Biographies

ANDRE MALLINGER

 

Andre's musical journey began as a young child with classical piano and orchestral percussion.  A 6-year career in high school marching band saw Andre stomping over football fields throughout Virginia.  Her early musical endeavors included state and regional orchestras and concert bands, a Scottish highlands bagpipe band, a ragtime marimba band and orchestral percussion ensembles.  As a student of anthropology in the early 1990s, Andre stumbled upon the budding community of Zimbabwean music in Boulder, Colorado, and off she went in an entirely new percussion direction!  Over the past 20 years Andre has performed in many Zimbabwean-style marimba bands, including Tobatana Marimba, the Low Flying Knobs, Kutandara, Chiwoniso, Ukama and Zebra Marimba.  For six years she was on the faculty of Naropa University's music department and she is a regular instructor of music enrichment classes at Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute. In 2010 she was the Musician-in-Residence at the Gilpin County Library, and for the past six years she has been the primary accompanist of the Peak to Peak Chorale.  Andre teaches piano and percussion in her home studio in Rollinsville, CO, helping students of all ages develop a love of music and a passion for the creative life!

JOHN LEVENTHAL

 

John has been a musician all of his life, starting with piano lessons at the age of 5. By the 6th grade he was ready to play the part of Mozart in his school play.  He was an all-state cellist in high school and entertained many a client with his guitar playing and singing over his 15 year career as a river guide.  With Mary McHenry, John co-founded and directed the NedTones, a vocal acapella group, for eight years.  John was the music director at the Denver Victorian Theatre, in charge of vocal rehearsals and performing the music live for such hits as "Nunsense," "Little Shop of Horrors," and others.  In addition, he was also the music director for many high school and community theatre productions in Colorado including "L'il Abner," "Bye Bye Birdie," "The Music Man," and "Grease," and taught K-12 music at the American International School of Lisbon, Portugal. Everything changed when he met Andre' and he began playing the marimba and studying African music.  Making the leap from a life immersed in the Western art tradition to the polyrhythms of African music invigorated him and made him feel like a new musician.  He joined his first marimba band, Tobatana Marimba, in 2005 and, along with Andre', started Nokuthula in 2010.  There's no going back - it's all about the BEAT!

MARY McHENRY

 

Mary comes from a long line of powerful women singers. Her grandmothers were both church vocalists, her mother was a big band singer and her aunt performed on Broadway. With the voices of her matrilineal lineage channeled through her singing, Mary has been gathering songs from around the world for over 25 years, studying the music and dance of Africa, Cuba and Haiti and then returning to her own Celtic and American roots.  Her numerous teachers include Dzidodgbe (Beatrice) Lawluvi, Kobla Ladzekpo, Gideon Alorwoyie, Godwin Agbele, Obo Addy, David Locke, John and Mona Amira, and Kai Takei.  She has been a founding member of several world music ensembles including The Sirens of Song, Bakongo Drum and Dance Troupe, and the NedTones, an a cappella vocal jazz group. Mary is often asked to sing at ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, baby blessings and rites of passage, and she regularly holds Community Singing Circles to share her wealth of music. Her CD, Songs from the Circle, arose from these gatherings.  As a teacher, performer and guide, Mary is deeply interested in and committed to exploring the voice as one of the most complex, raw and beautiful of instruments.

KARNA KNAPP

 

Karna has been surrounded by music from a very young age.  Her father was a Music Professor who brought autoharps and recorders home for the children to experiment with and her mother led the family in song-fests while on road trips. Karna started piano and violin lessons in grade school, accompanied and sang in school choirs, and played in several orchestras.  Music lessons and choir practice turned into dance and gymnastics lessons, though singing the descant and playing an occasional Bach Invention would creep out every so often.  Karna holds an M.F.A. in Dance and was a company member with Oregon Dance and No Name Dance Company. She taught dance, aerobics and gymnastics in Singapore and spent 10 years dancing, teaching and performing Argentine Tango. Several years ago, Karna decided to learn to play the electric bass. One of her teachers asked her to understudy for a jazz ensemble of Andre's, and the rest is history.  She has had to learn how to count all over again and is loving every minute of it!

BARBARA KULTON

 

Barbara was drawn to the Zimbabwean-style marimba in the early 1990s while studying African hand drumming.  She performed with the Low Flying Knobs for 16 years, playing lead marimba, hosho and mbira, contributing her joyous dancing energy and intuitive understanding of the deep polyrhythmic nature of this music.  Barbara traveled to Zimbabwe in 1999, where she was able to experience the music as it exists in the daily lives of the rural Shona people.  This experience gave her a deeper and richer understanding of the music, and continues to inform her playing and study of this incredibly spiritual tradition.  Barbara is currently focused on the mbira and plays in Zimbira, a Boulder mbira ensemble.  She is forever grateful to her teachers Sekuru Cosmas Magaya, Ambuya Beauler Dyoko, Musekiwa Chingodza, Chris Berry, Zivanai Masango and many others.  She is also grateful to the generosity and graciousness of the Zimbabwean people in sharing their music with the Western world and she believes strongly in the importance of not merely passing on their music to others, but in giving back financially, as the Zimbabwean people continue to struggle for mere subsistence living.

SCOTT PARKER MAST

 

Scott has been teaching and performing rhythms of Zimbabwe and Cuba for 20 years.  His studies have taken him to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Zimbabwe, and Ghana, where he has immersed himself in the musical culture of his teachers, often for months at a time.  He has also studied throughout the U.S. with some of the best American teachers of world percussion.  Scott currently plays with several local bands including Nokuthula, Intuit, Soul Sacrifice Santana Tribute, and Chicha.  This past year he was honored to perform with Los Lobos, alongside one of the hottest Latin rhythm sections in modern music!  Over the years, he has taught drumming at Naropa University, New Vista High School, and many public schools throughout Colorado.  He currently teaches at the Kutandara Center in Boulder.