SWINGROWERS (from Italy)
Swingrowers are a quintet from Palermo, Sicily and are noted for their irreverent style, which blends the freshness of dance music, with the warm influences of swing from the 20s and 30s.
The project initially began with Roberto Costa a.k.a. “Pisk” (one of the most active producers of electronic music in Palermo) and Loredana Grimaudo (Brilliant voice of ‘OPRP). And have since been joined by manouche guitarist, Alessio Costagliola and much more recently saxophonist Ciro Pusateri (A protagonist during the tour of the Fifth Space and Rodrigo Phalen) and violinist Davide Rizzuto (itinerant musician & winner of the XI National Contest for Young musicians).
In 2012 they won the title “Best Hope 2012” in the competition “Electro Swing People Favorite 2011”. Since then they have shared the stage with Caravan Palace, Parov Stelar and Chinese Man in their live shows in Europe. They have had the privilege of opening the only Italian date of Parov Stelar at Alcatraz in Milan. In April 2013 they first toured overseas in the USA and Canada, which has seen them play sell-out shows in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Chigaco, Toronto and Detroit. The Swingrowers have been constantly touring around Europe, playing at world renowned clubs and events such as: Electro Swing Club in London, Alcatraz in Milan, London Hootananny, Java and La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris, Electro Swing Cabaret Toulouse and Lyon, Swing Circus of Turin, Jitterbug of Nottingham and the White Mink Club nights in Brighton and London as well as numerous summer festivals like Secret Garden Party, BoomTown, Latitude, LoveBox, Wilderness.
The band are signed to Freshly Squeezed – a Brighton (UK) based independent record label and music publisher. Their first album “Pronounced Swing Grow’ers” was released on Freshly Squeezed in September 2012 and has since gone on to become a staple soundtrack for many electro swing compilations and club nights. In early 2015 the released their second studio album ‘Remote’ featuring the full 5 piece band. In February 2015, they shot a stunning music video at London’s listed Rivoli Ballroom (https://youtu.be/9Jy8pK7tTzg).
Swingrowers have collaborated with a number of different artists, including Dj Pony Montana from Feel Good Production and Gypsy Hill as well as producing an official remix for Caro Emerald’s track “One Day”. (http://youtu.be/MQ9Zl-rAmYM). Swingrowers have also released a series of singles as part of their “Do not COVER EP”. The last single in the series featured ‘The Lost Fingers’ in a cover of Technotronic’s 1989 hit ‘Pump Up The Jam”, which also included a music video: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUOQG4qM8uU).
Swingrowers are one of the most exciting rising talents within the retro music scene and “a band maturing at a rapid pace”.
CRYSTAL BRIGHT & THE SILVER HANDS
Out in the woods she lived, all alone. At least that’s what it felt like, never belonging to any one group and having a penchant for the oppressed. Crystal did not come from a musical family, and unlike so many children who are forced into music lessons, at age seven she practically ran away to her piano teacher’s house down the street – books in her basket – pedaling as fast as she could down the gravel road – dust flying behind.
When she was still young, a little demon told her that she shouldn’t sing, that it sounded better when she just played the piano, but she was determined to ignore the demon and sing her heart out anyway. But sometimes the influence of the demon rendered her silent and still, and her hands seemed to be void of life.
As she grew up she traveled the world, dancing with the Romani people of Spain, residing in an “anarchist” collective, working in Yellowstone, and above all else learning about other cultures and their music. It was in Greensboro, NC in 2010 that she met what would become her first Silver Hand. Diego Diaz had witnessed her previous band that took him to another time and place, and he wished to contribute his haunting and ethereal guitar sounds. It was around this time that Crystal’s hands began to grow back. She began writing her own music again, and in less than a year collaborated with the North Carolina Symphony on an arrangement of her song “Toy Hammer” for their 2010 New Year’s Eve program at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. She is constantly performing, has had two Northeast tours and has played alongside Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Larkin Grimm, Pearl and the Beard and many more.
“Muses and Bones,” her second album, will cast you into an otherwordly, ethereal, hauntingly familiar yet strange landscape, ranging from deranged Cirque du Soleil to burlesque European Carnival. Within Crystal’s unconventional song structures, you’ll hear her inspiration from P.J. Harvey and Björk, and a deep love for Yann Tiersen and the Gotan Project. Her lyrics and melodies portray the world as a dark and strange (and often funny) place deeply connected to fables and imagination. Stories such as “Little Match Girl” and “The Misplaced Zygote” convey folklore lessons that address phases in women’s lives where they need to be conscious of staying true to their intuition. Songwriting begins in many different ways, including inspiration from refrigerator magnet poetry or going to the movies alone at midnight, but is mostly a channeling process that happens late at night when the veil between reality and dreams is the thinnest. Expect the unexpected.
Crystal’s songs reflect her educational background in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology and her experiences playing and singing various styles – Mariachi, Chinese, Balinese Gamelan, Ugandan, Samba and more. She is a mad multi-tasker who jumps around on accordion, musical saw (self-taught through YouTube videos), piano, adungu (a Ugandan harp), concertina and bombo (Argentine drum) – sometimes more than one at a time! She possesses astounding vocal range and power that descends on a dime to delicate subtlety. One moment she sings, she soars – and the next… a falsetto whisper that slyly peeks behind the curtain.
Many Silver Hands have come and gone on various instruments. These days Sandy Blocker, whom Crystal met as her African drumming teacher 11 years ago, contributes African, Middle Eastern, and South American rhythms by adding riqq, jembe and congas, alongside kick drum and cymbals. Another Silver Hand is the exquisitely tasteful Jeremy Denman from the hip-hop group Urban Sophisticates on trumpet. Crystal desires to collaborate with other artists in all areas of media and believes strongly that arts have the power to create community and heal.
DONNA TOUCH (Burlesque Dancer)
Ladies and gentleman! Boy’s and girl’s! Step right up and feast your eyes upon this truly amazing spectacle!!! His name, the main attraction of any midway, stage or stand fortunate enough to attain and showcase this modern day marvel! What’s in a name you may ask? Come here, and I will share with you the most phantasmal of all legends, unbeliever’s, come forth and I shall reveal to you the strange and mystical truth about the man, and the myth. He is called, “SANJULA VAMANA”! A name earned by years of dissertatious isolation, and the most unparalleled of all human suffering. Watch as he seamlessly binds the edges of almost certain death and human wonderment into a quilt of perplexing paraphilias guaranteed too warm you to the very core. He is the one, the only SANJULA VAMANA! Often imitated, never duplicated! No gaffs, no gimmicks, no doubt! BEHOLD! BELIEVE! BEWARE!
RED RUM (Burlesque Dancer)
Red Rum is a multidisciplinary artist whose formal background is in painting and video art. Burlesque brought together the perfect combination of her love for makeup, prop building and horror film with the catharsis of a live audience. Drawing from a variety of influences she brings to the stage a unique combination of burlesque and performance art, choosing narratives that combine elements of sex, death and humor – the great social levelers. Known for her unusual costumes and skilled improvisation she strives to give audiences something they have never seen before and may never see again.
Red Rum is a core member of Hot and Heavy Burlesque in Chicago, IL and a frequent guest performer of the Dead Man’s Carnival in Milwaukee, WI. She also performs around Chicago with SS-Triple-X, Vaudezilla, Angela Eve and Eve’s Parlor Burlesque, Cirque De La Femme, the 1901 Gallery Theater, Ties and Tassels and the Festival of Flesh. When not performing she works full time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and collaborates with her husband, sideshow artist, Sanjula Vamana. Together with their son Dexter they continue to build their house of oddities.
Lee Na-Moo is a performance artist and dance artist, who performs in Chicago, IL. He started his training in the fall of 2007 under the guidance of Stephanie Barto, Director of RMH. He believes that dance is a moving art; and so he strives to emote the feeling. To Lee, the greatest performers are not those with the best technique, but are those who can move and captivate the audience with their stage presence.
He has performed at various venues within the Chicago-land area including Alhambra Palace, House of Blues, The Metro, Griffin Lounge, corporates, and private events, among many others. He strives to be a “moving work of art.” His style of fusion is best described as elegant, refined, graceful beauty in movement with a high energy. Always pushing the boundary and his limits, he seeks to astound the audience with his sense of style.
He can be seen in Taproot’s (Victory Records) music video “Release Me.” In October 2010, he won the Chicago Oriental Dance Competition and as a result won a trip to perform with Mario Kirlis in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 2012, he audition for the Bellydancer Superstars; and through that he was invited to travel to Spain in March of 2013 to perform and teach at the 7th International Oriental Festival in Valladolid.
LORDS & LADIES DJS
The Lords & Ladies : Vaudevillian Disc Jockey Extra-Ordinaries, are, simply put, the people behind the sound that comes from the “Fusion-O-Scope” that makes the people at any variety of events throughout Chicago, and beyond, move their – if you will – derrieres.
But who are they, you ask? They are Joseph C.R. Vourteque, self appointed Lord Baron and deranged mad man, producer and remix artist. Fay Kabian, un-lady, un-mitigated promoter, cinema arts & design expert and un-apologetic gypsy fiend. And the strange Mr. M who bides his time as both a “selector” behind the DJ decks and a performer behind the theremin with The White CIty RIppers. Lastly is their bizarre contraption the “Fusion-O-Scope” a “DJ Rig” built from the twisted plans of Vourteque and engineered by world traversing inventor Professor Evad Flor.
They have DJed and performed alongside The Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow, The Show Devils, Hellblinki Sextet, Frenchy & The Punk, That Damned Band, The White Ghost Shivers, Environmental Encroachment, Eliza Rickman, Curtis Eller, Duenow, so many others, and Andrew O’Neil from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing once commandeered the DJ rig at a hotel party in Michigan. They’ve performed in New York for The Anachronism, at Trundle Manor in Pittsburgh, in Columbus for Ohayocon, Detroit for Fraudeville, Theatre Bizarre and Wonderland, Saint Louis for Beggar’s Carnival, Wisconsin with The Dead Man’s Carnival and many more gigs are to come.
THEE BLUEBEARD! (MC)
Pirate, Actor, Comedian, Performer, Artist, and Entertainer. Beloved character of the Bristol Renaissance Faire for the last 3 years, Bluebeard has performed his show at various venues all over the country! Mission: to entertain the masses for the sake of making everyone laugh like dag jolly fools! Poke around here a while and find out about the show itself, some photo pictures from past shows, where he’ll be performing next, and how to get a hold of him (not too tight mates, he’s sensitive around the middle).