Americanistan members Wayne and Denise Gilbertson, will join forces with Leigh Anne Starcevich, and Kenneth Helms to create beautiful dance music for MEDGE’s Live Music Night on July 17.
Wayne and Denise Gilbertson, founders of the band Americanistan, have been making music together since 1990. They enjoy bringing live music to belly dance shows and believe every dancer should have the opportunity to dance to live music. Americanistan has several CDs available to download on CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon.
Ken Helms (Violin, Oud) Music has been an important part of Ken’s life since he began learning piano at the age of 7. His studies continued with saxophone and guitar. In high school he discovered world percussion at a music festival in Southern California, and he experimented with making drums. In his early 30s he began studying Egyptian tabla and learned to play the oud. For the past three years he has studied violin with Rachid Halihal and has been performing at the North Carolina and Arizona Renaissance Faires. Ken has also performed frequently with Americanistan over the past two years and previously performed with Ala Nar.
Leigh Ann Starcevich grew up in Alabama singing in her Baptist church choir and performed with folk, rock, reggae, and jazz bands in college. However, the makams and rhythms of Middle Eastern and Turkish music stole her heart. In 1999, she joined the Santa Fe-based Erenler Ensemble which performed music from Turkey, the Balkans, and the Sephardic diaspora. She performed with Ala Nar for 9 years, further expanding her repertoire. Multiple trips to Turkey provided cultural and historic context for her musical education. Leigh Ann has studied with Bob Beer, Brenna MacCrimmon, Carol Silverman, Kathryn Stately, Amel Tafsout, Ahmad Yousefbeigi, Karim Hamdy, Kalin Kirilov, and Lyle Dotson.