May 31 – Jazz with Gabriela Martina

Gabriela Martina

May 31, 2019 | 7:30pm

John and Christina Markey Performance Center
7 Washington Street
Malden, Massachusetts

Gabriela Martina performs selections from her latest project, Homage to Grämlis, a deeply personal project that tells the story of Martina’s upbringing on a beautiful dairy farm in Switzerland. It includes traditional Swiss yodel sounds, cow bells, accordion and alphorn fused with all the musical influences (Gospel/R’n’B/Soul/Jazz etc) she has been exposed to during her 10 years of living as a freelance musician here in the United States. Martina sings a delightful mixture of Swiss yodeling, R&B, funk, and jazz. She weaves story with passion for home and humanity, hinting of bucolic farms of Switzerland but with an edge of urban sophistication. Martina is a humanitarian who is passionate about learning about other cultures, helping to develop a sense for community, and fighting inequality and racism.

Martina will be joined by Kyle Miles (bass), Ben Rosenblum (accordion), Joe “Sonny” Barbato  (piano), Jharis Yokley (drums), and Jussi Reijonen (fretted and fretless guitar). Burcu Güleç (vocals) and Gus Sebring (on alphorn) will also join the band for this performance. 

$15 Adults
Students & Seniors free

Gabriela Martina is a vocalist, composer and educator. Released in 2016 with a four-star review from DownBeat, her newest album, No White Shoes, represents a major step in the singer’s sojourn as a 21st-century musician. Martina had the opportunity to perform and collaborate with heavyweights like Meshell Ndegeocello, Jack DeJohnette, and Angelique Kidjo. She recorded with veteran drummer J.R. Robinson and was a semi-finalist in the Shure Voice Competition at the 2009 Montreux Jazz Festival, performing with guitarist Lee Ritenour’s band. Martina released a critically hailed EP in 2010, Curiosity, which included her original song “Ain’t Nobody,” a finalist in the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foundation Young Jazz Composer Awards in 2012. She sings in four languages (German, English, French, and Spanish) and is currently performing with various groups up and down the East Coast.

Gabriela grew up yodeling with her family and had performances as early as the age of 4. Being raised on a beautiful farm in the heart of Switzerland surrounded by a musical family has influenced her musical path strongly. Martina’s upcoming album Homage to Grämlis, is a tribute to the farm in the Swiss Alps where she was raised. The first video single Song for My Father is now available here. Another new piece, ‘Mother Mary’ was released just recently and touches the ground of her catholic upbringing back home in beautiful Switzerland.

Photographs by Simon Heer

The Band

Joe "Sonny" Barbarato

Sonny Barbato, piano

Joe “Sonny” Barbato is one of New England’s great pianists and appears on numerous recordings with artists ranging in styles from jazz to country. Raised in Boston, Sonny has lived in Pittsburgh and New York City, playing alongside musicians Dave Budway, Jimmy Ponder, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jennifer Jackson, Kenny Barron, and Marvin Sewell to name a few. While touring Europe and the States, he continues to freelance in the Boston and New York areas. Sonny is a fine bandleader who works with some of Boston’s top musicians in duo, trio and quartet formats.

Ben Rosenblum, Accordian

Award-winning jazz pianist, composer and accordionist Ben Rosenblum has been described as “mature beyond his years,” (Jon Neudorf, Sea of Tranquility), and as an “impressive talent” (C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz), who “caresses [the music] with the reverence it merits” (Bob Doerschuk, Downbeat Magazine). Ben is based primarily in New York City, and is a graduate of the Columbia-Juilliard program (in 2016). His original music combines his extensive knowledge of the history of jazz with a free-wheeling, modern melodic sensibility and powerful narrative approach to the piano. His profound passion for jazz, swing and world music genres finds expression in his unique fusion of harmonic and rhythmic elements from a wide array of sources, and gives rise to a signature compositional sound and style at once iconoclastic and deeply rooted in such figures as Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly. Ben’s first priority in his composition and in his playing is always narrative – to tell a compelling story with his music, while reaching the hearts of his audience, connecting on an emotional, an intellectual and a spiritual level. Reviewers of his debut album Instead – released in 2017 with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Billy Hart – have been impressed by his musicality and his tasteful playing in light of his immense technical skill. Bob Doerschuk of Downbeat Magazine gave the album four stars, and wrote, “He has the chops to shoot off a few fireworks, … but that doesn’t seem to be a priority when covering sacred material.”

Kyle Miles

Kyle Miles, Bass

Kyle Miles is an electric and acoustic bassist hailing from Boston, MA, now currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He began his life as a student of music early on, and has since been honing his skills throughout the years with education and life experience. As a graduate of Berklee College of Music and a humble human being, Kyle has been successfully working as a professional freelance bassist.

Throughout his career, he’s had the honor of sharing musical experiences with a number of artists, among whom include: Marcus Strickland, Keyon Harrold, Meshell Ndegeocello, Chris Dave, Charles Haynes, José James, Robin Mckelle, Nick Hakim, Deva Mahal, Yasser Tejeda, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Jake Sherman, Gabriela Martina, and many others. These experiences have taken him to stages and festivals all over the world, and he looks forward to continuing the journey.

Jussi Reijonen, Fretted and Fretless Guitar

Born in Rovaniemi, a small town on the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland, fretted/fretless guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen is truly the product of a world without frontiers. Having grown up moving back and forth between Finnish Lapland, the Middle East, and East Africa and currently living in Boston MA, USA, Jussi has spent his life soaking up the sounds, scents and shades of Nordic, Middle Eastern, African, and now American culture, all of which are reflected in his music. Reijonen’s original music draws from a wide pool of influences and experiences gathered on a life journey living on four different continents. In both his original compositions and his playing, the open spaces and silences of Northern Finland effortlessly rub shoulders with the maqamat of the Arab world and the rhythmic richness of Africa and India, creating a truly unique and enchanting musical mosaic. Along his path, Jussi has worked as bandleader, sideman, composer or arranger with numerous front row artists, and has performed extensively in the United States at prestigious festivals and venues like Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress, as well as in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, France, Lebanon and Canada. He has had the honor of working with Jack deJohnette, Dave Weckl, Pepe de Lucía, Javier Limón, David Fiuczynski, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Louis de Mieulle / Matt Garstka (of Animals as Leaders), Hüsnu Şenlendirici and the New York Gypsy All-Stars, Bruno Råberg, The New York Arabic Orchestra, Finnish Idol winner Ari Koivunen, and multi-platinum-selling Finnish-Portuguese vocalist Anna Abreu, among others.

Jharis Yokley

Jharis Yokley, Drums

Jharis Yokley started playing drums at an early age only because the church he attended needed someone to keep time while the choir rehearsed. He kept playing the drums as a hobby until high school, when he decided to take it seriously. Thanks to his high school’s excellent jazz program, Jharis was able to perform with artists Michael Philip Mossman, Bob Mintzer, Matt Wilson, Joey Defrancesco and many more. While at Berklee, Jharis has played with many excellent musicians and has started to make a name for himself. He has played in several student-led bands, Berklee project bands, and studio sessions. During his second semester, he started playing with world renown guitarist David Fiuczynski and the Planet Microjam Institute. In May, Modern Drummer published an article about Jharis entited “The Berklee grad and tasteful up-and-comer backs the experimental savant on the road.”

Burcu Güleç

Burcu Güleç, Vocals

Burcu Güleç’s vocal journey began at the age of five, after discovering that singing came naturally to her. Since then, her greatest joy in life has been making discoveries in music through improvisation, and sharing it with her audience. Growing up in the hub of Ankara, Turkey, Burcu performed live over Turkish National Radio Television and many international jazz festivals.  She studied child development and education at Hacettepe University, eventually working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children.  After coming to Boston in 2010, Burcu attended Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory.  Burcu has traveled the United States performing at festivals, getting involved with artistic projects, and growing herself and her repertoire. Burcu’s music ranges from the classic Turkish of her childhood, to the various styles across the Middle East and Asia minor, jazz, improvisation, and electronic music. By drawing from the vast experiences of her life, Burcu’s use of music seeks not just to entertain, but to educate, challenge, and spread diversity.

Gus Sebring

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Gus Sebring, Alphorn

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Gus Sebring is Associate Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Horn of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Gus studied at Indiana University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Washington, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Having joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1981, Gus has been soloist with the BSO and the Boston Pops in Boston, at Tanglewood, and on tour. Sebring’s studio work is heard regularly in popular music, on PBS and in films, most notably John Williams’ score for the film, “Saving Private Ryan”. His musical arrangements have been performed by the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall, TD Garden, and Fenway Park, and by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. Gus has had numerous alphorn adventures in Switzerland, and recently collaborated with Gabriela Martina at Boston’s Museum of Science in an event for the Friends of Switzerland.