Graduating Berklee guitarist Noé Socha will open this concert with a couple of solo, improvised pieces, and then his band will play a mix of blues and funk originals and covers.
Born in the agricultural heart of Italy, Socha began his jazz and blues guitar studies with Enrico Zanella. From 2004 to 2006, he participated in various acoustic guitar workshops and deepened his fingerpicking method with Franco Morone and Walter Lupi. In 2008, he participated in a Berklee seminar at Umbria Jazz and was selected, as part of an ensemble, to open Umbria Jazz Winter in Orvieto, Italy.
Socha then won a scholarship to attend Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he was selected (out of 200 guitarists) to open the final concert at the Berklee Performance Center, and where he won a full-tuition scholarship to continue his studies at Berklee. Now his time at Berklee is coming to a close – but not before one more fantastic recital.
Rafael Espinoza is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Golden, Texas, who has solid roots in the blues. Espinoza will be bringing the sounds of Texas to Berklee College of Music in a way all his own. "You better hang on to somethin', cause this Texas Hurricane's about to blow through your town!" he said. To find out more, visit his website.
Albino Mbie was born in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, a country in southern Africa known for its rich musical and cultural heritage. Fueled by the resourcefulness and determination that have always characterized Mozambicans, he built his first guitar at age 16 from scrap wood, strings made out of electrical cords, and a five-liter can of oil.
Drawn to the sounds of neighborhood street musicians in Maputo, Mbie began to play in a number of local bands and wanted to combine styles, incorporating diverse elements in his music. For his talents to grow, he knew he needed experience new places, cultures, and sounds.
While studying music education and performance at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, he heard about Berklee and soon afterward became one of the first students to receive a full scholarship to Berklee through the African Scholars program in 2009.
At Berklee, he was exposed to a variety of influences but wanted to go deeper into the roots of jazz and expand his knowledge of music. He auditioned and was selected to participate in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), which is directed by Danilo Pérez and has a roster of teachers that includes Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, and Terri Lyne Carrington. BGJI fosters a musician's artistic vision, and has helped Mbie find his own unique voice in the art form.
Mbie still felt the absence of his Mozambican traditions in his music. With the help of his mentors, Richard Bona and Lionel Loueke—two of the most prominent African musicians in the United States—he began to bridge that gap.
Today, Mbie's music succeeds in combining many disparate parts into an organic whole. It incorporates his musical experiences from Mozambique, the U.S., and many other places around the world, combining rhythmic patterns and musical concepts to create a unique "Moz-jazz" sound.
His original composition "Mozambique Dance" was released by Jazz Revelation Records, a student-run record label at Berklee, in 2011. He recorded another original, "Awusiwana," for the Berklee 2012 Summer in the City disc. His debut album, also called Mozambique Dance, will be released soon.
Mbie is an active musician, and has performed in several countries, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy, the U.S., and Mexico. He has also produced and recorded various projects in Mozambique and in the United States. He graduated from Berklee in 2012 with a dual degree in performance and music production and engineering, and a minor in acoustics.
Venezuelan musician and guitar player Luis D’Elias got into music at age 14 when, for the first time after mandatory music lessons, a teacher motivated him to develop his musical skills. At that moment, he began studies at the Olga Lopez Conservatory, where he took two years of classical training in different areas such as piano, guitar, and choir. Later, he participated in the 2004 Berklee Summer Performance Program, which got him into jazz theory and contemporary music.
Afterward, D'Elias enrolled at the Taller de Jazz Caracas, founded by renowned bass player Oscar Fanega, where he began developing his skills in different areas of jazz under the guidance of musicians like Pedro Barboza, Luca Vincenzetti, and Hugo Fuguet, each very well known within the Venezuelan music scene.
At the same time, he was undertaking studies in electronic engineering at the prestigious Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela, from which he received a bachelor’s degree with honors in 2011. Right after that, he applied to Berklee College of Music for full-time studies. He obtained a partial scholarship and is now pursuing a double diploma in film scoring and electronic production and design.
As a composer, he has already scored 10 student short films, most recently a full-length documentary titled El Camino de La Voluntad. He also has experience with video game scoring and creating underscores for different types of visual media. As a performer, he has shared the stage with Venezuelan artists like Francisco Vielma, Diego Maldonado, and Fabio Rojas. In addition, he has experience as a pit musician for different musical theater productions.
D'Elias has also been the bandleader of Venezuelan prog-rock band Systaltic and later of his own band, with whom he recorded his first demo as a solo jazz artist in 2010. Now he is working as an arranger for several musical theater productions at Berklee and leading a new band in order to showcase his own music, which is a blend of traditional Venezuelan influences mixed with contemporary jazz and rock. Currently, he is part of the roster for 2013’s Jazz Revelation Records' upcoming CD, Catalyst.