grooving with each other because of the music. That is true freedom. Music is true freedom.”
Joey DeFrancesco & The People · Project Freedom
Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: March 10, 2017
 
For more information on Joey DeFrancesco, please visit JoeyDeFrancesco.com
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