Alex de Grassi

Born in Yokosuka, Japan, but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alex De Grassi was exposed from his earliest years to a variety of musical influences. De Grassi recorded his first album Turning: Turning Back in 1978 for Will Ackerman's start-up Windham Hill label (Acoustic Guitar magazine recently cited this album among the top ten essential fingerstyle recordings). The overwhelmingly positive response to the album and the follow-up, Slow Circle, launched him on a career as one of the most innovative fingerstyle guitarists and composers of guitar music. One of de Grassi's trademarks is his ability to create a highly orchestrated sound in his solo guitar music. His playing weaves together melody, counter-melody, bass, harmony, rhythm, and cross-rhythms in such a way as to give the feel of various instruments playing together. Using a broad palette of techniques and timbre, and driven by a unique sense of composition, his intricate guitar pieces take the listener beyond the instrument into a complex tapestry of sound.

Alex has toured extensively on the concert circuit, performing in Europe, Japan, and throughout North America, including such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Belfast International Festival. He has also traveled to Bolivia (inspiring the title track for his RCA/Novus recording Altiplano) studying and gathering Andean music and helping bring about the Arawi recording of the Contemporary Orchestra of Native Instruments for New Albion Records.

Michael Manring

On a typical week, bassist, Michael Manring, may be found doing anything from an international tour with New Age keyboardist, Suzanne Ciani to an avant-improv-core club gig with guitar innovator Henry Kaiser to a folk festival with celebrated troubadour John Gorka to a recording with the experimental post-metal trio, Attention Deficit with Tim Alexander (Primus) and Alex Skolnick (Testament). “It’s all music,” Manring shrugs when asked how he manages to balance so many different styles and genres, “I find the similarities to be more compelling than the differences and ultimately, I just love to play the bass.” The obvious pleasure the Michael takes in music captivates audiences and critics alike. As write Tom Darter put it in Keyboard magazine after seeing one of Michael’s renowned solo bass concerts, “Forget his astonishing technique and musicality; forget his absolute command of his instruments; forget how seamlessly the musical ideas and performance of them were wedded together…The enlightenment came most from feeling (seeing, hearing) the joy Michael felt to be playing…his brand of transcendental chops and musical understanding…was all in service of the final outcome, the joy of making music.”

Building on the conceptions of his teacher, the late bass legend, Jaco Pastorius, Michael has developed an entirely new approach to the instrument that includes unorthodox tunings, techniques and methodologies. He has honed his skills on over a hundred recordings as a session musician and thousands of concerts throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. One of his most rewarding and intimate musical collaborations was with the acoustic guitar genius, Michael Hedges, who instantly enlisted Manring’s musical partnership when he first heard him play one of his imaginative solo bass compositions while Manring was still a teenager. Hedges’ tragic death in 1997 ended a truly extraordinary musical alliance—and a very deep friendship. Through Hedges, Manring was introduced to Windham Hill records, where he was quickly signed as house bassist and solo artist. His four solo albums with the Windham Hill/BMG group (Unusual Weather, Toward the Center of the Night and Drastic Measures on Windham Hill; Thonk and High Street) have earned him an international reputation as “a master of the fretless bass without rival.” (Guitar Club Magazine, Italy). He has also garnered two gold records, Grammy and Bammie nominations, a Berklee School of Music distinguished Alumni Award and numerous Bass Player Magazine Reader’s Poll awards including 1994 Bassist of the Year.

Michael’s newest CD, The Book of Flame, is the best example yet of his extraordinary creativity. While records by bass players tend to have a reputation for being musical fare strictly for the hardcore bass fan, Michael’s solo albums have consistently amazed listeners with their compositional depth and accessibility. He draws an astonishing variety of sounds out of the instrument, leading one writer to comment, “Michael Manring can do more with the bass than even the most creative individual could imagine” (L. Pierce Carson, Napa Valley Register). On The Book of Flame, the music ranges from crazed electro-acoustic constructions to intricate ensemble compositions to a gentle solo eulogy for Hedges. By seamlessly blending virtuosity, exotic tonalities and rhythms, bizarre instruments (and even stranger ways of playing them!), shades of electronica, industrial, post-bop, noise-core, ambient and 20th century music with refined compositional approach and a healthy sense of humor, he creates a tapestry that is rich with possibility and meaning.

Fortunately, Michael shows no signs of letting up. Currently, he maintains a hectic schedule of recording, sessions, clinics and concerts as a soloist, sideman and with the Seattle underground punk-jazz trio Sadhappy. He is also the subject of a recent PBS documentary, “The Artist’s Profile: Michael Manring.” We hope you’ll follow the advice of France’s Musician magazine: “Do not miss your next opportunity to discover the bassist with the most fresh and inventive playing today.”

William Coulter

William Coulter's love of traditional melody is framed by a classical sense of composition and realized with an impeccable and sensitive guitar technique. Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1959, William's first musical influence was his father, a classical singer who founded the professional choral group "The Pro Arte Chorale". At age 18, William heard the great Andres Segovia perform in concert. It was then that William traded the electric guitar for a classical guitar. After high school he traveled and played in a variety of bands. In 1980 He settled in Santa Cruz, California, where he returned to school to study classical guitar. William has appeared on compilations produced on the Narada label, Windham Hill and Hearts of Space. Four of these recordings have appeared on Billboard magazine's top-ten lists. In 1998 William produced Celtic Requiem for Windham Hill Records, which features vocalist Mary McLaughlin. As well as performing and recording, William works as a producer and recording engineer, and teaches guitar at the University of California, Santa Cruz. During the summer he teaches at a number of music camps including the National Guitar Summer Workshop, Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.

Antonio Calogero

Originally from Messina, Italy, Antonio moved to Rome where he received his degree in classical guitar from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music. He then began performing in music halls and at festivals in western Europe. His first recording, Caleidoscopio, was released on the Italian DDD label in 1991. His second recording, La Rosa del Deserto, was released on the prestigious German label, Acoustic Music Records, in 1996. It features guest appearances by German guitar virtuoso Peter Finger, and American mandolin extraordinaire Mike Marshall. Antonio began performing in the US since 1994, and he eventually relocated to San Francisco, California. Since then, he has been winning recognition, praise, and a loyal following for his music as a regularly featured guitarist on the International Guitar Night tour, sharing the stage with guitar luminaries such as Ralph Towner, Gerardo Nuñez, Paulo Bellinati, and Alex de Grassi at venues including the Omni Foundation, the California World Music Festival, and Cal State at Northridge.

John Keawe

John is a songwriter and slack-key guitarist who was born on the big Island of Hawaii, in the little town of north Kohala. John grew up with rock and roll music and enjoyed listening to singer/songwriters. After a four year tour in the Navy, John returned to his home and was drawn to the sound of Hawaiian slack-key. He listened and watched and taught himself to play this style of music. Through the years, he has developed his own distinct style. About the same time, John began to perform publicly and started composing his own songs. Two of his early compositions "Ka'auhuhu Homestead" and "Big Island Magic" were chosen for album cuts on projects that involved various artists. Through the years, John has released eight recordings.

Chris Yeaton

Hawaii born, Chris Yeaton, draws from a lineage of great Hawaiian slack key tradition. His musical inspiration and journey begins with one of Hawaii's most celebrated musicians, master Slack Key guitarist Keola Beamer, and would continue with Big Island Slack Key master John Keawe. Yeaton credits his good friend and guitar guru Gordon Rowland for providing his first opportunity to perform on stage in front of a live audience. Since then he has become more and more interested in performing and sharing his music as well as sharing the venues with other musicians like him through Woodsong Acoustics. Along with traditional slack key pieces he now incorporates a blend of contemporary Fingerstyle into his playing, drawing from other renowned artists such as, William Ackerman, Alex de Grassi, and Peppino D’Agostino. Yeaton’s is a unique style of beautiful and progressive Slack Key. His 2nd album “Ho’o Pa’a, The Stand” was released in January of 2006. In February of 2005 he completed his first national tour with guitar masters Keola Beamer and John Keawe. Chris has a Pool & Catchment tank cleaning business in Kailua Kona Hawaii. Poolbrite

“There's assurance and invention in his strumming; he's learned well and carries the tradition with dignity. Yeaton's got a Hawaiian soul and is one to watch. In time, he should be right up there with his mentors." ~Wayne Harada Honolulu Advertiser"

Adam Werner is a solo acoustic guitarist with an interest in unconventional techniques, styles and applications to fingerstyle guitar playing. He has an impressive musical background of experience and education. Adam continues to move forward and grow as an accomplished musician and artist. Indigenous to California, Adam grew up with rock guitar legends, such as: Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, among many others. Adam started his first rock band, IMAGINE, in the early 1990's and gained much respect as an innovative and progressive musician who incorporated odd meters, unorthodox key changes and intricate instrumentation with compositions that pushed the boundaries of rock music. He soon found the desire to explore the acoustic guitar when introduced to Windham Hill and its artists, such as: William Ackerman and Michael Hedges. Soon after, Adam decided this was the direction he was destined to go.

Adam Werner’s debut label release, "Signatures," a 2008 Grammy Awards contender for Best New Age album, has become a new addition to solo acoustic guitar. This album is a culmination of emotionally intense compositions with technically exceptional playing and profound musical energy. Merging the traditions of finger-style techniques with provocative percussive elements adds extra flavor to this music. A touch of electric bass, masterfully created by Kentaro Otsuka, is featured on this album. 

Brenda Lippincott, born/raised in Honolulu, Hawaii briefly studied classical and other popular mediums of guitar playing. After a twenty year period of dust collection her guitar reemerged from the depths of her closet. In 2001 she studied slack key with Chris Yeaton.  Yeaton, a slack key student himself, inspired Brenda to further her studies of ki ho alu (slack key) as well as American Fingerstyle guitar. She has begun to compose her own music and has studied with Keola Beamer, Alex de Grassi, William Coulter, and Brian Gore of the “International Guitar Night”. She became part of the Woodsong acoustics group in 2003 and has a rich talent for arranging a second guitars voice to an otherwise solo composition. Those arrangements will be heard tonight as she helps to transport you into the beautiful world of ki ho alu and Fingerstyle guitar.

Gordon Rowland

Undergraduate music studies at The University of Idaho in 1970 continuing at Boise State University and concluding in 1974. Continuing studies with Michael Lorrimer at U.C. Berkley, and with Christopher Parkening. Studied Flamenco in Madrid Spain with Louis Maravilla. My teaching experience includes Band and Choir director for the Meadows Valley High School in New Meadows Idaho. I was a member of the faculty staff of the College of Idaho in Caldwell Idaho, and Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario Oregon. I have taught workshops throughout the Northwest including the University of Idaho in Moscow Idaho and Oregon State University in Eugene Oregon. I have written a method book for beginners and a philosophy of music theory as applied to the guitar.

Michael Tanenbaum

Michael Tanenbaum is a composer whose background spans the areas of writing music for modern dance and film. Using his experience of 20 years at the piano to explore the solo possibilities of the acoustic guitar, Michael experiments extensively with alternate tunings and uses a "Fingerstyle" technique. Preferring to write original music and develop a personal style, his musical intuition has resulted in an unclassifiable musical style that borrows from jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, and Hawaiian slack-key music. He now collaborates with surf film makers for the soundtracks to their movies.

Greg Herbst

His interest in the guitar was sparked as a child watching various Hawaiian musicians, but he also draws inspiration from such artist as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, & Ritchie Havens. Over the last five years, his interest for the guitar has intensified as he settles into his own style of playing that some have dubbed “a meditative state for the solo guitar.” Herbst is a regular attendee and student of Keola Beamers “Aloha Music Camp” and has performed at the Na’alehu and Aloha Theatres.


aka Jozuf Hadley is a third generation Kama’aina from Kaua’i. He is a poet, storyteller, artist, teacher and philosopher. He has worked within the medium of Pidgin for over three decades. Hawai’i Pidgin English is the unique grassroots soul talk of a multicultural Hawai’i and is traditionally an oral language where the passing of knowledge occurred by word of mouth. In the late sixties, Bradajo developed the first written form—a phonetic cursive or calligraphy, he renders by hand. As a means to further express. his simple and profound poetry, Bradajo uses this calligraphy as accompaniment to the spoken word, making it an oral/aural experience for the participant. Using this amalgamation of senses he tell his stories which range from tales of local Hawaiian heroes, to reflections of a childhood in the jungles of Kaua’i in the 1940’s, to deeper, quieter reflections on nature, life and creation. Bradajo’s unique style is self described as “Haiku Pidgin Poetry” so as to highlight the sense of quiet that permeates his work.

Dylan Schorer

Dylan is one of the up-and-coming guitarists in the instrumental Fingerstyle guitar genre. His rootsy original compositions and intricate arrangements of traditional Celtic material in rich alternate guitar tunings have been mesmerizing audiences and wowing guitarists for years. Using a richly melodic and percussive guitar style, he is carving a unique voice in the Fingerstyle guitar world. He has contributed to numerous songbooks by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Alison Krauss, Barenberg/Douglas/Meyer, and many more. His transcriptions of music by Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny and more have appeared in Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Player, Fingerstyle Guitar, and Flatpicking Guitar magazines. He is an in-demand teacher, writer, and clinician and has authored and contributed to numerous instructional guitar books and articles and teaches workshops regularly across the west. In addition, he was a featured artist in Mel Bay’s Fingerpicking 2000 compilation book.

Andy Rising

in the sixth grade was introduced to the cello. He practiced with a commitment to excellence, and soon proved his God given talent by winning various competitions. Over the years Andy was privileged to study with a few very talented instructors. He has performed with a number of orchestras, chamber groups and ensembles. He is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, with a degree in Performing Arts. His original compositions display his fine training as well as improvisational skills, and his deep sense of spirituality. Andy is also an accomplished harpist, performing on the 10 and 23 stringed harp.

Born in Germany in 1970, Teja Gerken began his journey on the guitar at the age of six and became a serious student of the instrument after his family moved to California in the mid '80s. By the time he graduated from college with a B.A. in Art & Society, he had experimented with a wide variety of musical styles, and it became clear that his own instrumental voice was found in playing the acoustic variety of the instrument. Today, Teja Gerken is no stranger to those familiar with contemporary steel-string Fingerstyle guitar. Weaving together influences of folk, jazz, classical, and world music into a style that is uniquely his own, Gerken's playing reflects his diverse musical interests. While many of his composition employ alternate tunings, two-handed tapping, percussive effects, and other extended guitar techniques, others simply rely on his keen sense of melody and movement. Within this framework, Gerken has created a repertoire that appeals to fellow guitarists as well as to listening audiences, and while original material is his main focus, he can also be found playing Irish traditionals, jazz standards, or improvising on themes by classical composers.

Simon Russell

It was on one stormy night that Simon experienced the blues live for the first time in the deep ghetto of Oakland. At the door was an elderly woman named "Mamma" that taught grade school during the day and bounced bar at night. Simon was only 11 years old, but Mamma took a liking to him and let him in. Inside the club Simon and his father worked their way to the back of the club in fear of being caught by the owner. The Band was on fire and the place was packed. It didn't take long for Simon to notice that many types of people from all different backgrounds were dancing together in harmony. “I remember not being able to sit still" said Simon . There was a love in the room that I couldn't explain. It seemed to work its way from the inside out". I just wanted to get up on stage and grab the mike". So Simon's father asked the bandleader if Simon could sit in! They asked "What's he know?" And Simon said, "I'll just make something up." Before he knew it he was up on stage singing his tail off. The crowd loved it and Simon had found his true home away from home. " At that point I was hooked." Simon Russell: Vocalist, Pianist, Composer and Producer. Has been playing music ever since that night, in venues all over the Bay Area, in hundreds of bands, as well as all over the world. He is now working on his third CD release "Emotional". Which he hopes will hit the stores in mid-2002. This CD will be a collection of Soul,Funk,Folk, and Jazz.

Todd Pickering

Mark Marabeti