CyberTrad is an experimental performance project that combines traditional and original Irish and Breton music with rhythmic elements of funk and Hip Hop. The group is currently performing with a lineup that features bandleader and composer Matthew Olwell on flute, vocals, and percussion, bass player Ralph Gordon, Vocal Percussionist/Beat Boxer Chuck Maddox (Chuck The MADD OX), and special guest-dancer Emily Oleson. The 2016 debut of CyberTrad featured Olwell, Shodekeh Talifero, Aimee Curl, Simon Lepage, Jaige Trudel, and Joey Abarta, and was recorded and produced by Joseph Dejarnette. A unique combination of traditional music, original compositions, and new arrangements give CyberTrad a sound that is both familiar and intriguing.
I feel truly lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a high calibre of artists on this project. Here's a bit about us...
Matthew Olwell (wooden and bamboo transverse flutes, vocals, bodhrán, cornamuse) has been performing and teaching as a musician and dancer at festivals and theaters across North America and Europe since 1996. The son of renowned flute-maker Patrick Olwell, Matthew began his professional career touring for nine years with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, with whom he appeared in Riverdance. As well as performing, he teaches Irish flute, pennywhistle, bodhrán and percussive dance, and composes original music and dance, as well as arranging traditional material. In particular, his interests lie at the intersections of traditions that emphasize the communal and social context of dance and music-making as expressions of culture and identity. Currently a Junior at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, Matthew is pursuing an interdisciplinary studies degree in Multimedia Performance Studies, with a focus on both the practice and history of traditional music, dance, and theater. Matthew has taught and performed at numerous camps and festivals, including The Swannanoa Gathering, the Augusta Heritage Center, and The John C. Campbell Folk School.
Aimee Curl (vocals, acoustic bass) grew up playing music and singing in church and with her family, and spent ten years playing bass and touring with the band ThaMuseMeant before studying at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. Her distinctive vocal style is rooted in both traditional singing and popular music, and is as haunting as it is compelling. Aimee now lives in Virginia and tours regularly with the band Furnace Mountain both in the U.S. and abroad, and has recorded with many beloved artists across a range of genres, including Chance McCoy, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Baby Dee, Sxip Shirey and Adam Matta, Danny Knicely, Nate Leath, and Bert Carlson.
Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero (Beatbox, Vocal Percussion) is a groundbreaking Beatboxer & Vocal Percussionist who pushes the boundaries of the human voice. He serves as Faculty, Musical Accompanist & Composer for Towson University’s Department of Dance & is the Founding Director of Embody, A Festival of The Vocal Arts. Beatboxing as a form of Vocal Percussion stems from Hip Hop Culture. Imitating & often replacing a drum set, through a series of vocal effects or percussive sounds produced by the larynx, nasal & oral cavities, Beatboxing exemplifies the Hip hop Philosophy of creating meaningful artistic expressions with limited resources; it replaces the source of the timeless Break Beat with the Human Voice. Beatboxing has become a ubiquitous feature of the American experience & cultural soundscape. In recent years, Shodekeh has moved from Beatboxing’s Hip Hop roots to explore innovative collaborations with a wide range of traditional artists, including Tuvan Throat Singing, Lithuanian Folk Music, Experimental, Funk, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Ballet & various forms & techniques of Modern Dance. He is constantly striving to rhythmically channel the vast spectrum of sounds around him, not just through Music, but also via the channels of Science, Culture, History, Mathematics & Ethnomusicology.
Composer and arranger Simon Lepage brings to the group his rich musical training. An accomplished bass player, he holds a Bachelor of Jazz and Popular Music Interpretation from the University of Montreal and has over 30 years of stage and studio experience. He has performed many festivals in the U.S. and Canada, including Francofolies Larochelle and Montreal, Montreal International Jazz Festival, and Womad Seattle.
Jaige Trudel (cello) grew up in rural Vermont amidst a musical family; much of her childhood was devoted to developing her musical interests through classical violin and cello studies, and she became hooked on Irish fiddling in her early teens. She has been a full-time professional musician since 2001, performing at festivals, concert venues and dance halls, as well as giving workshops throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. She is a cofounder of the band Crowfoot, with whom she toured for many years, and has more recently maintained a busy touring schedule with her group Maivish. In addition to performing, Jaige regularly composes music inspired by the traditional influences of her Canadian/Irish/American heritage. She is an AmSAT certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, teaching privately and in group settings at dance and music camps. Jaige resides with her husband and musical partner, Adam Broome, in Stanstead, Québec.
Joey Abarta (uilleann pipes) has spent the last fifteen years touring North America, Europe, and Asia, teaching and performing music. A Los Angeles native, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club. Joey's musical skills have been further honed by several visits to Ireland, a year-long stint working in Japan, and continuing relationships with master pipers. In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an All-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. In the fall of 2014 Joey won first prize at the An tOireachtas, one of the biggest competitions for traditional music in the world. In 2015 Joey was honored to be a recipient of a traditional arts apprenticeship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was awarded a grant to teach his art to the next generation. Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he performs with Nathan Gourley of “Life is all Checkered” fame and had toured with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.