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MP3 VooDoo Katz - WORLD: Island

A spicy brew of worldly flavors with influences from Africa to the Caribbean, this funky, culture blending ensemble will keep you dancin'' with spine wigglin'' grooves, exotic melodies and an atmosphere of infectious participation.

10 MP3 Songs
WORLD: Island, WORLD: African

"A spicy brew of worldly flavors with influences from Africa to the Caribbean, this funky culture blending ensemble will keep you dancin'' with spine wigglin'' grooves, exotic melodies and an atmosphere of infectious participation."

The Voodoo Katz were formed in July of 2000. After collaborationg on a performance of traditional African drumming, percussionists Mark Davis and Ammed Solomon were inspired to form a band with a focus on ethnic influences. They brought in guitarist Andy Park and bassist Kai Haynes to further the collaboration. In order to round out the sound they needed a soloist which they found in a young saxophonist named Jason Gay. In the fall of 2000 after a stint in Portland, Oregon, bassman Deron Sodaro returned to Charleston after hearing the Katz and decided he wanted to be a part of this group. The Katz became a 6 man group as Sodaro contributed his talents and energy singing back up, playing percussion, alternating on bass with Kai and not to mention being the sound tech. After a year and a half, Jason Gay moved to Richmond, VA to study music, but the Katz were fortunate to find another young talent in Derick Kirk who in addition to playing sax, contributed to the vocals and added some amazing piano playing.

Still paying their dues in the music business, the Voodoo Katz are spreading their energetic sound playing clubs, festivals, concerts & private gigs. With the release of their new self titled cd, the Voodoo Katz are hoping to reach a wider audience with radio airplay, festivals and more high profile venues. Although the Voodoo Katz are still relatively young, the collective experience is that of a well seasoned group.

The Voodoo Katz are:

Mark Davis: Lead vocals and Percussion

Mark Davis is a native West Virginian and a 1997 graduate of WVU where he majored in voice and was a member of the highly acclaimed WVU African Drum and Dance Ensemble. He has studied at the African International Center of Music and Dance, University of Ghana in West Africa. Davis received his level 2 certfication in ORFF music from the University of Kentucky .He has been featured at numerous state and regional conferences, most notably the 1998 ORFF Association and the 1999 and 2000 West Virginia Fall Curriculum Conferences. He shares his talent and gift for teaching as a music specialist at Elk https://www.tradebit.comter in Kanawha County.

Mark''s diverse musical experiences run the gamut, from symphonic choirs and small jazz groups to world class percussion ensembles and eclectic rock bands. As the drummer for Charleston alt-rock group Crazy Jane, he spent 8 years touring the east coast, producing 3 cd''s, and making two appearances on PRI''s live performance broadcast, Mountain Stage. Along with the Voodoo Katz, Davis works with the Elkins, WV based band the Montaneros and Comparsa.

Ammed Solomon: Drums and Percussion

Originially from the greater Cincinnati area, Ammed has made music his livelihood since 1973. Always a lover of music from an early age, it wasn''t until age 16, after getting his first drum set, he discovered the real power and joy of music sending him on an unpredictable journey. Shortly after graduating high school Solomon began his professional career, where he spent six years in the club and hotel circuit developing the skill of playing and learning about the business of music. In 1977, Solomon moved to Hurricane, WV and put down some roots.

He spent the next fifteen years working with some of WV''s most well known groups such as the Putnam County Pickers and Stark Raven among the more popular. These years provided the opportunities for touring nationally, playing clubs, festivals and opening for major acts. Solomon has gained valuable experience as a free lance percussionist working on a wide variety of music, composing, arranging and recording on over 40 projects to date. Today you can hear Ammed''s talents worldwide on PRI''s highly acclaimed show, Mountain Stage, now in it''s 20th season and televised on PBS stations nationally. As a member of the house band since 1984, Solomon has had the fortune of drumming for a veritable who''s who in the music business such as
Shawn Colvin, Sarah McClachlan, Warren Zevon, Daniel Lanois and Dr. John to name a few. In addition to playing he also shares his knowledge teaching, with a unique workshop designed to develop rhythm. For over 10 years Ammed has presented these workshops for schools, art councils and artists in residence programs.

When he''s not holding down the groove ith the Voodoo Katz, Solomon also can be heard drumming with the Soul Doctors (formerly of Big Planet Soul) as well as backing up solo projects with his bandmates on Mountain Stage
(Julie Adams, Ron Sowell, Steve Hill, Michael Lipton, Larry Groce and Bob Thompson)

Andy Park: Guitars and Vocals

Born in Pt. Pleasant West Virginia, (home of "mothman") Park began playing guitar at age 15. At 16 he experienced Muddy Waters live and was totally hooked. Mostly self taught, he honed his skills working in cover bands and continued to work at his craft. He attended the Guitar Summer Workshop where he studied under Matt Smith. A self proclaimed minimalist, Park enjoys bringing an ambient and atmospheric texture to the music as inspired by the likes of Daniel Lanois. He is equally influenced by ethnic rockers Santana,
Peter Gabriel and reggae master Bob Marley.

Park was a creative force behind the popular Charleston, WV based band Crazy Jane for 8 years. Commanding alot of attention at their peak, this high energy, original alt-rock band toured the east coast performing in venues like
CBGB''s in New York City. They put out 3 cd''s and appeared twice on Public Radio International''s Mountain Stage.

When it comes to guitar, Andy can deliver the sensitive atmospheric or the ear numbing crunch whenever it''s called for. Outside of colaborating with the Katz, Andy can be found performing some of his original compositions in his solo show where he uses keyboard and guitar.

Kai Haynes: Bass and Vocals

A Charleston Native, Kai is a veteran player with 30 years experience. Learning all about the business and his instrument, Haynes spent much of his time on the road. In 1966 he toured for 5 years with the R&B group King Sound Interpreters warming up national acts like the Temptations, Otis Reading, Chuck Jackson, and Herman''s Hermits. Kai recorded one record with the group. He played a brief stint with with the legendary organist Bill Doggett of "Honkey Tonk" fame.

He also had the opportunity of playing with such artists as Spyro Gyra''s vibe player, Dave Samuals, Jerry Niewood (saxophonist with Paul Simon), and drummer Alan Dawson from Dave Brubek. In the 70''s Haynes began working with Jazz Pianist Bob Thompson who he played with off and on for 15 years and recorded one record. "Morningstar" as the Bob Thompson Trio. They were both in a fusion group called "Joi", which produced one record and national tour. Kai has formed several local groups and hosted a long running jam session in town with a group Silver Penny. Several notable performers like Taj Mahal would find their way into the club after many Mountain Stage shows to sit in with the band.

With a jazz and blues background, Haynes draws on these influences to compose and arrange his original work.

Deron Sodaro: Vocals, percussion and bass

At a young age, after several years of piano lessons, this West Virginia native turned his attention to playing the bass at 16 and never looked back. After high school he became more serious about his music. Influenced by such greats as Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley, Deron''s eclectic taste for music continued to grow.

He and longtime friend Jay Lukens played together and eventually formed the group Mother Nang in 1989. This high energy alt-rock band developed quite a following and toured with several visits to NYC''s CBGB''s. Beyond Mother Nang Sodaro sharpened his chops playing with local groups like Well Done Sheldon (Huntington), Charleston Funksters Telefunk, pop group Standish Drive, along with underground laboratory rock band the Mad Scientist Club. It was with the MDC that Deron spent alot of time in the studio experimenting and learning the art of recording. With a hunger to play all styles of music, Deron hooked up with jazz guitarist Steve Himes for a couple of years. He recorded one project, Running Ahead of Time as the Steve Himes Connection.

By day Deron runs the family electronic store, but by night his passion is unparalleled. Along with contributing to the Voodoo Katz sound, Deron can be found poundin'' the bass with the popular group Monteneros , the latin rockers from Elkins, WV as well as Comparsa, the sister group focusing on a more traditional Latin style.

Derick Kirk: Tenor Saxophone/Electric Piano

A multi-instrumentalist with a reputation for having a great ear, Derick is probably the hardest working musician in the Charleston West Virginia music scene. Growing up on the outskirts of Charleston in a musical family, his musical background is diverse. His influences range from Charlie Parker and Miles Davis to jazz guitarist Tuck Andress. Derick''s musical history includes Ska, Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Latin and pop among others.

Derick''s pure musicianship and ability to adapt to each situation make him a hot commodity in the scene. When he''s not blowin'' with the Katz You can find him sitting in with jazz legend Bob Thompson, playing regular gigs with jazz guitarist Steve Himes, latin rockers The Monteneros, rockers Highway Jones (which also included his brother Darren) and progressive rock act Tilting at Windmills (with which he plays bass) among others. Attaining his degree in music from West Virginia State College, Derick is attending grad school in the the fall of 2003 at West Virginia University. With a knack for repairing brass instruments, you can often find Derick working at Gorby''s Music in South Charleston.

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