We are excited to introduce the brilliant members of the M³ (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians) Fall Equinox 2023 Cohort 6!
Sibongile Buda – bass (South Africa)
Andrea Demarcus – upright bass, voice (Georgia)
Melanie Dyer – viola (New York)
Natalie Greffel – voice, bass (Germany)
Maia aka Sonjia Hubert Harper – voice, fl., picc., harp, vib., percussion (California)
Naomi McCarroll-Butler – saxophone, clarinet, instrument maker (Canada)
Shoko Nagai – piano, accordion, electronics (Japan)
Francesca Naibo – guitar, voice (Italy)
Martha Redbone – voice (New York))
Nath Rodrigues – voice, violin, berimbau, mandolin, percussion (Brasil)
Marta Sanchez – piano (Spain)
Sharon Udoh – piano, voice (Illinois)
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) is an ongoing sponsor of M³ (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians), a platform created by artists Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa to empower, elevate, normalize and give visibility to musicians of historically underrepresented gender identities (including cis women, trans women, trans men and non-binary) in intersection with race, sexuality, or ability across generations in the US and worldwide, through a radical model of mentorship and musical collaborative commissions. CRS has presented concerts by past or current M³ cohort members Jen Shyu, Caroline Davis, Maya Keren, Eden Girma, Lesley Mok, Layale Chaker, Jessica Ackerley, and Shoko Nagai. On November 5, 2023 CRS will present new work by inaugural (summer solstice 2020) M³ cohort members Val Jeanty, Jen Shyu, and Sumi Tonooka at the Jazz Gallery.
Each cohort residency starts with the solstice and lasts 10 months, culminating in a collaborative pre-recorded music video within of duo & group meetings; plus one-on-one writing development for a writing contribution to the Anthology of Writings. The cohort members are randomly paired by name-draw at the first meeting, so that each person is paired with someone with whom they haven’t collaborated before, and each member receives $3,000 in support of their commission.
Sibongile Buda, known as Ms. Buda Bass, is a Mamelodi born, South African performing artist. She’s a bassist, composer, band leader, music program teacher and director. Her passion for music is traced back to her grandmother, who plays an African drum in church. Her love for music emanates from growing up in a musical background, following in her grandmother’s footsteps. This lead to a discovery of a music program known as Committed Artist for Cultural Advancement (CAFCA) through childhood friends. She’s currently teaching music at CAFCA, which focuses on enhancement of music skills for children from disadvantaged communities. Buda is a founder and Program Director of the female led organisation Jazz Camp for Female Instrumentalists Mamelodi (JCFI), whose purpose is to groom and empower females with artistic skills from an early age and to provide a platform for female artists to showcase their talent.
As director and host of the weekly Global JazzWomen Hang, Buda has co-produced three online concerts and an in-person festival, and continues to seek out and connect women from around the world in a new international community of support.
Performances include ensemble Enoch Sontonga Hall at University of South Africa; Grahamstown National Arts Festival (SA); Delft, Netherlands; Beijing, China; and the Molde Jazz Festival with JCFI Norway band. Performed and presented at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in New Orleans, USA & participated at the SAJE conference held at University of Cape Town (UCT). Attended & participated at the International Society of Bassists (ISB) held at San Francisco State University USA. With JCFI band, performed in International Jazz Day and the first annual Global JazzWomen Festival in Botswana.
Andrea DeMarcus is a vocalist, songwriter, and classically trained upright bassist. Upon graduating Juilliard in 2010, Andrea moved to Athens, Georgia, not too far from her hometown of Atlanta. The music scene there welcomed her, and she soon met her now husband and band mate, Dave Kirslis. Their band, Cicada Rhythm has toured nationally, and backed artists like Jim White, and Kishi Bashi. DeMarcus’ multifaceted career has allowed her to sample all different styles of music, and she enjoys this freedom of expression and a creative life.
Melanie Dyer performs and composes in creative, improvised and through-composed music spheres. She trained with William Lincer (Principal Violist, New York Philharmonic), Lee Yeingst (Principal Violist, Colorado Symphony Orchestra), John Jake Kella (NY Metropolitan Opera) and Naomi Fellows (Colorado Symphony Orchestra); and studied viola performance at the LaMont School of Music/University of Denver.
Melanie founded WeFreeStrings, an improvising string/rhythm collective rooted in improvised music in 2011. From 2004 – 2013, under her Bb Universe banner and in collaboration with the multi-generational, multi-ethnic Scientific Soul Sessions collective, Melanie’s Harlem home became the scene of underground public performances by WeFreeStrings and other large and small music ensembles. Bb Universe hosted open rehearsals and performances, recordings, lectures, one-act plays and films including presentations by recognized indigenous activist Toaksin Ghosthorse, a performance of Robbie McCauley’s Sally’s Rape and a screening of John Douglas’ documentary, Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us. These monthly and semi-monthly events brought cultural luminaries, emerging artists, social and environmental activists, working and under-employed people together. Open dialogues, emphasizing individuals as agents of change, were central to Bb Universe and Scientific Soul Sessions.
Melanie has recently performed with the Sun Ra Arkestra, Dead Lecturers, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Baba Andrew Lamb, Gwen Laster’s New Muse 4tet, William Parker, Steve Swell’s Watershed, Jason Kao Hwang’s Myths of Origin, Janice Lowe/Tyehimbe Jess Millie & Christina project, Patricia Nicholson’s Women w an Axe to Grind. She’s played and/or recorded with Tomeka Reid Stringtet, Henry Grimes, Dave Burrell, Ramsey Ameen, Karen Borca, Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch, Nona Hendryx, Joe Bonner, Reggie Workman, Howard Johnson, David Haney, and many other notable musicians in Europe, South Africa and the U.S.
Natalie Greffel was born in post-colonial Mozambique and raised in Denmark from infancy. After moving to Berlin in 2010 to attend a music conservatory, and while engaged in various projects that exercised her stylistic flexibility, Natalie felt an increasing disillusionment with European Jazz; she instead felt drawn to the Afro-Brazlian music her mother played during childhood, which in turn began to reveal a cultural connectivity between Mozambique and Brazil.
Through her close interrogation of identity, this rising Berlin-based talent succeeds in investigating the edges, re-sketching new borders and embracing the many facets of herself, both personally and musically. The disrupted histories of the African diaspora, the ravages of imperialism and the expressionism of a common tongue are all etched into the narrative of Natalie’s stunning debut solo album “Para Todos”. The album evokes warmth and unexpected intimacy, newness and familiarity, as it gently deconstructs the paradigm of Brazlian music, reforming it not as a commodity to be sold, but as a recollection of dream-state memories.
Maia The Artíst (aka Sonjia Hubert Harper) is a Multi-dimensional Expressionist, most notably featured with the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra located in Los Angeles, Ca., where she resides. Maia’s notoriety is due partly to her membership with the AACM of Chicago. A band leader and composer who is proficient on several instruments including flute, harp, vibraphone and other mallet percussion. Maia is also a beloved Vocalist.
Naomi McCarroll-Butler is a saxophonist, clarinetist, and instrument maker based in Montréal. She is interested in the elegance of the overtone series, breathwork in the unique somatic journey of trans and gender-non-conforming people, and the creation of trance environments through drone, repetition and fluid tuning systems.
“In her musical practice, McCarroll-Butler has a penchant for using drones, for using repetitive rhythmic and melodic motives and for paying special attention to timbre. Her music has a way of inviting the listener to hear in a deep, nuanced way, as initial melodic statements repeat, shift and reconstitute themselves; just as one develops an expectation as to what will come next, that expectation is subverted in surprising, compelling ways.” — Colin Story, Wholenote, June 2022
“Naomi spreads her music throughout Toronto’s field of creative music, expressing herself powerfully on multiple instruments. She pairs a commitment to blues-drenched jazz vocabularies with an experimentalist’s ear for new timbres and textures, often incorporating electronics. Her solo music can delve equally into sequences of focussed repetition and dreamy melodic invention, whether on the alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet…” — Scott Thomson, Guelph Jazz Festival
An active collaborator, Naomi plays with Jeremy Dutcher, Colin Fisher, Germaine Liu, Juliet Palmer, The Labyrinth Ensemble, Karen Ng, Francesca Remigi, Lesley Mok, The Queer Songbook Orchestra and many others. Her work as a composer and improviser has been featured by the Canadian Music Centre, Women From Space Festival, The Music Gallery and Guelph Jazz Festival. The Toronto Jazz Festival selected Naomi as the inaugural recipient of the Immersive Artist in Residence program in 2022, commissioning her to write and perform a piece for a 13-piece large ensemble.
Shoko Nagai is a versatile musical artist who improvises and performs with world-renowned musicians on piano and accordion and composes original scores for films and live performances. As a teenager in her native Japan, Nagai was trained on Yamaha’s electronic organ, the “Electone,” to perform popular music. Since moving to the U.S. from Japan and studying classical, jazz music, and compositions at Berklee, she has adapted her mastery of the keyboard to prepared piano, accordions, and other keyboard instruments, often inspired by the minimalist approach of composer Toru Takemitsu. Whether she is performing Klezmer, Balkan or experimental music, Nagai is a charismatic presence onstage, who hypnotizes audiences with her intense focus and virtuoso sound.
Nagai is 2023 and 2010 NY Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Music/Sound
2023 M³ (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians) award
2022 International Song writing Competition JAZZ category Finalist
2021 Chamber Music America Fellow, 2021 City Artist Corps Fellow
2008 Jazzjants Fellow
“Whether traipsing over a steady, rolling rhythm or swimming through a collage of abstract sound, Nagai, a pianist, treat every moment as an opportunity for deep synchronicity.” Giovanni Russonell, New York Times
Francesca Naibo, guitarist from Vittorio Veneto (Italy) based in Milan, moves fluently across all the different conjugations of the guitar, from the classic, the electric, to the fretless and the pedal steel. Involved in the research for solo performance, she is focused on exploring sound in the divergent yet sonically similar fields of free improvisation, contemporary music and classical repertoire. She’s particularly interested in using both the acoustic and the electric nature of her instrument, adventuring from roaring drones till microscopic vibrations.
She studied in Venice, Milan, Bern and Basel graduating in classical guitar and free improvisation, and built collaborations with many European musicians, especially over Central and Northern Europe. She worked with important composers like Helmut Lachenmann and George Lewis and she realized the transcription of the “Exercises in Futility” by and in collaboration with Marc Ribot.
In 2020 her first solo album “Namatoulee” was released by Aut Records. It was included in the “Albums of the year” list by the program “Late Junction” on BBC Radio 3. It was defined “masterful” by Il Giornale della Musica and “a postcard from the beyond, past the boundaries most guitarists usually accept” by A Jazz Noise.
Last September a piece by Francesca Naibo was included in the prestigious “I never metaguitar 6”, a selection among the best contemporary guitarists curated by Elliott Sharp for Klanggalerie.
Her second solo album “So much time” was released last November by Ramble Records. It’s a work about time that arrived after a long reflection on the past. It was created with digital recordings and the use of some old audiotapes with the artist’s voice as a child. There is therefore a dialogue between three voices: the voice as a child, the voice as an adult and the guitar. They explore different type of time, weaving impossible connections and stratifications dense of memories. “So much time” was defined “überraschend, erstaunlich, mutig, exzellent” (Jazz Podium) and “a cerebral and radical work” (Rockerilla Italy).
Martha Redbone is a vocalist, songwriter, composer, and educator of African American, Cherokee, and Choctaw descent. A multi-award-winning musician, the charismatic songstress is celebrated for her tasty gumbo of roots music embodying the folk and mountain blues sounds of her childhood in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky, mixed with the eclectic grit of her teenage years in pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Inheriting her powerful gospel-singing father’s voice and the resilient spirit of her mother’s Southeastern Indigenous culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American Roots music with songs and storytelling that share her life experience as a Black and Native American woman and mother navigating in the new millennium. Martha also works in partnership with longtime collaborator/husband Aaron Whitby. Their works give voice to issues of social justice, connecting cultures and celebrating the human spirit.
Her album “The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake “(produced by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder and Grammy-winner John McEuen), is “a brilliant collision of cultures” (New Yorker).
Redbone and Whitby are the composers, arrangers, and orchestrators of original music and score for the 2022 Broadway revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuff, the 1976 classic choreopoem by the late Ntozake Shange, premiering at the Booth Theater, garnering seven Tony Award nominations and critical acclaim. Redbone and Whitby are the 2020 Drama Desk Award recipients for Outstanding Music in a Play and the 2020 Audelco Award recipient for Outstanding Composer of Original Music and Score for the Off-Broadway revival. Redbone is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow.
Over the years Martha has performed and recorded with many great artists including; Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton, Judy Collins, Joan Osborne, Steven Van Zandt, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Nona Hendryx, Lisa Fischer, Steve Martin, David Amram, Randy Brecker, Tony Trischka, John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Carter Cash, Ben Sollee and Tom Chapin amongst many others.
Nath Rodrigues is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and researcher of the performing arts. The artist from Minas Gerais dedicates her work to Brazilian instrumental music, to song and to the research of the effects of music on the body-mind-spirit. She is a member of “Lugar de Mulher,” a collective that promotes musical works that have women in the productive and creative chain, Nath released in July 2019 his first solo album: ” The album consists of 11 unpublished songs that run through part of the artist’s musical trajectory and synthesize a little of her influences so far. Fractal has the participation of Chico César (PB), Sérgio Pererê (MG), Maíra Baldaia (MG) and other names from the Minas Gerais music scene. Parallel to Fractal, Nath presents his songs in solo format with the project entitled “Cordas Gerais”, which has already circulated in several Brazilian cities, as well as countries such as Argentina, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy. In December 2021, she was the national winner of the Alliance Française Song Festival. His second album, “Fio,” with production, accompaniment and beautiful timbres of Pedro Cambraia (known in the music scene as Cido/Cidoca) arrived on digital platforms on May 13, 2022, by the Macacolab seal. The work song, “Conto”, has the participation of Luedji Luna and has already accumulated more than 100,000 views on YouTube. Fio is the line that connects song, instrumental music, world music references and returns to its deep roots on Brazilian soil.
Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, pianist and composer Marta Sánchez is actively working in the contemporary creative music scene in New York City and around the globe. Charting a significant path through her innovative and original music, she has reached an international audience, gaining significant global recognition.
Marta’s main project, her quintet, was created soon after she moved to New York, and since then has released four albums: “Partenika” (2015), “Danza Imposible” (2017), and “El Rayo de Luz” (2019) with the Spanish label Fresh Sound and SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) with Whirlwind Recordings. All of the albums received high praise from American press. ”Partenika” received great reviews from The New York Times, Downbeat, All Music, All About Jazz, and many more. Not only that, but the recording was selected by The New York Times as one of the 10 best albums of 2015, including all genres, and it was also included on the lists of the best recordings of the year from the Jazz Journalist Association, Downbeat and All Music. The quintet’s next work, “Danza Imposible” was reviewed and highly praised in the famous public radio program “Fresh Air”, it got 4 stars from DownBeat, an excellent review from The New York TImes, on Nate Chinen’s program at WBGO, and it was also included in some lists of the best of 2017. “El Rayo de Luz” was also included in the The New York Times list of the Best 10 jazz albums of 2019, it was the editor’s pick of the December issue of Downbeat, got a four stars review also in Downbeat from Giovanni Russonello, it was featured on WBGO’s program “The Checkout” and a long etc. SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) was reviewed at The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, Jazzwise and a long etc. After “Danza Imposible”, Marta’s music has been the subject of articles in publications including Jazziz and The New York Times.
She has toured the United States, Europe, South America, and Central America, performing as a leader or as a sideman at prestigious venues and prominent festivals such as North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, Eurojazz in Mexico City, Eurojazz in Athens, Jazz Festival Vitoria Gasteiz, Winter Jazz Festival in New York, and Madrid among many others. In the United States she has performed at some of the most prestigious clubs including the Blue Note, Birdland, Roulette, Jazz Gallery, 55 Bar, The Cell Theater, Cornelia Street Cafe, or Blue Whale.
Sharon Udoh is a gay, first-generation Nigerian-American composer, pianist, arranger, bandleader, and vocalist who combines vocals that seemingly erupt from the center of the earth with a stage presence that somehow feels both dangerous and kind. Her work abandons genre and is expansive, focusing on human complexity, chaos, and connection. She often takes the stage under the name Counterfeit Madison; her performances are magnetic, dangerous, and kind. She lives in the Midwest.
With her own rock ‘n’ roll group, Counterfeit Madison, she has released two albums and created the 2017 performance Counterfeit Madison Meets Nina Simone: A Celebration of Blackness. The band’s most recent album, 2017’s “Opposable Thumbs,” launched with a sold-out release party at the Wexner Center. The disc reaffirmed the relevance of her storytelling and searing musicality, and her appearance in another Wex-supported project—a theatrical version of Joan Didion’s “The White Album” by director Lars Jan—showcased her talent at such prestigious venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.