BIOS FOR PUERTO RICO BENEFIT
Chic Street Man is a musical ambassador for human rights with an international following. His music transcends cultural and attitudinal barriers, bringing home his message of harmony and ethnic diversity through acoustic bluesy ballads, funky rhythms and jazzy upbeat originals. He has performed at many venues including the Paleo Festival, the Montreux and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, and the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva. He composed the music and starred in the off-Broadway hit show Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe, the Cleveland Playhouse’s world premiere of Touch The Names and the Berkeley Rep’s production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Chic was a contributing performer and musical arranger for the DCTC production of It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues and the McCarter and Berkeley Rep’s production of Zora Neale Hurston’s Polk County. Chic was Professor Slick in Pullman Porter Blues at the Seattle Rep, Arena Stage in DC and the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Slow Drag in Seattle Rep’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Rev. Gary Davis in the Vineyard Playhouse production of Search: Paul Clayton. He has appeared in the films Triple Bogey and Hangin’ With The Home Boys. Chic is also a celebrated communications facilitator. His “Employee Showtime” workshop brings a creative environment to the business community where employees are invited to show their artistic side in a single concert performance or in a series of ongoing concert performances. www.chicstreetman.com
Katy Bourne is a Seattle-based jazz vocalist and writer. Known for her playful approach and her hard-swingin’ band, Katy performs at nightspots and festivals throughout the Northwest. On her blog, Katy writes on a range of topics, from politics and parenting to football and music. She recently published a book “Weirdo Simpatico: Little Stories for Short Attention Spans,” which she describes as “a collection of one-bite narratives that celebrate the quirky nuances of the human experience.” Katy has also released a CD “As the Fates Decide.” In addition to her creative pursuits, Katy is co-organizer for Play Safe Seattle, a campaign to end biased-based crimes against performing artists and to make Seattle nightlife safer for everyone. Originally from Oklahoma, Katy has lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 30 years. She is the mother of two adult children, who inspire, delight and perplex her on a daily basis.
Jean Mann – queen of the tenor guitar, uke and various other happy noise-makers. A personable, jazz-tinged Americana songwriter, Jean performs on acoustic and tenor guitars, ukulele and harmonica to accompany an arresting, texture-laden vocal style. With seven CD’s in her catalogue, Jean has toured nationally since 2000, and made her European debut in 2014. She has garnered fans the likes of Cyndi Lauper and jazz sensation, Jacqui Naylor. Jean gains hordes of happy ears wherever she performs her musical prose; a truly soul-quenching voice in today’s independent music scene. With six original records in her growing catalog, (blue flower Friday Records) Jean headlines house concerts and listening rooms, churches, wineries, festivals, and has performed in such iconic rooms as Yoshi’s in San Francisco, Tractor Tavern in Seattle, and CBGB’s in New York. She has opened for Peter Mulvey, Peter Himmelman and Blame Sally, and shared the stage with Laura Veirs (Rounder Records) and Vicci Martinez (The Voice). contact jean(at)jeanmann(dot)net.
Sharon Nyree Williams is a Storyteller that isn’t afraid of trying new things. She has shared her stories through poetry, film, solo-performance and music and has had the pleasure to perform throughout the United States and in Rwanda. Shewas a proud recipient of the 2014-2015 Jack Straw Cultural Center’s Artist Support Fellowship for her sophomore poetry plus storytelling album The Consciousness of Love. Other projects to her credit are Humanity (album), Circles of Life and Plight: I am my brother’s keeper (solo performances) and From the Heart (short film) to name a few. Sharon is excited about working on her third poetry plus storytelling album SHOOK. She is also the Executive Director for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, serves on the Seattle Arts Commission, Board of Trustee for Cornish College of the Arts, LANGSTON Board of Directors, FEED Worldwide Inc. Advisory Board, Adult Advisory Committee for Creative Justice, member of the Historic Central Area Arts & Cultural District, proud 2009 graduate of the Seattle University Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership program and 2000 & 1997 graduate of the Historically Black College & University, Delaware State University.
Gretchen Yanover is a locally grown Seattle cellist and has been attached to her instrument since she began playing at the age of ten in her public school music program. She was immersed in the world of classical music until her college years when she expanded her range to include playing in bands. Once she was introduced to a loop sampler, Gretchen found a new voice for her instrument. She began to improvise and compose in this context creating her own instrumental atmospheres and melodies. Gretchen has three solo albums and is also a member of Northwest Sinfonietta, the region’s premier chamber orchestra.
Mako is a traditional Okinawan music performer who plays in the NW area, primarily in Seattle. She plays as solo and also leads a group called Munjuru, performing music, dance and storytelling of Okinawa. Mako has been involved in the Seattle based Okinawan music community and has played with the full ensemble for various events small and large. She is a member of a musical troupe based in Honolulu to help perpetuate the tradition of music and art of Okinawa. Okinawan music and arts are closely related to Chinese music and arts; though Japanese has the uniqueness of its own. The main instrument Mako/group plays is called sanshin, a 3 stringed lute. Its body is covered with python skin and looks much like the Chinese version than the Japanese lute. The language sung is an ancient language of Okinawa and is considered to be one of the endangered languages in the world today.
Mark Salman, hailed as a “heroic virtuoso,” has performed in Europe, Asia, Canada and throughout the United States, including Carnegie and Alice Tully Hall in New York, in performances described as “powerful,” “astonishing, exacting, evocative,” “wildly imaginative” and “touchingly lyrical. His performance of Liszt’s transcription of the Beethoven Seventh Symphony was named one of three “Performances of the Year” by Seattle Weekly. His account of his meetings with and playing for Vladimir Horowitz appears in the book, Evenings with Horowitz. Mr. Salman is a co-founder of the Delmarva Piano Festival in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which recently completed its seventeenth season. His performances have included his debut at the Newport Music Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, an eight recital series devoted to the works of Franz Liszt in Seattle, three recitals featuring Schubert’s final three sonatas, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos and Choral Fantasy with Orchestra Seattle, a recital series celebrating Chopin’s 200th birthday, a five recital series commemorating Liszt’s 200th birthday, and numerous concerto appearances throughout the northwest. Mr. Salman has performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas on both coasts and in sixteen KING-FM broadcasts. His recordings include his newest release, Schubert Late Sonatas, two all-Chopin CDs, including Chopin’s Intimate Art: The Mazurkas, Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 488 and K. 503 with the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Transcendental Piano, featuring works by Alkan, Beethoven and Liszt, two DVDs in the series Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas – A Musical Universe as well as American Interweave, featuring contemporary American works for cello and piano. www.marksalman.net.
Dan Wheetman (Actor/Musical Director) is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, playwright and bon vivant. He was an opening act for Steve Martin, worked in John Denver’s band for seven years, and has appeared in productions all over the US as an actor and musician. He’s written several plays with Randal Myler, including “It Ain’t Nuthin’ But The Blues”, “Appalachian Strings”, “Fire On The Mountain”, “Mama Hated Diesels”, and “Lowdown Dirty Blues”. He has garnered several LA Critics’ Circle awards and a Bay Area Critics’ award for Musical Direction and a Tony nomination as a writer for “It Ain’t Nuthin’ But The Blues” at the Lincoln Center in New York. Along with his theater work Dan has recorded several solo albums and plays in a very eclectic band, Marley’s Ghost. Dan’s showmanship and unique sense of humor, combined with an uncommonly powerful and resonant baritone, provide the focal point for the group’s upbeat performances. Dan has recorded on the RCA label and appeared as Hank Williams’ fiddler in the Mark Taper Forum and Old Globe Theatre productions of “Lost Highway.” He has the distinction of having one of his songs recorded by Kermit the Frog. His Sage Arts CDs are “House Of A Different Color” and “Honey Be There”. “Although Dan Wheetman begins House of a Different Color with a neat version of Charlie Poole’s “Goodbye Miss Eliza Jane” that somehow sounds utterly contemporary and yet retains its old-time flavor, the CD is mostly a showcase for his fine, often tradition-oriented songwriting.” – Sing Out, Summer 2003. “I truly hope that all the ears that come in contact with these tunes are pleased and/or moved in some way. Music has a Spirit all its own that we are privileged to witness while it weaves its magic. It owes us nothing.” – Dan Wheetman, 2002
Violist and pianist Annie Chang-Center started performing in her native Taiwan for foreign dignitaries when she was six years old. Since coming to the U.S. at thirteen, Annie has concertized in Europe, Asia and the U.S. as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has performed as a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. As a violist, she has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Olympic, Utah, Prague, Red Rocks, and Music In The Mountains Festivals and has collaborated with members of the Juilliard, Guarneri, Emerson, Cleveland and Philadelphia string quartets. She was the assistant principal violist of the Phoenix Symphony, principal violist of the Phoenix Symphony Sinfonietta and the Arizona Chamber Orchestra for ten years and performed regularly as a viola soloist. Currently, she is a member of the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra, the Black Pearl Orchestra in Philadelphia, PA; violist of the Rainier Piano Quartet and Emerald City Chamber Players in Seattle, WA and was featured in a string quartet for Seattle Opera production “As One” in 2016. An arts administrator, teacher and visual artist, Annie has produced multimedia presentations for live concerts for the American Studio Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra; created promotional videos for Intercultural Journeys; taught classes and served as the marketing director for the Academy Of Music Northwest in Seattle, WA. She is also a writer for the International Rescue Committee.