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Battle of the Boroughs: Brooklyn Artists

My Cousin, The Emperor

(Jason Reischel, Terry Quire, Chris Gogan, and Alex Wyat)

My Cousin, The Emperor is the latest endeavor of Brooklyn-based via North Carolina singer-songwriter Jason Reischel. Following two national tours and two albums as a solo artist, Reischel re-imagined his southern-inspired sound and joined with some of NYC’s finest musicians.  In only a year and a half of existence MCTE has already been making a name for itself in NYC and beyond. Most recently, their song “A Long Way From Home” won the Independent Music Award for Alt-Country Song of the Year.

Mara Levi

Mara Levi has been touring nationally for the last 10 years, playing her unique blend of smart, bombastic, folky pop.  She started touring as a Brooklyn resident in 2000, but moved away for several years.  She has recently returned to Sunset Park, and is recording a new CD in her basement apartment.  When she plays solo, Mara uses a loop station and acoustic guitar to create a full band sound.  When she tours with her DC-based band, The Pushovers, she plays electric bass.  Mara writes catchy songs with complex chord changes and clever lyrics that gain new meaning each time you hear them.

Jean Rohe Band

(Jean Rohe-vocals, percussion; Ilusha Tsinadze, guitar; Liam Robinson, accordion; Benjy Fox-Rosen, bass; and Aaron Shafer-Haiss, percussion)

Though she grew up across two rivers in New Jersey, as an adult Jean Rohe returned to the fertile land of Brooklyn, home of her mother and her mother’s mother before her.   She is a vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose tri-lingual original compositions and fresh arrangements of songs from Latin America explore the intersections of jazz, North American folk music, Brazilian and Afro-Peruvian traditions. Winner of both the audience favorite and second place award at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, Jean engages the listener in body, mind, and heart, blurring hierarchical lines between audience and performer.  She is joined by some of her favorite musicians and collaborators in Brooklyn or anywhere.

Francis Jocky

Multitalented singer, songwriter & producer Francis Jocky is something of and artist with universal appeal and blessed with a unique voice impressed by his talent, he was joined by the legendary Stevie Wonder and Bono at appearances in Europe. Mr. Jocky has a wonderful duality as an artist, which probably has its roots in his combined educational and musical experience. He is the recipient of a Ph.D. in International Relations from the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris, France. His music is a mellow blend of whimsically clever pop songwriting, international sounds and flavors, and soulful instrumentation.

Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe Band

(Shelley Nicole, lead vox; Jerome Jordan, guitar; Ganessa James, bass; Jeff Jeudy, guitar; Shawn Banks, percussion, Achuziam Maha, backing vox; KiKi Hawkins, backing vox; Matsu, drums; and Jeffrey Smith, horns)

Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe is the living, breathing embodiment of progressive music. Imagine Nona Hendryx meets Black Sabbath or Janis Joplin meets Grace Jones, it is then that you will begin to feel the blaKbüshe experience. blaKbüshe, reminiscent of the Soul/Pop recording group Labelle, is a blend best described by Shelley Nicole as SolaRoc, an undeniably spine-tingling surge of rock, funk, soul, and beyond. As validated by Labelle member Sarah Dash, “blaKbüshe is not to be overlooked.” The Village Voice calls Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe “an ingenious musical evolution.” Get ready to experience a musical revolution.  Get ready for blaKbüshe!


(Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull)

Flutronix is Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull, a pair of fresh and eclectic flutists who are paving the way from their classical roots to the future of music. Performing the works of notable pioneers of new music along side their own creations, Flutronix displays an innovative combination of flute and mixed media elements. Their original compositions comfortably navigate daring forms of popular, experimental, and contemporary classical music while implementing video, electronics, and digital effects. Flutronix pays tribute to groundbreaking work by exposing audiences to composers who have contributed to new bodies of literature that expand the language of the flute.


(Jesse Nathaniel Reed, David Ciolinio-Volano, Gabriel Luce, Patrick Deeney, and Wayne Tucker)

SoundHouse is the spiritual and musical embodiment of Brooklyn and New York City.  Lead by the charismatic East New York, Brooklyn-native, Jesse Nathanial Reed, SoundHouse's style is inclusive of each individual members' influences of Hip-hop, Rock, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and World music. As a band, SoundHouse writes, arranges, records and performs songs that are both engaging and meaningful; catchy yet substantive.  With a combination of an electric stage performance and powerful songs – SoundHouse is a force rivaled only by the unbridled energy of New York City.


(Kaz Fujimoto, J. Whitney, and Rob Simpson)

Kagero’s sound has been described as a melting pot of tonalities and rhythms from Asia, the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe -- "Cultural Confusion". Sometimes the songs are beautiful imagery, sometimes sad folk tales, and sometimes silly songs about drinking. But the tunes are always fun, and the show is high energy dancing good time. As some have said: "Kagero’s world music goulash is very tasty -- even if you don’t always know what’s you’re eating."

Under the Rasta Influence (U.R.I)

(Donovan Ernest, lead vocals; Russ Mitkowski, drums; Tim Shipman, guitar; Sean Lewis, bass; Mike DeRosa, keyboard; Taylor Cannizzaro, cello / backup vocals; and Whitney Brown, backup vocals)

Anyone in the audience of an Under the Rasta Influence show will tell you that the band’s explosive stage presence and natural ability incinerates stages and leaves fans with tired feet. Frontman Donovan Ernest’s lyrics embody the spirit of Rastafari, while the music showcases skilled songwriting.  Combined with the distinctive style and high-energy performances of the band, U.R.I. creates a one-of-a-kind blend of roots reggae, soul, rock, and hip-hop that is sounds like nothing else on the scene. Starting 2010 strong winning the grand prize at the NY Band Quest, U.R.I. recently returned from The Jamaican Jazz and Blues Festival.


(Louis Schwadron, Lead Vocal; Casio Previa Taylor, Acoustic Guitar; Jahn Hatfield, Drums; Kyle Sanna, Electric guitar, backing vocals; Rob Lundberg, Electric Bass; and Michael Cassedy, Nord Lead synth, Novation synth)

Former member of The Polyphonic Spree and Rufus Wainwright's band, song writer and bandleader SKY WHITE TIGER/LOUIS SCHWADRON has worked with artists including David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Sufjan Stevens, The National, most recently opening US tours for Duncan Sheik and Rufus Wainwright.  Louis has teamed up with producer Bryce Goggin to combine the psychedelic, symphonic, and lyrical to create the sound world of his Debut EP as SKY WHITE TIGER. With white-hot focus, hauntingly hooky melodies, and epic soundscapes, 5-piece brooklyn band SKY WHITE TIGER hopes to leaves the audience in the blurred violet light between fantasy and reality. Louis believes in the power of positive thinking.

neoLIT ensemble

(Amelia Lukas, flute; Erin Svoboda, Clarinet; Masha Lankovsky, Violin; Aminda Asher, Cello; and Katya Mihailova, Piano)

Established in 2008, neoLIT ensemble is a New York-based contemporary music group of classically trained musicians, who promote modern music and discover masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries. NeoLIT celebrates the diversity of contemporary music with a vision unrestrained by convention and presents programs which represent the true diversity of contemporary compositional styles from around the world. NeoLIT is especially devoted to presentation of works by women composers. NeoLIT programs range from chamber music works to those including media and electronics. NeoLIT’s recent performances include venues such as Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, Bargemusic, Bryant Park Festival, Tank and others.