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Trio Ginga: News

Winter 2014 Update - February 4, 2014

Boa Tarde music fans,
It’s been awhile since my last post. Trio Ginga wishes you and your family the best in the New Year and we are looking forward to seeing you at one of our gigs this year. It promises to be an exciting year of Brazilian music.

During my traditional January downtime I’ve been busy gearing up for a busy year of playing. I re-headed all my pandeiros (Brazilian tambourines) and my congas and have been practicing like mad in between gigs. I just got back from a week in Key West with the Carter Brothers…a welcome respite from the bitter winter weather we’ve been having in Nashville. Every day I walked to Ft. Zachory Taylor State Park and practiced the afternoons away on my pandeiro under the sea pines and at sundown walked back to the band house to get ready for the gig. The gigs were wonderful. Many members of the Carter Bros fan club took their vacations to come and be with us at the Hog’s Breath.

Trio Ginga had some amazing gigs in the fall. One of the most notable was playing a concert at 948Jazz, a beautiful little venue located in the old Metrocenter Mall. The performance was fantastic. We met a bunch of new folks and made some new friends. Thank you Kandes Dungey for inviting us to your beautiful venue and being such a wonderful person. Don’t worry a couple more years in the club biz will take care of that!

We had a little bit of a setback in September. Kenya developed and ear infection, which we thought had healed. We had some gigs coming up and went into some intense rehearsals in which Kenya really pushed her voice. Unfortunately the strain caused the infection to spread to her vocal cords causing her to be out of commission for a few weeks. But she is back and singing better than ever. I really admire her spirit. She’s been with a vocal coach for quite some time now and always trying to improve her vocal technique. I’m looking forward to going to a birthday party for her son Noah this weekend.

The other Brazilian music news that I am excited about is an upcoming concert and master class from Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto, who was pianist for Hermeto Pascoal’s group during his most fertile period in the ‘80s. I believe it was the period when the whole band was living together rehearsing every day. I have an incendiary live tape of that incarnation of Hermeto’s band. It was given to me by dear friend and virtuoso bassist Mark Harris and recorded at a club in Miami when Mark was living there. I listened to the first side of the cassette with my mouth hanging open…unbelievable!…couldn’t wait to hear Side 2. I flipped the tape and….nothing. I called Mark and told him, “Bro, you forgot to put the second set on the tape”. He said, “I wasn’t there for the second set. The first set freaked me out so bad I had to leave. They were so good I wanted to quit music! So, I split and didn’t record a second set.” So that’s how good that band was.

Mr. Santos Neto was designated by Hermeto to be the archivist of all his compositions and is an expert on Hermeto’s music. Jeff Coffin is good friends with Jovino and has been trying to get him here for quite a while. It looked like we were going to make it happen this Spring but Jeff found out he will be recording with the Dave Matthews Band at that time and it was decided to postpone it till the fall. We’ll keep you posted.

I am in hard core booking mode right now, working to get Trio Ginga booked for college performances this Spring and Fall. Wish me luck!!! Thanks for stopping by.



Dann's Summer News - July 29, 2013

Como Vai Gingas,
Great summer going so far. I've been blessed to be doing a bunch of session work lately. My summer started with a CD release party for Jonathan Kasper and Six Weeks to Live on Memorial Day weekend. We recorded the CD a year or so ago and I have to say it came out great. We packed out Douglas Corner for the event. That next Monday I left for a week in Key West with the Carter Brothers Band. It was by far our best outing yet. Even though it rained almost every night we were there, the crowds were good and the band was slammin'.

Then my lovely wife Diane and I went to Paris for a week to visit our friend April Scott. Some of you might remember her as a salsa dance impresario and manager for Willie Crespo and Salsarengue and the Guy Smiley Blues Exchange. We had an amazing experience. That weekend there was a music festival featuring all Parisian artists. We heard some awesome Brazilian music...a pagode band and in Montmartre a Maracatu drumming group... It was inspirational. We did some museums and ate our way all through the city...some of the best meals ever. Even the sandwich I got at the airport on the way out was one of the best sandwiches I ever had! Go figure.

So far this summer I've played on albums for an Australian artist produced by my buddy Ross Sermons who recently moved to Australia, guitarist Chris Clifton and Las Vegas artist Jeff McDougle. Also gigs with Roy Vogt and the Urban Legend Band at the Summer NAMM Show, Music City Samba, Rachel Rodriguez, Coral Bay Steel Drum Band, Deep Grooves Steel Band and the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. We did a Wes Montgomery tribute at the Frist Museum with Geary Moore. I've also started playing percussion with the band Big Shoes, a Little Feat tribute group featuring Andy Peake on drums and lead vocals, Will McFarlaine (Bonnie Raitt) on guitar, Mark T Jordan (Van Morrison) on keys, Kenne Cramer (Dr. Hook and Engelbert Humperdink) on guitar and the bad ass Tom Szell on bass. It's pretty incredible.

But what I'm really excited about is our upcoming Trio Ginga concerts at Kandes Dungey's Nine48Jazz venue on September 22 and Tom Hurst's Loud Jamz on Sept 2nd...Labor Day. It is a real honor to be asked to play these great events and I want to encourage you to come out and support live Brazilian music in Nashville!

Keep the Ginga,


2013 So Far - March 29, 2013

Como Vai y'all,
All is well here in Nashville. We are gearing up for some college regional shows at TSU and Jackson State CC, which are coming up real soon. (Check out our calendar.) We just played and amazing show at Vanderbilt University for a conference of Amazonian anthropologists from all over the world hosted by my friend Dr Beth Conklin. We have never played for a more appreciative audience. It was off the hook!

I've been really busy the last couple of weeks practicing the drums and learning the Chapman Stick. The Stick has become my hobby lately. I don't know if I'll ever perform on it but I sure am having fun learning the instrument. Regi Wooten is helping me. I've been teaching African Drums to kids in the region and working with young children in the Wolf Trap program. I've been doing a bunch of Thursday nights playing percussion with Cliff Richmond at the Tokyo restaurant and just played on Guthrie Trapp's new album Pick Peace, which just got released. It's got all the "cats" on it...bad ass record. Did a week in Key West with the Carter Brothers back in January and an awesome gig with them at 3rd and Lindsley a couple of weeks ago. I've been playing some with Rony Caceres from Sonora Caruseles and the incendiary Rachel Rodriguez. I played drums on a rock CD by Jonathan Kasper last year. We are gearing up for a big CD release party in May at Douglas Corner.

As far a what's happening with the band....Kenya has been busy helping her sister Karem with her new baby up in DC and is still studying vocal technique with Ron Browning.

Dave's extra-curricular activities are pretty amazing. He's really busy on the funk/R&B circuit here in Nashville. Some of recent activities include: acoustic and electric guitars for a new record with Eric Lee Pritchard (pop/rock), live shows with Crazy Face, The Diggy Band, Dog and Pony Show, The Hershel Bailey Band, the After Five Tux Band, Black Widow, Traffic Jam, Storybook, and weekly church service with Greater South Baptist Church choir and band. In his spare time he woodsheds on classical guitar and piano, catch up on world news and events, exercise, plays with his two dogs and two cats, goes on movie/dinner dates with his wife, and call or e-mail family members who live in other states.

Ron de la Vega is a busy school teacher and active bassist around town. He's actively working on his doctorate in conducting at Austin Peay University in Clarksville.

Tony Nagy is busy playing with the Eldon Huff band and various projects around town including being in the house band for Tom Hurst's Loud Jazz event every other Monday at Douglas Corner.

That's about it for now! Ate Lago and Tchau!

January 27, 2013


2012 in Review - January 22, 2013

Boa Tarde music fans,
I sincerely hope you are well and living life to the fullest. For me it was a great year but 2012 was a manic kind of year for Trio Ginga. We had some real highs and lows. We had some really memorable gigs; like the Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Contemporary Music Series, hosted by Rahsaan Barber (Thanks Rahsaan... and Lori!), Western Kentucky University’s International Festival and Brazil Week at the Global Education Center. We had a couple of cool gigs at the Nashville International Airport. They have a program that showcases local talent in the airport as travelers exit the concourse and are headed to baggage claim. More than a few folks were left scratching their heads after being welcomed to Nashville by a band playing Samba music. Hey, its all country music, people!!!

2012 was the year that saw the birth of Kenya’s new baby. It was also the year that Kenya’s house was destroyed by an errant garbage truck. Thank God the family was not there at the time. But all is well. After a momentous search Kenya and family found and bought a new home and are all moved in.

In 2012 my life changed for the better. I sold my little cracker box crib in Belmont-Hillsboro and moved, with my lady Diane, into a beautiful home in Wilson County east of Nashville. It is so amazing! I can’t believe I’m living here. We have a 1,000 sq ft. studio/rehearsal space in the basement and a big beautiful kitchen and three decks. Deer and wild turkey abound and there is a smokin’ mountain bike trail about a half mile from the house.

I got my studio set up early on and so far have done overdubs on three album projects. It’s sounding good.

OK, my biggest news is, I got married on October 20th to the lovely Diane Lynn Novacek of Union Pier, Michigan. (OK, so I should have mentioned it earlier, but I’m trying to stay chronological here.) We had a private ceremony with family on our brand new back patio with the Reverend Curtis Daniels of the Loving Chapel Church presiding. Then that afternoon Diane and I threw a wedding party, which turned into an amazing jam session. Scott Hallgren on piano played some awesome funk/jazz with a trio. We had Latin music from Rony Caceres (Sonora Caruseles) along with Jamie Nichol, Isoel, Tim and Danny Carter and myself. Tony Ewing, Tim Smith and I played some R&B. Will Barrow tore up some Choro and New Orleans R&B.

One of the musical highlights of the year for me was not even a Trio Ginga gig. I don’t know who it was but I would like to kiss whoever was responsible for booking Gilberto Gil at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville. It was the most amazing concert of Brazilian music I’ve ever seen. Primarily drawn from the Me, You, Them movie soundtrack, the tunes were all Forró in style, played flawlessly and with amazing groove by his band. I recognized three long-standing members. Jorge Gomes drums & zabumba, Arthur Maia on bass, and the guitar player…can’t remember his name have all been with him at least 15 years that I know of. It was all so tight and grooving. Just amazing. They made it sound so easy!

Well that’s about it for now. Please keep an eye out for Trio Ginga this year. We are committed to playing out in Nashville a little more often.

Ginga News for July 2012 - July 3, 2012

Hey Samba Freaks,
I want all of you to please keep Kenya and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She's been going through some tough times in the aftermath of a garbage truck losing its brakes on her street and plowed into her bedroom spilling the contents INTO THE HOUSE! It completely demolished the house. Fortunately the family was in Orlando vacationing at the time because had they been home, they would be dead. The family lost everything. Fortunately, they recently found a new home and have moved in.

I asked Kenya if she needed time off from the band to concentrate on getting the family back on it's feet. She said, "No this music is the only thing keeping me sane right now!" I just want the world to know that Kenya, in the middle of this tragedy made ALL of our performances and performed as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on in her life. THIS shows the power of music to heal.

It has been a great year so far. I havent posted in awhile, mainly because I moved and have been getting my new place set up. My lady Diane and I house hunted for eight months. We finally merged households back in April and are now in a beautiful house out in rural Mt. Juliet. It is really great to be out of the city in the woods. We have about an acre of wooded property with a tree swing, berry bushes, a bitchin kitchen with a gas stove, decks all the way around the house and, best of all for me, 1000 sq feet of studio space in the basement for recording and rehearsing. It is really great to not be tripping over drums in the middle of the night. If you come in the front door and look around the upstairs, youd never know I am a drummer. Our real estate agent Terry Armstrong of Zeitlin & Company was the most patient and professional agent ever.

Trio Ginga played some nice gigs this Spring. My moving kind of impeded my ability to book the band to the extent I would have liked but we still had some significant gigs. We played a couple of times at my friend Enzo Cangelosis restaurant Maria Mariah a fantastic, fusion restaurant featuring Brazilian and Latin American food. These gigs were a great opportunity to get Kenya worked in and up on all our new material. We had gigs at Motlow State Community College in McMinnville and the International Festival at Western Kentucky University. We are very grateful to Jeannie of Motlow and Trinity and Alison of WKU for all their efforts in producing these shows for the students. We also participated in Brazil Week at the Global Education Center. Trio Ginga played the International Dance Night, the culminating event of the week of dance and music workshops at the Center. Thank you Ellen Gilbert. In early June we did a quartet performance at the Nashville Airport with the regular members of Trio Ginga and our buddy Scott Halgren on piano. Awesome!

I just got back from Chicago, teaching at the Chicago Latin Jazz Workshop for a week. It was amazing. My friend Don Skoog, a master percussionist, Cuban music scholar and teacher hosted the program. It featured Ann Reynolds an amazing pianist and composer from Seattle and myself as well as Chicago artists Adrian Ruiz, a young lion on Piano, the incendiary Victor Garcia on Trumpet, Bob Levecchio on Bass, and Michael Levin on the tenor Saxophone and flute. We had two ensembles each led by three profession players (a pianist, bassist and a horn). The student attendees were all percussionists who gained experience playing with professional level musicians in a daily regime of morning lessons and afternoon rehearsals with a Friday night, culminating concert. My mornings were spent teaching group classes on how to play Latin Jazz in a band. Afternoons were devoted to rehearsals. My job with the ensembles was to kind of coach the percussion sections. But fortunately the students were hard workers and didnt need too much coaching. My spare minutes were spent with the awesome Mr. Geraldo de Oliviera in his Brazil in Chicago percussion program. I learned so much from him and performed with his group in the Friday night concert. Thank you Geraldo!

Tomorrow is July 4th and members of my Carnaval drumming group Music City Samba are performing and marching in the parade for the Whitland Ave. 4th of July celebration. It is an amazing celebration of the birth of America with a concert band performance and appearances by our mayor and other local and regional dignitaries. This is our third year doing it.

Well thats about it for now. Ill be listing some gigs in the near future. Keep ya posted. And as always..Keep the Ginga!

Is it November already? - November 1, 2011

Hi all. It has been a while between posts in the Ginga Journal and for this I apologize. You see, we came off our Ville Tour" in late April ( No kidding, every town we played in during the whole tour had a "ville" suffix in the name...Knoxville, Greenville, Louisville, Hopkinsville) and since then we have been through significant changes. First off, our singer Debora has moved to Alabama with her fiance, who got a job there so she decided to move with him. We wish her the absolute best in her new life.

I have to tell you something. In the music business or any other artistic endeavor you better love what you do with all your heart because the disappointments and trials that you will face will absolutely crush the spirit of an uncommitted person. My spirit's been stomped on many times but never crushed. I believe so much the power of Trio Ginga and so does God because He sent our former singer, the beautiful and talented Kenya Evelyn, back to us. That's right, our original singer is back with Trio Ginga she reappeared at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place. We did our first gig together last week at the McMinnville campus of Motlow State Community College and it was like a breath of fresh air. With one rehearsal Kenya came back in and turned it out. Kenya, you are amazing. I hope you all can come to our next show and hear her artistry, which combined with this fantastic band is absolutely transcendent.

Happy Spring! - May 6, 2011

Good times here at Funky Finger Productions! Spring is finally here and not a moment too soon.

We've been having some really great gigs so far this year. Debora, Tony, Dave and I just had the honor of sharing the stage with the great Brazilian Percussionist Cyro Baptista and his band Banquet of the Spirits in Louisville at Jefferson State Community College's Points of Culture Festival in mid April. Then off to Knoxville where we played Pellissippi State Community College's Festival of Cultures. The next week we went to Greeneville in East Tennessee where we played a concert at Tusuculum College's lovely Behan Theatre. Next week on May 21st we are in Hopkinsville, KY for the Little River Days Festival. It is quite an inspiring time to be in this band.

I've been really busy with side projects as well this year as well. So far I've contributed to several new CD's. I just did all the percussion on my homey Ross Sermon's fantastic new Piedmont blues CD King's Pool Room. Ross and I play with blues rockers The Carter Brothers and we just finished recording their gritty new CD with me on drums and Ross on bass. I just recorded all the percussion on a reunion of Todd Rundgren's Utopia band. We re-cut the Utopia Theme and many of their coolest songs...Latin Style! Also, I played some percussion on Jeff Hall's project called Third Coast Vocal Ensemble, a fantastic jazz vocalese group. I recently joined a great group of rock musicians in Nashville called 6 Weeks to Live. We are recording next month.

We'll keep you posted on upcoming gigs. Keep the Ginga!

Ginga News for January 2011 - January 21, 2011

It is a beautiful, sunny January day in Nashville with a fresh layer of snow on the ground. Yesterday my girlfriend Diane and I had a big day filled with art and music. I worked the whole morning on the phone doing band business while watching the snow come down. Diane called and said all of her clients cancelled due to weather (she’s a medical esthetician…treating skin). I had a really productive morning, so I decided to take her to the Frist Museum to see the Impressionists exhibit before it closes this Sunday. What an inspiration! I dreamed in color last night.

We came home and the phone rang. It was Lori Mechem the director of the Nashville Jazz Workshop, who told me that my evening class was cancelled due to weather. We currently have a 6-week class on studio drumming featuring Nashville’s finest studio drummers. Last night was to have been Chester Thompson’s night. Yeah, that Chester Thompson…Zappa, Weather Report, Genesis. Luckily we were able to reschedule him during our break week between sessions. So, I was left with a night off. As fate would have it Diane had tickets to the symphony last night. Initially I couldn’t go because of my class. Well, then her girlfriend who was scheduled to go with her called and bailed because of weather. So I got to go. They were AWESOME!!!! They played Jean Sibelius’ violin concerto with guest violin soloist Stephan Jackwl. He was a complete virtuoso. Then they played a piece called Inextinguishable by Neilsen. It featured two tympani players. It was all this cool, dark, Nordic symphonic music, perfect for a snowy night. Two major inspirations in one day! Wow! I just had to tell you about it.

Well now to the Ginga news. We are making progress toward finding a venue for Carnaval 2011. Our friend Pablo Bodini is helping us make some contacts for the venue. We found one and are in the negotiating stages right now to get the business straight. We’ll keep you up on the progress. This years Carnaval party promises to be the best yet.

Dave is healing steadily from his accident last November and is back playing guitar again, thank God! Debora is in her second semester at Vol State and carrying a full load of classes. I’ve been super busy booking Trio Ginga for 2011 and also with my other gigs. I’ve been working in the house band at the Ibiza nightclub playing salsa/merengue and just joined 6 Weeks to Live an awesome melodic rock band. I also am happy to announce that, at great expense and effort, I upgraded my recording rig…big time! I bought a Powermac G5 Quad Core computer and ugraded my microphones. It took me forever to get all the components to talk to each other but with some help from my buddy Warren White at Pro Audio Solutions, its all working great. Thank you Warren! Trio Ginga is ready to record again!

I recently played on several tracks for my buddy Jeff Hall and his 3rd Coast Vocal Ensemble. He had some beautiful Salsa and Brazilian arrangements that needed percussion. I also did Brazilian percussion on a track for the inimitable Dan Hagan, an amazing guitarist here in Nashville. It was a musical representation of the Spring flood, which devastated many parts of Nashville. I recently completed work on some pieces for TPAC Education on a CD they are doing. All of this was done in my studio. I love this kind of work! It is so cool and fun to be free of the time constraints and pressure of the formal recording studio environment.

The band is in writing mode now. We are putting together some originals to record and perform. Much of it will be ready by Carnaval time.

Well that’s about it for now. Stay warm. Be well. Be in the moment. Try not to think too much! And above all...Keep the Ginga.


Happy New Year Gingas! - January 1, 2011

Well all I have to say about 2010 is... Don't let the door hit you on the way out! It was a very challenging year for Trio Ginga but as well it was a year of renewal and new beginnings. We began the year with a promising future, which quickly turned into disaster with the incarceration of our guitarist Otto and a brain hemorrhage that almost took the life of Hubert our bassist at the time. We almost gave up.

But Debora and I love Brazilian music so much that we decided to reform the group. And with the help of the fabulous Dave Martin on guitar and Tony Nagy & Ron de la Vega sharing the duties on bass, we have been able to not only survive but thrive! It took us about 3 months to get the new group stage ready but thanks to our dear friends at Georgia Southern University and Laurie Larson at the Green Hills Health Center, we had some performance dates to shoot for. The gigs were awesome and gave us the motivation to continue. And it kept getting better. We played for a big Brazilian party at La Hacienda restaurant in September, which was very validating. It told us that what we are doing goes over with the Brazilian community. We also played a couple of International Culture days at Motlow State Community College. We had a ball.

What a difference a year can make!

We are planning our work for 2011 now, which will include another Carnaval Nashville! party in March along with some festival performances and some theaters. We are trying our best to complete the writing for a new CD as well. Keep ya posted.

Keep the Ginga!


The Latest - September 13, 2010

My bandmates and I have been busy rebuilding the band, simultaneously trying to learn & update our repertoire to accommodate the gigs we've been doing. After Otto's incarceration and a significant mourning period, I decided that we should do the gigs we had on the books and not turn anything down. We had some gigs come up that were important and I felt like passing on them would be sacrilege. So, we started the daunting task of rebuilding the group with all new musicians. We have a great collaboration going of people who are really interested in this music. And I am profoundly grateful to them for helping to keep Trio Ginga alive and thriving.

My good friend David K Martin stepped up to the plate on guitar and has deftly, and fiercely navigated his way through some really difficult music terrain...all while playing in several other bands.

The bass chair is being shared by two fantastic musicians Ron de la Vega and Tony Nagy. Ron is the music teacher at Indian Lake Elementary School in Hendersonville and is also an in demand cellist and bassist for several very artistic Nashville artists (Jonell Mosser & Nancy Griffith to name a couple). Tony Nagy is doing amazing work around Nashville in several bands (Terry Clark and his own project) and is a very gifted instrument builder. Both Ron and Tony have sacrificed mightily to be in Trio Ginga. They love Brazilian music so much. These gentlemen are total pros in every way.

Debora Brazil, our vocalist, is back in college and studying very hard to get her degree. Debora has made every rehearsal to prepare for the gigs. She always delivers a great performance and is great fun to be around.

We've had some pretty important gigs this summer. On August 24th we played for an all-campus event at Georgia Southern University for the Multi-Cultural Student Association. We had a ball playing for the students as they crossed campus on their way to and from class. We made a bunch of new friends that day.

This past Sunday 9/12/10 we played a party for the Nashville Brazilian community celebrating Brazilian Independence Day at La Hacienda Restaurant and Bar in Frankin. I gotta tell you we worked our tails off to get ready for that one. I had our friend Mason Embry transcribe a bunch of Pagode songs so we could give the audience some serious dance samba.

I just sent thank you notes to the band. It's Monday and I'm exhaused. But its the exhaustion you feel when you know you did your best.

We're Baaaack! - July 19, 2010

It’s been so long since my last post and so much has transpired since then I don’t know where to start…heavy stuff…not fun stuff. I remember closing one of the last postings with the comment “the struggle continues”. Well, it certainly does. Some of this stuff is hard to talk about but I will lay it out honestly and unabashedly.

For all y’all who think being in or running a band is a “glamour profession”, you could not be more wrong. I always wondered why all the major artists for whom I have worked (the one’s that have been in the business for a long time) are so jaded and temperamental. Well now I know.

In late March our dear friend and guitar player Otto disappeared for several weeks. We had gigs coming up and I started to really worry that I had done something to upset him. (I always blame myself first.) The reality was, according to his fiancé, that he had some pretty serious unfinished business in Georgia before he moved to Nashville a year ago. Namely a felony indictment, which he failed to tell me about because he and his lawyer thought they had a slam-dunk case. Well, ‘fraid not.

Brother Otto is in the joint for a while. He was actually at his trial when he disappeared…convicted.

This seriously messed the band up for about three months. I had contracts on gigs that had to be cancelled immediately plus a new mission to find a replacement guitarist. Sooooo…..

It is with great pleasure that I announce the new lineup for Trio Ginga. Our awesome new guitarist is David K Martin, a dear friend for many years…since the ‘80s actually and one of the finest guitarists and all round musicians I know…all that on top of being a really great guy. David, and I and our new bassist have been doing a bit of session work together lately as house musicians for a studio in the area.

Playing with Trio Ginga now on Bass and Cello is another dear friend of ours, Ron de la Vega. Ron is a consummate musician. We have worked a lot together playing Caribbean music for Mat Brittain’s Deep Grooves Steel Drum Band. Ron’s background includes long stints with Nancy Griffith, Nashville’s r&b diva Jonell Mosser, English guitar god Richard Thompson and superstar singer Engelbert Humperdinck.

And just so you’ll know, Debora is still with us as featured vocalist. She has been writing some tunes lately, which we hope to debut soon.

Trio Ginga has some gigs coming up so we’ve been rehearsing really hard for several weeks getting the repertoire under our fingers. I have to admit this is the hardest grooving version of the band to date. I can’t wait for you to hear it.

….the struggle continues unabated!

Keep the Ginga!

Otto wins Classical Guitar Competition - March 10, 2010

We want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to our guitarist Otto Stoy, who won first place in a serious classical guitar competition in Memphis last week. This brother can jump from Bach to Baden and not miss a beat. As a matter of fact, after winning the competition the judges were stunned to know that his main interests are in Brazilian music. So, they asked him to come back out and do a Brazilian tune for an encore.

We are proud of you bro!

Welcome back Hubert!! - January 27, 2010

I am so happy to announce that our flautist/bassist Hubert is back playing again after recovering from brain surgery. I always knew that Hubert was a strong dude but after hearing his story of recovery, he's my hero. Hubert you are one tough dude! After the doctors told him he would likely never play woodwinds again, he took time each day to try to play his bass and when he got strong enough...the flute. And no matter how much pain or nausea it caused, he hung in and got all his mobility back. Moral of the story??? Don't mess with Texas.

Otto and I have been incredibly busy working the phones and booking the band. We are serious. This band is not just about survival. We aim to thrive. This incarnation of the group is the best we've had and we intend to keep it together no matter what. On top of that, Otto is writing charts for the group and is actively pursuing his Masters at MTSU. Debora is back in school too studying Art at Vol State. Me? Yeah, I'm in school...the school of hard knocks, working the phones everyday trying to learn to be a better businessman, bandleader and musician...learning time management, diplomacy, humility...heavy on the humility. The struggle continues....

Ano Novo Feliz!!! - January 6, 2010

Happy New Year people! We are happy to announce that our brother in music Hubert Knight is back in the saddle and playing woodwinds again after some pretty serious surgery. He'll be back with us on our next gigs.

Speaking of which, on Sat. February 13th @ 7:00 we will be performing at Nashville's second annual Carnaval party. This year we will celebrate Carnaval with three bands at the French Quarter. Samba Nove, Music City Samba and Trio Ginga will be sharing the stage for this incredible party. Don't miss it!

More later.

What we are listening to lately... - October 26, 2009

So what on Trio Ginga's ipod, you might ask? I just took a survey and here are the results:

Debora: Being a dancer, she's been wearing out the dance music lately... house stuff and trance. She really likes Sasha, a house artist from England and Tiesto a trance guy from the Netherlands. But what about Brazilian music. Deborah has become a Lenine fan. She mentioned specifically his song Leao do Norte. The song title was familiar but I couldn't connect a melody. So I started looking through my Lenine CDs. Couldn't find it. Then I thought...No it couldn't be? The only other place it could be is on a self titled duo album called Lenine & Suzano, with percussion genius Marcos Suzano. And there it was. This says a lot about Debra. She knows the great stuff. It is Lenine's debut and it is so brilliant. Unfortunately it is out of print. I guess I could burn you a copy... but that wouldn't be legal, would it?

Otto Stoy: Otto's listening tastes are all over the map lately. He's listening to all the stuff any serious Brazilian music buff would listen to, Baden Powell, Jacob do Bandolim, Rafael Rabello and Marco Pereira. However, Otto admitted today he was listening to Hank Jr. in his car. Yeah, that Hank Jr. Whaaaat? Sorry, I have to admit knowing what he knows. Southern rock and Brazilian music have some stuff in common...namely the stuff they sing about, the passion of the playing and the love of the land and the longing for getting back home...oh yeah and drinkin' and women.

Dann Sherrill: Let's see. My stuff is all over the map too. Here's a couple of recent discoveries. Check out Forró in the Dark. I think they are Brazilians living in NYC. Cool stuff. Also, a guy named Silverio Pessoa from the state of Pernambuco in Brazil. I was checking out and found this band called Cascabulho. It blew me away. So I ordered it and saw that Silverio was the bandleader and principal songwriter. He's one of the artists featured in the documentary called Moro no Brasil. Check out this movie for a musical tour of Brazil. For some OTHER Brazilian flavor...this a little darker, check out Os Ritmistas. They mix electronic music with live playing and vocals. Very cool stuff. Also, for all you Stomp fans, you will love Barbatuques, an amazing body percussion/vocal band from Sao Paulo. Stunning.

Haven't gotten Hubert's mix yet. He's recovering from some surgery and kind of on the down low right now. We love you Hubert! Get well soon my brother!

More later. Keep the Ginga!

Trio Ginga mourns the passing of Ramiro Musotto - October 10, 2009

Dann here. I found out today that one of my biggest influences and heros of Brazilian percussion passed away last month. His name is Ramiro Musotto one of the most gifted Brazilian percussionists ever to pick up a berimbau...or pandeiro, or an alfaia (Maracatu drum), or an MPC sequencer. Ramiro was a master of Bahian style Brazilian percussion and brought a creativity to the genre that has never been equaled. (Check out his water drums or his whacked out alfaia drumset on Lenine's Live en Cité DVD.) Ramiro's playing on the three Virginia Rodrigues CDs represent the best, most tasteful recordings of Brazilian folkloric percussion ever produced in my estimation.

As fine a percussionist as Ramiro was, he was also very adept as a producer. He made two CDs under his name Sudaka and Civilazâo y Barbaré. I can't recommend them highly enough. As a percussionist, the way that he blended percussion with electronica is just sheer genius. Ramiro also produced a fantastic CD on young woman named Mylene Pires....brilliant. Anyone with the balls to make electronica in 6/8 is alright in my book.

Ramiro passed away on September 11th of cancer. Ramiro we miss you desperately! Rest in peace Brother!

Dann featured on Bongo at the Nashville Jazz Orchestra's "Viva el Mambo" Show with Lalo Davila, John Santos and Sylvia Elena Garcia - October 9, 2009

On Friday Oct 9 Dann, Lalo, John and Elena were featured performers with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

Once a year the director Jim Williamson and the orchestra host a Latin show at Martha Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt U. This was a night of big band mambo played by one of the best big bands in the world (you find a better me, I want to hear it!) This is the only big band I know that can change gears like these guys. What I mean is they can swing & groove like the Basie band and then turn around and do some whacked out Bob McConnell chart and then play a salsa groove to death...totally different languages!

This was an awesome show! We played charts from Oscar Hernandez, some arrangements from the U of Miami, Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. Previous guest Latin artists in recent years were Oscar Hernandez, Bobby Allende, Marc Quinoñes, and Horacio "el Negro" Hernandez.

Thanks to director Jim Williamson for his undying dedication to the presevation of big band jazz. Thanks to Lalo Davila for being a great friend and a continuing inspiration.

A New Life for Trio Ginga! - October 8, 2009

Hello folks. I want to shout to the world about the new Trio Ginga. We just played our first couple of gigs together and my God!!!...What a difference it makes having all the correct pieces in place. No offense to my former band mates. Y’all were good. But having like-minded people in a group…with everybody on the same page, makes all the difference in the world..

I want to thank my band mates Otto Stoy, Hubert Knight and our featured vocalist, Debora Brazil for all their time and effort in getting all the music together for this first run of shows. We rehearsed four or five times and put together enough music for 3 sets. This reflects many more hours of personal preparation and practice time by the band than just the rehearsals. You REALLY have to love the music to put that much effort into a band.

A perfect example of this is our new woodwind and bass player, Hubert Knight, a brilliant, thoughtful performer and great arranger. Hubert, a North Texas State graduate, took the time to go through all of our choro arrangements and modify them to fit the addition of his flute. He then took all our raggedy, electric samba charts and re-did them in Finale to make them clear and reflect all the key changes that were necessary when we added our featured vocalist Debora Brazil.

Speaking of Debora Brazil, she took time out of her workday to make all the rehearsals, which occurred during business hours and came in singing all the tunes perfectly. And did it all while moving and grooving gotta see her on stage.

As great as everybody's contributions to this first gig were, none equal those of Otto Stoy, our nylon string guitarist. His talent and work ethic enabled us to kick the level of musicianship and virtuosity up several notches. Otto took time away from his Master's degree studies at MTSU to make all the rehearsals and on top of that made time to actually transcribe, note-for-note, five very difficult, 16th note packed forro, choro and afro samba arrangements off CDs I had. Otto also brought in some amazing choro arrangements that he brought back from his time in Brazil. This guy is amazing. I have no idea when he sleeps.

Our first gig together was the African Street Festival on the Tennesee State University campus on September 20th. We performed there last year with the old band and were asked to play again this year. This gave us a fairly high profile gig to shoot for in getting the new band ready…and time was short…really short, but everybody chipped in and we rose to the occaision and turned in a really good show. This gave us the confidence to tackle the next challenge.

The next weekend on Friday & Saturday September 26th & 26th we were booked for our first club gig at Swank’s Martini Bar in the Doubletree Hotel downtown. So we did two rehearsals that week and went in and turned in a couple great nights of performances. Friday we started at 7:00 our normal time. Then at 11:30 there was a wedding party that came and we were asked to play till 1:00. We played 5 sets that night. And I’m so glad we did because a member of the wedding party was a gentleman named Norm Harris who is a professional music photographer and journalist from NYC. Norm took a bunch of pictures of the band in action, which are posted in the photos section of the website. Norm, brother if you read this, you need to know that you captured this band’s first real gig together. For this I am eternally grateful.

Trio Ginga has to prevail. It has to! It will not only survive…it will thrive. It must, because we love this music so much, we'd be playing it, jamming & rehearsing whether we have gigs or not.

I am so proud of this band for being who you are. And I am proud of our fans for hanging in with us through the ups and downs.

The struggle continues….

Good things come to those who wait - September 15, 2009

What a great month. I am so happy I can barely contain myself. We've finally have, after many years of longing, a lineup of musicians that I believe are the perfect combination for Trio Ginga. Great musicians and great people to hang out with! Otto and I have been on the lookout for some new bandmates for awhile and I think we finally found them. Here's the story.

I went to a jazz jam session on Thursday, Aug 13th at my friend Bill Moore's house. I rode with my piano playing friend Will Adkins, who was on the session that day. We got to Bill's house and the bassist was a guy named Hubert Knight, a multi-instrumentalist from Dallas. I'd played with him a couple of times years ago on a gig with a bunch of weirdos, who were a really bad punk band who decided to go lounge and play in the Frank Sinatra vein. Awful. But Hubert, who played saxophone, was really good.

Anyway after the session I remembered that Hubert also plays all the woodwinds. So I thought hmmmm....woodwinds on the choros and bass on the sambas...this could be cool. So I called him. He plays so many styles well that I couldn't imagine him not being good at Brazilian music. He's already a virtuoso. It'll just be a horizontal shift. I guess the timing was right because he was totally into it, mentioning he was starting to get frustrated with the lack of creativity in much of the music he's involved in.

The three of us got together in my living room to run some chorinhos one afternoon and WOW! A new band was born. It was unbelievable. Hubert plays the fire out of the flute, saxes, clarinet as well as the bass. So this band is the perfect vehicle for him to showcase his talent.

Concurrently we had been looking for a singer for many months. We had ads out all over the place with no luck at all and one day Otto and some of his new Nashville friends were hanging out
drinking beer in his back yard when he mentioned that we had been looking for a singer who could sing in Portuguese. One of the guys spoke up and said, "Hey bro, my girlfriend is from Brazil and is a singer. She's been complaining that there is no Brazilian music here and no one to sing with, to which Otto replied,
"Oh reaalllly??!!"

So we arranged a meeting...actually a cookout/ping pong party at Otto and Abby's. Debora showed up with her boyfriend and after a few beers we played a little bit just to prove to her that, yes, there is Brazilian music in Nashville. She sang a couple of songs with us and sounded great! So for the last month in between gigs with all the other projects we have going, we've been trying to get everybody worked in. So far it is sounding really good. I try to think like this," If it sounds this good now, just imagine what it will sound like a year from now."

I can't wait for you to hear this new band. We will be at the African Street Festival this coming Sunday, 9/20 at 4:20 PM. And next week at Swank's in the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Nashville. Cmon out.

July Happenings - July 26, 2009

Been a busy month here at Ginga Central. Otto and I have been putting together a bunch of new tunes that will hopefully kick our live show up a couple of notches in intensity. We probably will only get to debut one though (Hermeto Pascoal's gem called Sao Jorge). What a beautiful song!...hard as all get out too. Check out Hermeto's band performing it on You Tube. While you are there check out Hermeto and band performing in a lagoon, chest deep in water on flute and creative! Speaking of Hermeto Pascoal, the music from his most productive period '79 - 91' is so hard to come by. Much of it is out of print and what is on the net are collectors items selling for as much as $1000 dollars a CD!. Don't believe me? Check out Anyway, I found a Podcast on itunes called O Podcast da Musica Instrumental Brasileira - Miscelânea Vanguardiosa. It is amazingly good with all the major compositions from Hermeto's repertoire in that period when his band was rehearsing 6 days a week for six hours a day...inspirational stuff! Oh yeah, and the podcast is free.

We've been checking out a lot of Afro Brazilian music lately and intend to incorporate some awesome afoxes and afro-sambas into the repertoire. I've been busy making some serious loops to play along with to give it that future/primitive vibe.

See you at the Doubletree next weekend!

Welcome Otto Stoy!!! - June 21, 2009

Hi Everybody,
May was a really good month for Trio Ginga. We played some fun gigs and had a bunch of rehearsals. But most of all we want to welcome the amazing Otto Stoy into the group. This dude is a trip and I am so happy to have him working with us. He has incredible chops honed from years of playing Flamenco music and has encyclopedic knowledge of Brazilian Samba, Samba Choro and Bossa Nova. So now we are performing with two guitarists, Mario DaSilva and Otto and the result is just fantastic. Mario will also be playing some bass as well.

Adding Otto to the group has vastly expanded our repertoire. We just debuted four new Samba Choros to the set list. And we have several new ones coming.

Otto's first gig with us was last month at the Doubletree on May 29th and 30th. We got great reviews on the new lineup. We also played a benefit for the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital on June 5th at the East Nashville Performing Artists Co-op, where we brought our music to a new audience of college age folks. They loved it. We were sandwiched between several really good rock acts. Our stuff is so vastly different, I think it was refreshing to the audience.

We are busy rehearsing and preparing for our June 26 & 27 gigs at the Doubletree with Ana. Should be really cool. Hope to see you there.

We will also be collaborating with our good friend Ana Gonzalez on our next gig at the Doubletree, which is coming up next week. Ana is a very talented singer of bossa novas and sambas. Hope to see you there.

Ginga News - May 14, 2009

Hi friends, Dann here. It's been a great month with lots happening. I've been living and breathing Brazilian music and percussion for the whole month. I am teaching a class in Brazilian percussion at the Nashville Jazz Workshop with some really great students. They are wonderful and very curious about all the possibilities of Brazilian percussion.

Also, through my work with school age kids with the YMCA's Arts Embrase program, I was asked to be the featured speaker at a series of principal's luncheons here in Middle Tennessee. Basically, I didn't speak much. I brought enough Brazilian drums to outfit up to 50 principals and after the lunch invited them to strap on the drums and play some real samba. I did this in Sumner, Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson and Maury Counties. It was just awesome to see these school principals grooving and smiling and having a great time. They needed diversion from their stressful jobs.

My new friend Chelle Watson is promoting a Brazilian night on Mondays at 12th and Porter. I played there Monday night with the dynamic Diane & Frank Marino, doing trio versions of the songs of Som Brasileiro. It was amazing fun.

Trio Ginga has a weekend of hard core Brazilian music coming up on the weekend of May 29 & 30 at Swank's in the Doubletree in downtown Nashville. We are really looking forward to this. It will be our first gig with our amazing new guitartist team of Mario Dasilva and Otto Stoy. Don't miss it. Well that's about it for now.

See you at the Doubletree!

Been Awhile - April 30, 2009

Oi, Brazilophiles! My apologies for the long time between posts…Well we’ve been super busy darn it!!!

There have been quite a few changes in the band recently…great, life-altering changes, with the most perfect combination of musicians Trio Ginga has had yet! I’m blessed to be collaborating with two of the best musicians I know, Mario DaSilva, a great friend and an excellent guitarist from Sao Paulo and Otto Stoy also a virtuoso guitarist, who recently relocated to Nashville from Atlanta.

Mario DaSilva, as well as being a master of Brazilian guitar, is also a virtuoso flamenco guitarist...Amazing. He also maintains an inhuman teaching schedule at Belmont University, Travecca University and another college in Indiana, to which he drives one day a week. Otto Stoy is another complete virtuoso flamenco player whose first love is Brazilian music. He moved to Nashville a couple of months ago to pursue a Masters of Music here.

When these two players get together it’s like the NBA All-Stars. The roof is gonna come off the sucka’. Have mercy!

Anyway, be sure not to miss our upcoming show at the Doubletree Hotel on May 29 – 30. We will be debuting this new incarnation of Trio Ginga and hosting some special guests too. Stay tuned.
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