Samba to SalsaArt Form(s):
"The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing and arithmetic...music, dance, painting and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment."
--William Bennett, former US Secretary of Education
Josh Robinson is a native of Woodstock NY. He is a member of Alô Brasil, a popular Philadelphia based Brazilian band, Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, a group that fuses Cuban, Brazilian, African, and Indian drumming traditions, and Rhythms & Roots Latin ensemble, a group that he co-founded back in 2000. He was selected to the Philadelphia Music Project’s Latin orchestra led by famed bandleader Johnny Pacheco. He is a teaching artist with numerous arts organizations including Young Audiences and the NJ & PA State Council on the Arts, where he facilitates residencies, workshops, and professional development programs for people of all ages.
Born in Cuba, composer, arranger, and percussionist Francois Zayas graduated from the ISA (Instituto Superior de Artes) in 1998 and taught at that institution for nearly five years. He was a member of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba for 10 years while collaborating with different projects and bands from diverse backgrounds, such as jazz, hip hop, rock, and other genres. From 1994 to his establishment in the U.S. in 2006, he made several international tours with different groups. Since his arrival in the U.S. he has collaborated with many musicians, choreographers, and educators, sometimes with his own arrangements or original compositions, at other times as an instrumentalist.
Alex Shaw is a percussionist, vocalist, composer, and arts educator specializing in Brazilian music traditions. He holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College (2000). Alex is a member of Philadelphia’s award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and director of the renowned Brazilian ensemble Alô Brasil. A freelance arts educator since 2001, Alex regularly teaches and performs throughout the tri-state region and joined the music faculty at the University of the Arts in 2010. He currently serves as a board member for LiveConnections.org, as well as a lead facilitator for their music education programming.