Aaron Walker-Loud is an artist, band director, composer, producer and educator. He is the founder and director of Big World Breaks (a production company built for performance, studio and education), that has shared stages with Janelle Monae, Kool DJ Red Alert, Digable Planets, DJ Qbert, Macklemore, Reggie Watts, Saul Williams and many more. B.W.B. has also produced live show backing for various artists such as: Grammy Nominated vocalists Wayna and Rocky Dawuni, Sy Smith, Zo!, Dynamq, Choklate, Kimberly Nichole, Massive Monkees and Xperience. Aaron is a proud alum of the CD Music Factory (Washington Middle School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Robert Knatt, and Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble / Drumline, under the direction of Mr. Clarence Acox). Aaron began working with youth and families in 1999, eventually becoming the Education Director for Seattle JazzED (2010-2016), a teaching artist for Arts Corps (2008-present) as well as the drumline director for Washington Middle School (2008-2016) and O’Dea High School (2012-present). Most recently, Aaron became a member of the Creative Advantage roster; and in partnership with Jazmyn Scott (Langston / The Town Entertainment), co-founded 50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide (est. 2012), co-founded the award-winning intergenerational BWB Drumline (est. 2015) and co-curated The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit at MOHAI (with over 31,000 attendees and 20 co-produced events), which won the 2016 American Association of State and Local History Leadership in History Award, “the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history”.Read More
Caxambu is a sunny optimistic Capoeira Angola artist/dancer/musician. Spent countless years in rigorous training honing his art, working with kids and adults, in schools, academies, churches, community centers, mainly in Brazil and the U.S. Longtime productive member of International Capoeira Angola Foundation, Show Brazil!, Brazil Center, and BrasilFest.Read More
Love and aloha are the two main ingredients singer/songwriter Daniel Pak stirs into the songs of freedom that stem from an upbringing on reggae and uplifting island melodies. Born and raised in Hawai`i, Pak has dedicated his life to embodying the warmth and soul of the islands in his music of healing and joy.
“Storytelling is a big part of kanikapila (jamming), and that’s what we’d do every weekend back when we were kids,” Pak explains. “When the `ukulele came out, everybody sang, our feet in the sand and the waves crashing in. Participation was part of the culture, not something you had to ask permission to do. We told stories and shared information through music, unlike the smartphone culture of today. We were so much more human.”
In nearly ten years as the leader of Kore Ionz, Pak performed four times at Bumbershoot Festival and shared the stage with The Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Sly & Robbie, and many more of reggae’s founding fathers. “Love You Better,” his “poignant love letter,” as The International Examiner calls it, went to #1 on commercial radio in Hawai`i. Pak has also performed with reggae artists from Hawai`i including J Boog and The Green.
When he’s not on the road with his eight-piece band, Pak spends his time amplifying the voices of young people in his community. As co-founder of Totem Star, a record label for youth, part of his life’s work is to ensure that young people have a safe and encouraging space to create music and build community.
Pak serves on the Seattle Music Commission as Chair of the Youth + Community Committee, as Governor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The Recording Academy (Grammys), and as a Trustee for The Bush School.
“Maybe if we realized we all share the same collective energy, we’d be more open to seeing each other through an empathetic, compassionate lens. Maybe we’d put down our dumb phones and start singing together again. Maybe we’d be more human.”Read More
Erica Merritt began singing and performing at 5. In middle school, she was featured in a band called “Starlighters,” which consisted of three student vocalists and a few members of the faculty. At 14, she joined theatre and music performance groups at Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. She studied voice and music in college, and began teaching choir through Northwest Folklife in 1998. She has continued to teach voice, songwriting and choir intermittently through various art organizations over the last 10 years. Erica has also worked in the field of social and human services for over 15 years and has enjoyed the amazing opportunity to combine her passions of social well-being and music through the art of teaching.Read More
Eduardo Mendonça — multi-talented musician, producer and composer — is a native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Mendonça received his degree in arts education from the Music Institute of the Catholic University of Salvador and has performed for former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, Brazilian President João Baptista Figueiredo and Pope John Paul II. In 1991, Mendonça was featured in Paul Simon’s music video, “Born at the Right Time.” Eduardo is founding member of Arts Corps, Artistic Director for international performance ensemble Show Brazil!, and heads his own Kirkland-based company Show Brazil Productions, which promotes Brazilian culture and provides Portuguese voice-over talent for CD-ROMs and videos exported to Brazil. Eduardo is a voting member of the Grammys and 2007 winner of “Outstanding Brazilian Male Singer based in the U.S.” by the Brazilian International Press Award. Eduardo Mendonça received from the Congressman Jim McDermott the 2009 Ethnic Heritage Council “Spirit of Liberty Award”, as recognition for his outstanding contribution to his adopted country, the U.S.A., while maintaining his ethnic heritage.Read More