Balam Garcia is a Los Angeles based guitarist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, mastering engineer, and mixing engineer. He combines groove-based styles such as Blues, Funk and Soul music with his Jazz and Classical music training and influences.
Born in the state of Veracruz, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, California, it is no wonder that this culturally-mixed musician manages to incorporate such an eclectic variety of sounds into his playing and compositions.
His sounds are reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s blues guitar playing, combined with Herbie Hancock’s harmonically and rhythmically driven styles of improvisation, all the while, paying homage to the west coast Hip-Hop sounds of his hometown of Los Angeles–and the many world music styles he grew up listening to at home, including music from West Africa, India, Brazil, Cuba and his native country of Mexico.
A prodigious guitarist, Balam recorded his first album at age 12, called “Stuff I Like”, which was pressed on Vinyl, and debuted at an art gallery in Italy. At just 16, Balam auditioned for the prestigious Berklee College of Music and was given a full tuition scholarship. He has recorded music for films like Pine Flat, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
An experienced touring guitarist, Balam has shared the stage with artists like Haley Reinhart, Justin Nozuka, and Joanna Teters. Balam Garcia currently releases his original music under his name–on all streaming platforms. An advocate for arts education, Garcia is a teacher and supporter of Neighborhood Music School, a non-profit that provides music education to children who would not otherwise have access to it.
Balam aims to bring peace to his community and the rest of the world by spreading positive vibrations through conscious music and his signature “East LA Soul” sound.
The Aliens were formed at the request of David Catching (guitar player for Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal) to open up for his band Earthlings? at The Opium Den in Hollywood in November of 1998.
Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures) was in the audience of that first gig and requested The Aliens adjourn with him out to The Rancho De La Luna recording studio in Joshua Tree, California to take part in a series of recordings he had been doing called The Desert Sessions. The Aliens were featured in Desert Sessions Volume 6.
This illustrious beginning started a career of playing such unorthodox venues as a whore house, funeral, several rumbles (that is, appearances that turned into rumbles), many desert generator parties, and a summer residency at a transvestite/butch dyke bar.
The Aliens That Ate Hollywood are currently touring the Universe and were last seen playing at a hole in the wall on the outskirts of Uranus.
The Aliens were delighted when asked to make an appearance (abduction) at Radio Venice TV.
Prince Diabaté hails from a prominent, Malinké family from Guinea, West Africa. He learned his art from his father, Djéli Sori Diabaté. Breaking with tradition, his father also taught Prince’s mother, Hadja Djeli Sira Cissoko, to play kora. The young boy became an exceptionally early starter by accompanying his parents to their concerts throughout West Africa. Despite his father’s disapproval, he decided to make music his life. When he was eight years old, form Guinean President, Sekou Toure, came to his home town, Kindia, for a celebration in Independence Square. Braving the outraged soldiers and his own fear, the young musician grasped his kora, threw himself at the President s feet and played a special song for him. Greatly touched by his skill and audacity, Sekou Toure became his benefactor, enrolling him in the National Children’s Theater in Conakry. At 16 years of age, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he stumbled upon a videocassette of Jimi Hendrix, and entered the international kora competition. Taking first prize that day ‘Prince Diabaté, Prince of the Kora’.
In 1986 he put the singer, Amara Sanoh, and the two started to perform together. In 1990 he won the “Discoveries” Award, sponsored by Radio France Internationale. After 12 successful years on the international festival circuit, touring Africa, Europe, Canada and the USA, the duo disbanded and Prince Diabaté settled in Los Angeles, USA. Prince Diabaté has released three CDs: Lamaranaa (Buda Music / Allegro) in 1993, New Life (Sunrise Records / Orchard) in 2001, which features guest artists Michael Brook and Hassan Hakmoun. His next album, Djerelon (Kora Company Collection) was recorded in Guinea, Conakry in 2006. It is arranged and produced by Kante Manfila, longtime collaborator of Salif Keita.The album won the People’s Choice Awards (Vox Populi) in the Independent Music Awards for 2007: World Music (Traditional) category. Lamarana and New Life are available as digital downloads with Virgin Islands and Djerelon is available through Itunes.
Considered to be one of the leading kora players of his generation, Prince Diabaté does not have a total mastery over his ancestral tradition, but a commitment to renew it through fresh ideas and exchanges with musicians from many cultures. His New York Symphony Orchestra, Adam del Monte (Flamenco) Hassan Hakmoun (Gnawa) and Grammy winners Michael Brook (guitarist-producer-composer) and Ozomatli (Hip-Hop fusion .) The musically adventurous griot has incorporated reggae, rap and blues into his work, and further developing his “Jimi Hendrix” technical, also punctuates his work by the occasional, funky use of the wah-wah pedal. Recently, he has adapted the music of the Wassolou to his repertoire, which he plays, self-taught and kora-style, on the kamelen n’goni. The result is entirely his own creation: a fresh, powerful brand of twenty-first century Manden music, which remains firmly rooted in traditional codes and references.
In 2001, he recorded with Ozomatli on “Embrace The Chaos,” their Grammy-winning CD. In 2002, he was nominated for the LA Weekly Music Awards and the New Times Music Awards. He was also a finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards for 2004; the Unisong Contest for 2005-2006; the International Songwriting Contest for 2004 & 2005; and took first prize in the 2005 and 2006 Pacific Songwriting Competition.His work has attracted grants from Arts International; Alliance for California Traditional Arts; Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the Durfee Foundation. Prince Diabaté also maintains an active schedule as a lecturer on aspects of Mandinka music. His clients to date include colleges and universities in California, Washington State and New York. He is also sought after for film and television projects in Hollywood.
These days Prince Diabaté divides his time between France, the USA and Guinea and is often on the move, performing with his group.At the end of 2013 the Prince Diabaté Academy of Music was officially launched in Guinea. This new academy, the first privately-funded establishment in Guinea, is the result of Prince Diabaté’s desire to create an international music school specializing in stringed instruments and traditional flute. Thanks to the encouragement of government ministers, construction is underway and the foundation stone was laid in December 2013.
Howard Stefan is an acoustic singer with a chill vibe and an unusual guitar playing style (upside-down, left-handed). He draws inspiration from reggae/rap to blues/rock to create a unique blend of sounds with the purpose of enriching the local music scene.
Aside from music, Howard is a visual artist and humanitarian actively working to promote causes aimed at benefiting all people.