The five members of the band Matuto pose.Genre: Americana / Blues / Folk
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MATUTO (New York, New York) draws inspiration from rural traditions found across the Americas.  Matuto (South American slang for “country boy”) is emerging as one of New York City’s hottest roots music acts.  Imagine the sound of a Brazilian Carnaval in the Appalachian Mountains; a sound where dynamic percussion instruments rumble beneath blues drenched vocals, telecaster twangs, accordion acrobatics, and folksy fiddle tunes.

Watch: Church Street Blues / Live at the Kennedy Center  / Video Showcase

CLAY ROSS (GUITAR/VOCALS) is composer and songwriter based in New York City.  After receiving a BFA in composition from the University of Charleston, Ross became an integral part of the South Carolina jazz scene and relocated to NYC in 2002. In 2005 he became a member of Cyro Baptista’s world-renowned percussion ensemble “Beat the Donkey,” with whom he toured regularly until 2009. In 2006 he was honored as a U.S. Jazz Ambassador and has completed tours abroad for the U.S. State Department.  From 2009 to 2012 he toured extensively performing over 300 shows each year, worldwide, with Canadian Fiddler April Verch and other projects.

ROB CURTO (ACCORDION) is widely regarded as forró’s foremost ambassador in the United States. An early devotee of North American swing music, bebop piano, funk, rock, and blues, he has combined these influences with his mastery of their Brazilian counterparts forró, chorinho, samba, maracatu, and frevo to produce stunning new results. He spent years living and playing in Brazil, completely absorbing and interpreting the country’s musical traditions.

RICHIE BARSHAY (DRUMMER) is most noted for his work with the Herbie Hancock Quartet.  He has established himself as a prominent musical voice of his generation and is regarded as “a player to watch” by JazzTimes magazine. On tour and on recordings, his eclectic resume so far includes Hancock, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, The Klezmatics, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Natalie Merchant, David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, Claudia Acuña and Pete Seeger among others.

MICHAEL LAVALLE (BASS) The son of two musicians, Michael Loren Lavalle was raised on all genres of American Music.  Now, matched with a profound knowledge of musics from Brazil, he has become an in-demand bassist and percussionist on NYC’s creative music scene.  He has worked with a vast and diverse array of artists including the platinum selling Carmen Consoli, the Grammy nominated Emily King, the Hip Hop phenomenons 88 Keys and Om’mas Keith, as well as Rap Stars Jim Jones and Talib Kweli. In 2009 Michael co-produced the album “Edge of Everything” by Greta’s Bakery which was released by Decca/Universal Music Group.  Michael currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

MAZZ SWIFT (VIOLIN) is a native New Yorker, who began playing the violin at age 6. She graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts, during which time she made her solo public performance debut on the stage of New York’s Alice Tully Hall, performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She later attended The Juilliard School of Music, but left in the middle of her 3rd year to pursue a more organic approach to music making.  Consequently, she has recorded and performed with a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Kanye West, Com­mon, and Jay-Z.