About Bethany & Rufus
New York City, NY
About Bethany Yarrow
Bethany is the daughter of Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary - one of the leading groups of the American folk movement. Peter, literally a living "memory-man" of American songs, considers himself as much a political activist as a musician who sees music as a way of bringing people together, reaching into their hearts and dissolving prejudices to create a common humanity. Throughout her musical career, Bethany has maintained this vision in her music as well, and her powerful, earthy voice reflects all the nuances of American musical culture: from European to African American to Native American.
In 2003, Bethany released her debut CD, entitled "Rock Island", to much critical acclaim. Beautifully produced by Kevin Salem (Mercury Rev, Bad Brains, Chocolate Genius) and Knox Chandler (David Gahan, Siouxsie & the Banshees), the CD mixed the gloss of pop production with banjos, dulcimers, harmonicas, slide guitars, gospel choirs, and the sampled ghosts of some of the great blues singers in America. In totally unexpected ways, Bethany took traditional slave lullabies, prison songs, and murder ballads, and turned them into grooving electronic pop for a new generation.
Various reviewers have called Bethany's voice, "mesmerizing", "intense", and "spell-binding"…. "A cross between PJ Harvey and Annie Lennox… Odetta and Grace Slick…" She has been dubbed a "musical medium", crossing genres and time. But one things is sure, she has been blessed to inherit an extraordinarily rich legacy of folk music, and in reinventing these deeply American songs, Bethany has not only taken them into the future, she has made them completely her own.
About Rufus Cappadocia
Rufus Cappadocia comes from Canada, where he studied the Japanese Suzuki method of learning music by ear, after which he trained classically with the Czech cello master Zdenick Konicek. But Rufus, who now lives in New York, says that he plays the folkloric music of New York; in other words, music from around the world: the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean...
About Yacouba Moumouni
Yacouba Moumouni is a singer and flautist, leader of the jazz-ethnic band from Niger, Mamar Kassey. Moumouni is probably the best known Nigerien musician outside the country, and is much beloved in his home country.
Mastering the traditional flute, he joined the Ballet National of Niger and then formed Mamar Kassey, an eight man group featuring Moumouni and guitarist Abdallah Alhassane. Together they have toured West Africa, Europe, and the United States, and have become the most popular musical group in Niger.
In 1986 Yacouba accepted an invitation to join the traditional band Zongo. Together, they toured and performed in Korea, Libya, Algeria, and West Africa. Transferring to Orchestre Takeda, the house band at the musical academy Centre de Formation et de Promotion Musicale (CFPM), in 1990, Yacouba was mentored by the group's director and lead guitarist, Abdoulaye Alhassane. He remained with the band for five years. Together with other CFPM musicians, including Ahlassane, Yacouba formed Mamar Kassey in 1995. The band's debut album, Alatoumi, released in 1999 on the French Daqui label, was followed by Denke-Denke two years later.
About ‘Bonga’ Jean-Baptiste
Gaston Jean-Baptiste, known as "Bonga", is a musical virtuoso who has been performing and studying traditional Haitian drum, dance and song since the age of seven. He began playing drums in his family's peristil in his hometown of Croix-des-Mission in La Plaine, an area of Haiti known for culture and history.
Bonga is regarded as a master of the Afro Haitian drum, sought-after for his extensive repertoire of pan-African rhythms. A dynamic performer, accompanist, session player and educator, Bonga works on stage, in the recording studio, and in educational settings. He is one of the few drum experts and craftsmen outside of Haiti who continues to build traditional drums using techniques that are centuries old.
As a core member of the seminal Haitian roots bands, Boukman Eksperyans and Foulà, Bonga was invited to the U.S. in the '90s when musicians were becoming a strong voice for the Haitian people. Since then, Bonga has continued to play solo and in ensemble and at numerous worldwide venues. He is a featured performer with Peter Yarrow, Grace Jones, Dan Zanes and Urban Tap, to mention a few. His drums opened the NY premiere of the Rolling Stones "Voodoo Lounge" tour and he is prominently featured on recordings by Wyclef Jean and Salif Keita.
Bonga’s first CD, Kanzo (2000), incorporates elements of jazz, blues, and funk to create a dynamic version of mizik rasin. The recording features Lou Reed, bassist Fernando Saunders, and trumpeter Frank London. Bonga’s second CD, Ayiti Afrika (2006), received critical acclaim.