From the blog

8.23.13 Ruslan Sirota + Artyom Manukyan + Pete Korpela [$10]

8.23.13   Ruslan Sirota + Artyom Manukyan + Pete Korpela [$10]


Ruslan is a Grammy award winning pianist and composer.

Ruslan was born in Uman, Ukraine on November 4, 1980. His father, Yefim, who was an active local guitarist, had introduced him to music at an early age. Picking up guitar around the age of four, Ruslan had transitioned to piano around the age of seven. In 1990, his family moved to Israel, where he continued to study piano at the Bat-Yam music school. At approximately 14, Ruslan discovered jazz, instantly showing imminent interest. By the age of 16, he was the “wunderkind” keyboardist for the then-popular Israeli jazz fusion band, “Confusion”. With Confusion, he toured Israel and made several appearances at the Red Sea Jazz Festival.

At 18, Ruslan auditioned for the Berklee College of Music, where he received full tuition scholarship, and moved to Boston in January 2000. During his studies at Berklee, Ruslan displayed growing interest in R&B, funk and soul music, playing with local artists and eventually becoming the resident keyboardist in a club called “Wally’s Jazz Café”. Circa 2004, Ruslan joined the Stanley Clarke band and moved to Los Angeles, thus marking the beginning of his professional career.
Since then, Ruslan has been touring, performing and recording with major artists (in addition to Clarke), such as Dennis Chambers, Ne-Yo, Marcus Miller, Chick Corea, Seal, Brian McKnight, Eric Benét, Rachelle Ferrell and Diane Warren. Nowadays, although still playing with others, Ruslan is mainly focusing on recording his debut album; its release date is due Fall 2010. Guest appearances include Chick Corea, George Duke and Stanley Clarke, among others.

Ruslan Sirota website

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Like most Armenian musicians, Artyom Manukyan is a full-time musician, in the true sense of the word. Music isn’t just something he does on the side, or in between part-time jobs – it’s his livelihood, his sole source of income, and his lifelong passion. “I think in musical terms,” says the young musician. “I see everything through music.” His latest project is a jazz quartet called Nooz, where he presents the cello, classically used in chamber music, as a modern instrument. I recently went to a Nooz show and was absolutely in awe of the sounds that the talented artist was able to produce from an instrument I always associated with Bach and Brahms.

From baroque to hip hop, Artyom Manukyan’s musical flair seems to have no limits. Somehow, between practices and gigs with three different bands, the multi-talented artist has found time to nurture yet another one of his musical passions, hip hop. He and a friend from Los Angeles are starting a productions company called New People in Yerevan. They have created arrangements for some of Armenia’s biggest hip hop and pop stars, like Hay Tgheq and Inga & Anush. It may seem a bit unusual for a classically trained cellist to branch into hip hop, but hip hop has been a driving force in Manukyan’s life for as far back as he can remember. Now that he is actually creating and working in the field, it’s like his childhood dreams are coming true. “Hip hop is my second life,” he says with a smile.

At 25, Manukyan still has a long career ahead of him, and considering he started playing cello almost by chance, who knows what exciting twists and turns the future will bring. Cello is one of those instruments that sort of got left behind with the classical era. With the rise of jazz and rock, it just didn’t make the cool list. There’s no shortage of drummers and guitarists out there, but when was the last time someone told you they played the cello? Manukyan, who started playing when he was nine, is something of an advocate for the versatility and modern relevance of the antiquated instrument, but his love affair with music and with the cello had a not so glamorous start.

Artyom Manukyan website

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Pete Korpela

Pete Korpela is an accomplished musician in orchestral, latin, jazz, world, rock, and pop music. He has worked with Alphonso Johnson, Jimmy Haslip, Luis Conte, Seth MacFarlane, Ron Jones, and Randy Brecker. Pete has also collaborated with Lenny Castro, Dave Carpenter, Virgil Donati, and Don Randi. He has appeared internationally in Canada, Japan, China, Europe, Scandinavia and the Philippines.

Pete toured for over three years throughout the United States with 1stNational Tour of the Tony award winning Walt Disney’s The Lion Kingboth as a marimbist and featured on-stage percussionist. While traveling he organized and performed clinics for Pearl Percussion at many prestigious universities, art and cultural events and at the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) convention in Louisville, K.Y. In addition he was showcased at many Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS benefits, an industry fundraising initiative to assist those living with HIV/AIDS.

Pete’s work can be heard on an award winning “Assassin’s Creed 2”soundtrack, which has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
In June 2010 Pete performed with Cirque du Soleil as a musical director and lead drummer in a nationally televised project presenting the new“Xbox 360 Kinect” gaming console

Two instruments designed by Pete are presently in worldwide distribution:  The “Drummie” award winning “Jingle Cajon“ by Pearl drums and the critically acclaimed  “Shaker Pandeiro” by Cooperman.

Born and raised in Finland, Pete has studied orchestral and hand percussion extensively at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki and in1997-98 at the Los Angeles Music Academy.  Privately he has studied studio and orchestral percussion with Don Williams, Emil Richards, Joe Porcaro and Michael Fisher.  His ethnic percussion teachers includeLenny Castro, Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard, Michito Sanchez, Glen Velez, Jerry Steinholtz and John Bergamo.

Pete Korpela website

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