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Ellas (pronounced “A-Yas”) y Amigos, a Funky Caribbean Latin Jazz ensemble, was founded in 1996 by

Donna BostockDonna Bostock. A percussionist, vocalist and music arranger, she specializes in world rhythms and is on the faculty at AMLA (Associacion de Musicos Latino Americanos), Philadelphia’s renowned Latin music school. Donna has opened for artists such as Shawn Colvin, Maceo Parker, the Whalers, the Average White Band, the Beach Boys, Eddie Palmieri, Jimmy Bosch, and the Buena Vista Social Club. While in Cuba she played with Los Van Van, Azucar Negra, and Alberto Alverez. Donna is co-recipient of the Independence Foundation and Meet the Composer grant for research in Cuba, as well as receiving the Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity grant for performances in Bolivia 2004.

Lynn RileyLynn Riley, saxophonist, flutist and vocalist, received a Bachelors degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii before coming to Philadelphia, Pa. in 1984. Since then she has played with many of the great jazz musicians in Philadelphia, including Philly Joe Jones, Grover Washington Jr, Charles Earland, David Murray and Johnny Pacheco. The Trane Stop Resource Institute recognized her proficiency with an award in 1992, she was chosen to perform at the Painted Bride Artist Series Women Leaders in Jazz in 2000, and she received a Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation in 2004. In addition to writing and arranging for Ellas y Amigos, she leads her own group, World Mix, and teaches part time in the performing arts department at Drexel University.

Rubin EdwardsRubin Edwards, an extraordinary performer on bass guitar, is also a producer, arranger, composer and recently has taken on the role of Musical Director for Ellas y Amigos.  Rubin’s creative vision is generating a new direction for the group’s original sound. Educated at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia’s premier performing arts college, he adds the funk and the groove to the group. He has performed for over twenty years in the Philadelphia region. Rubin plays a wide range of styles from hip-hop, reggae, jazz and latin, to R&B and rock and roll. He has performed with many great artists such as Phil Woods, Gene Carn, and Grover Washington Jr.

Mark BeecherMark Beecher has been playing drums for 38 years. He recently had the fortune of performing on stage with Shania Twain, as well as performing for the new leader of Afghanistan – Hamid Karzai. Over the years, Mark has performed for Queen Elizabeth, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing of France, and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Dave Mason, the Temptations, and Bo Diddley. Mark has studied with such renowned latin percussion masters as the late Frankie Malabe (at Drummer’s Collective, NYC) and Changuito (drummer/percussionist for Los Van Van), African drumming master Oscar Sulley, and Eastern Indian drumming master T.N. Bala. Mark has recorded 18 CDs with a variety of artists, is the author of an instructional drum video entitled The Art of Ancient Rudimental Drumming, and has taught drumlines at the Valley Forge Military Academy. He teaches drums & percussion privately, and writes articles for several drumming publications.

Mateo GloisteinMateo Gloistein plays piano and composes. Mateo grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he took to music at a young age, composing for and leading his own group by age 12. He studied piano, improvisation and songwriting with Gary Marks before attending the University of California at Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Mateo studied with Ghanaian Master Drummer CK Ladzekpo. There he also began his studies in Afro-Cuban music and jazz. This experience had a profound impact on Mateo’s musical concept and helped lay the foundation for his rhythmic approach to music. Mateo now lives with his family in the Philadelphia area where he teaches piano and performs with various ensembles including his own group.

Janine DiazJanine Diaz is Ellas y Amigos’ lead vocalist. She is originally from Tampa, Florida, of Cuban heritage. A graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, her musical experiences span the spectrum from musical theater, concert choir, jazz, classical/opera singing, rock, pop, liturgical/church singing, studio recording, and of course, singing Hispanic music like salsa and Latin jazz. In additon to Ellas Y Amigos, she has sung with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, the Dougukan Gungor Trio, and the Bob Whitt Quartet.



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