Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Choro Borealis brings together some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians who share a deeply rooted passion for Brazilian music: Pat O’Keefe on clarinet, Tim O’Keefe on percussion and mandolin, Robert Everest on 7-string guitar and vocals, John Croarkin on flute, and David Burk on cavaquinho. Choro music is a lively instrumental genre native to Rio de Janeiro with strong European and African roots, and which developed at the same time as Ragtime and Dixieland Jazz in the US. Performing both choro standards and original compositions, the magic of Choro Borealis is the playful interplay among the musicians, and the many varieties of instruments they employ in bringing choro music to life for their audiences.
Pat O’Keefe is a multifaceted performer who is in demand in a wide variety of musical genres. He has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras and wind ensembles, wailed away for belly dancers, and rocked samba in the streets. He draws upon this multiplicity of experiences and interests in his performances, which have been described as “passionate,” “explosive,” and “breath-stoppingly exquisite.” He is currently the woodwind player for the new music ensemble Zeitgeist, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Pat is also drawn to the music of other cultures, and has studied Brazilian, Turkish, and Korean music with acknowledged masters. He performs regularly on both woodwinds and percussion with the groups Batucada do Norte, Choro Borealis, The Maithree Ensemble, and Di Bayke Klezmer in the Twin Cities. Pat has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and in 2015 he was awarded a Performing Musician Fellowship from the McKnight Foundation. He currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. www.Patokeefe.org
Award winning percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe has been a mainstay in the world music scene for over thirty years, performing with many renown world music artists including Simon Shaheen, Siwan Perwar and Sattar, along with a wide variety of other world music ensembles from Bulgarian to Brazilian all over the US and Internationally. Locally he appears with Choro Borealis, Amwaaj, Music Mundial, Robayat, Mark Stillman, Tony Hauser, Xibaba, Ticket to Brazil, Trakiya, the Ethnic Dance Theater, The Rose Ensemble, Jawaahir Dance Co., Saharan Nights, Siama Matuzungidi and more. Besides co-founding and co directing the Brazilian drum ensemble Batucada do Norte, Tim has also been the composer and musical director for many dance and theater productions, and he appears on numerous soundtrack and commercial recordings with such artists such as Tim Sparks and Sakher Hattar.
Minnesota native Robert Everest has been joyfully exploring the music of the world for over 30 years. Performing locally, nationally, and internationally, he has delighted audiences around the globe with his original compositions and his vast repertoire of acoustic world music, played on a variety of stringed instruments. His fascination with foreign languages led him through a linguistics degree from the University of MN, which facilitated the development of the multiple languages he brings to his performances. Robert performs in several ensembles including the Robert Everest Expedition, Marimba Nova, Choro Borealis, and Quartetto Rosso, and he is particularly adept at covering a variety of musical styles found within Brazil, organizing and directing the most attended annual Brazilian event in the 5-state area, Carnaval Brasileiro of the Twin Cities, which has been the recipient of six MRAC grants over a 17-year history. Robert has toured extensively throughout Latin America, West Africa, and Europe, including a 4-day festival performance in France upon being chosen to represent Minneapolis in the Foire de Tours. Most recently Robert served as Musical Director for Ten Thousand Things Theater Company. More info at www.roberteverest.com and www.brazilfest.org.
Multi-instrumentalist and Emmy award winning composer John Croarkin plays bass flute, flute, pifano, sax and harmonica. He is a winner of the National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Master Class and Jazz Flute Big Band Competitions. John’s playing has been featured on over 40 CD’s, and many soundtracks. He attended the University of Wisconsin Madison & Truman University in Missouri. A lifelong student of music he has studied with many renowned artists: Jazz improvisation with Roscoe Mitchell & Richard Davis; Flute with Gro Sandvik & Robert Dick; Baritone Sax with Ronnie Cuber; and Brazilian music studies with Jovino Santos Neto. www.johncroarkin.com
Aside from cavaquinho, David Burk plays a variety of stringed instruments including guitar, oud, chumbus, banjo, ukulele, bass, and lap steel. Having studied various African, Latin, Middle Eastern and other indigineous musical traditions, he has performed live with numerous groups and artists including The Rose Ensemble, Voices of Sepharad, Yair Dalal, Georges Lamman, Vanessa Paloma, Nirmala Rajasekar, Ethnic Dance Theatre, Lau Hawaiian Collective, Robayat and many others. Aside from live performance, he has composed and recorded music for numerous music production libraries and his music and arrangements can be heard worldwide in various commercials, films and television programs.