by Mel Fenson
When Veelah, an exuberant group of six multi-talented musicians gather on stage, they mesmerize their audiences with the hot sounds of Eastern European urban folk music, native to Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey, Greece and other Balkan countries. Their rhythmic scales and lively melodies flow from a rich musical mix of saxophones, clarinets, accordion, tuba, bass, and drums. They recently performed at the Longmont Senior Center's Friday afternoon Concert and Art Show series, sponsored by the Longmont Council for the Arts.
Lead clarinetist and saxophonist, Meg York has a clarinet performance degree from the University of New Mexico. She has studied extensively with world music masters and performed with many groups. She toured the US with Pablo Rodarte's Dance Espana, a New Mexico Flamenco dance troupe, and Mexico with the Univesidad de Las Americas Orchestra - and she has also performed with numerous other groups. She teaches at the Evergreen School of Music and composes her own arrangements of traditional tunes from the Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East.
Jesse Manno, who plays drums with the group, has also composed original scores for productions in contemporary dance, theatre, film, circus arts, and special events. He has toured extensively in the US, Western Europe and Asia. Jesse has been the Music Director of the C.U. Dance department in Boulder, since 1991.
Veelah's tuba player, Brian Mullins, is a multi-instrumentalist and composer, who has performed with numerous groups, including the Irish ensemble Colcannon, the instrumental group Laughing Hands, the New Mandolin Quartet, Bog Blossom and the Chinese spike fiddle band, "Erhoopla Ensemble." He has also been a featured soloist with various symphonies and chamber orchestras.
Hot clarinetist and saxophone player, Dexter Payne, is an extremely talented musician, who studied with Aldo Lallo, Jack Frederickson, John Handy Jr. and Homer Brown. He has toured extensively in Latin America and the US, performing with many groups. Dexter has worked in recording studios with Mac Rebennack, Artie Traum, Judy Roderick, Mary Flower, Washboard Chaz, Don DeBacker, Sammy Mayfield, Johnny Long, Boubacar Diebate, Lannie Garrett and others. Along with the his performances with other groups, Dexter has his own group, the Dexter Payne Quartet, which specializes in Brazilian choro music.
Dave Willey added the rich sound of his accordion and bass to the group. He has performed with a variety of musicians, including Hamster Theatre, Thinking Plague, and a gypsy swing band - Rue. His collaboration with the 'pataphysical' French group, Toupidek Limonade, will be released this year. Dave is also currently writing music for his father's poetry - a project that includes Deborah Perry, Mike Johnson, Bob Drake, Dave Kerman, Mark Fuller and Hugh Hopper.
James Hoskins, who joined in on trombone, has also performed with numerous bands, playing various instruments. He composes music for modern dance performances at the University of Colorado and he has been featured on many CDs.
CD, featuring Meg York and Veelah, entitled, "Village Squared,"
is available from: