Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory

Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory

Wambura Mitaru Synergy in St. Petersburg and Helsinki

Post authored by Amanda Gouldthorpe, assistant director for Office of International Programs

As I type this I’m traveling across the Russian/Finnish border by train with the Wambura Mitaru Synergy. We’ve traded winter snowscapes in Boston for those in Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia, to be specific. After our flight out of Boston last Friday was canceled due to the blizzard, we finally arrived in Europe on Tuesday night – to quote Wambura herself, “It’s really happening!”

Sebastian Reunert, Wambura Mitaru and Moez Dawad (l to r) perform at the JFC Jazz Club in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sebastian Reunert on guitar and Moez Dawad on hand percussion round out this truly impressive trio who are here to showcase original music and represent Berklee at the 2013 Close Encounters festival, an event designed to bring international students together to share their original music and create new music together. With Wambura hailing from Kenya, Sebastian from South Africa, and Moez from Egypt and Sudan by way of DC, this group brings their African roots front and center with a serious groove that you can’t help but tap your foot to and lyrics that make you sing along – participation encouraged!

 

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Samantha Schultz Trio at Close Encounters Helsinki-St. Petersburg

“Hei” from the winter wonderland of Helsinki, Finland! I’m here with three Berklee students who are making the most of their experience as part of the Close Encounters Festival this week. The Samantha Schultz Trio, led by Samantha Schultz (vocals, guitar) with Alexander Toth (bass) and Charles “Trey” Macias (hand percussion) represent Canada and the US for this week-long event promoting international musical exchange. They are joined by bands from our Berklee International Network partner schools the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory (who are hosting and producing the event), Helsinki Metropolia University, and France’s Music Academy International, along with student bands from the Helsinki Conservatory, Sibelius Academy, and the Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg.

Monday night was the trio’s first gig, during which they performed a five-song set of Samantha’s originals to an enthusiastic audience of over 100 people at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory’s Arabia Hall. Here they are performing “On the Sidelines”:

Up next for our Berklee crew? A gig tonight at the Caisa cultural center (where the program also includes fellow Berklee student and Pop & Jazz alum Anni Mattila), and then we head to St. Petersburg tomorrow for a gig at the JFC jazz club. More to come! In the meantime, you can check out additional footage of the Samantha Schultz Trio and the rest of the artists at the Close Encounters Youtube page.

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