Vocalist and Guitar player Tasha Harmon grew up in Chicago and Brooklyn and has lived in Western Massachusetts, Austin Texas and now Portland. Her mother says she sang before she could talk, but she didn’t start playing guitar until she was 10. She fell in love with American folk music first, then with Motown and Rock and Roll, and discovered choral singing and musical theater in high school. Next came Celtic and South African vocal music in college, but she didn’t find her way to the Nordic and Balkan world until she met Shawn. She picked up bodhran and hand percussion to try to keep the group that became Kendálin under a dozen (and who could not want to play bodhran after listing to Flook’s Flatfish album?). She has sung in many groups – choirs, folk duos, and a 14 voice women’s a’cappella group called Spontaneous Combustion. Tasha is a poet and occasional lyricist. She is slowly overcoming the drawbacks of having been a soprano for most of her life.
Anna Tennis - vocals, flute & hand percussion
They say that by age two Anna was singing in tune along with Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, complete with accent. Her choral experience began in the fourth grade and lasted through years of music school during which she also directed several a cappella groups and appeared in the roles of Cinderella in Into the Woods, Guinevere in Camelot, and Anna in The King and I.
Following a stint as a vocal performance major in Austin and Philadelphia, Anna had the opportunity to study music theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, but threw it all to the winds in favor of adventure on the uncharted west coast. Exploring Bulgarian vocal technique with a member of the women’s Balkan music group Kitka, she delved into her longtime passion for world music. Her most recent projects include singing with Colores del Alma, a small, fiery Latin music trio; and Svila, a Portland-based women's Balkan ensemble. She’s now pursuing composing, arranging and developing a musical style she refers to as “Tribal Opera.”
Anna became a mother in 2010. Magia is now thrilling her mama by displaying an unequivocally strong sense of pitch and rhythm.
Vera Alcorn - vocals, harmonium, ukulele & percussion
Vera was born in the act of singing to a Dalcroze teacher and a doctor in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up surrounded by music in many forms, learning to read music at the same time as learning to read words. She has studied Classical and Jazz piano and Classical and Broadway vocal technique. Vera moved to Portland in 2002 to attend Reed College where she studied physics, music composition, choral conducting, and sang in every student group she could find. After college, the medicine side of her upbringing caught up with her. More recently she has been working as a veterinary assistant and catching up on science prerequisites so she can apply to Naturopathic school. Though Kendálin is currently Vera’s main musical outlet, she has sung with a number of choral groups in the past including the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Summer Festival Chorus, Reed College’s Collegium Musicum, and the Columbia Chorale of Oregon.
Originally from Maryland, Bryan began playing violin in the 2nd grade. The thrill of playing Christmas tunes was one thing, but it was the anticipation of learning the Star Wars theme song that truly inspired his desire to play music. After quitting the violin followed by short periods on piano and cello, he finally discovered the electric guitar which was to dominate his musical life from then on throughout his college years.
2 years living in Europe as a young boy awakened Bryan to the fact that there is culture (and music) outside of the United States. This led to a 6-year stint traveling and living throughout Europe, Ireland and the South Pacific playing mostly acoustic guitar and fueling an interest in traditional music from around the world.
He soon picked up the octave mandolin and then the clarinet in order to play a growing repertoire of Irish, Scandinavian and Eastern European music, some of which was released on his CD Bryan’s Bizaar in 2001 (myspace.com/bryansbizaar). In 2006 he rediscovered the violin and his neighborhood has still yet to fully recover. Bryan also plays in the newgrass band Terracoustic (terracoustic.com) and in the Breton folk-dance band Mistral (onsevenwinds.com).
Rachel Bowen - five string fiddle, viola & vocals
Rachel started taking Suzuki violin classes at age six. After her family went to a performance of Alasdair Fraser and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, her mother decided that she and her father should join the club and learn Scottish fiddle as a bonding experience. Rachel went to fiddle camps all through school and took lessons with several amazing fiddlers including Suzy Thompson and Darol Anger, while also playing violin in local school and youth orchestras. She picked up the viola in middle school when an orchestra teacher offered it as a challenge. Rachel moved to Portland in 2008, where she began playing with Kendálin. She also started writing fiddle tunes, including the one named for her cat, Littles, which appears on our first CD.
David Chris - flute & vocals
David Chris started playing flute at the age of 7, and studied classical flute for most of his childhood. As a young adult, David developed an interest in jazz, and was privileged to study flute and alto sax with Buddy Collette. Since that time, David has studied and performed music as an avocation, his primary profession being real-time embedded software engineering.
In recent years, a desire to participate in professional music led David to study music theory, arranging, and alto sax with Portland jazz artist and educator Clifford Waits. David has collaborated with various jazz musicians in the Portland area, playing gigs, writing and recording. He is excited to start a new chapter in his musical journey with Kendalin.
Some of David's original music may be heard online at davidchris.com.
Composer, arranger, and player of flutes, mandolins, and sometimes things with keys, Shawn Orpinela began his musical career as a drummer; he started out banging on pots and pans but by age four or five had worked up to a kid’s drum set. At the time people just thought he was somewhat erratic. In hindsight, perhaps it was the infancy of his obsession with mixing meters, but we’ll probably never know for sure.
Throughout high school and college Shawn picked up other instruments (putting the percussion aside somewhere in there), but his first love is manipulating all those funny black dots on the page, particularly for others. This combines well with his otherwise mostly “more is more” personality (three cats currently feel like plenty on that front).
When not writing for, rehearsing or performing with Kendálin, Shawn spends a great deal of his time giving private music lessons (usually with juggling worked in), reading, following the Portland Trailblazers, and trying to figure out how best to navigate the house while having a cat attached.
Fletcher Lanning - bass & vocals
Fletcher was born in Texas and, by a very young age, began cultivating the terrifyingly annoying habit of correcting his family member's pitch while singing in the car. While studying Voice and Music Theory in college, he cultivated a love for jazz and the music of The Hi-Lo's and The Four Freshman (getting an opportunity to share the stage with the latter). Fletcher picked up the electric bass during a run with a vocal jazz group in southern Oregon and was convinced to start playing the acoustic double bass by an orchestra conductor in dire need.
As a freelance performer, Fletcher has had the opportunity to tackle leading roles in musical theater in addition to fulfilling his many and varied musical inclinations playing in local orchestras, jazz combos, pirate groups, and world music ensembles.
Jeff Carey - percussion
Jeff has been playing drums and percussion since he was 11. He studied percussion performance and recording, composing, and arranging at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR and has performed with the OSU-Corvallis Symphony Orchestra and the Newport Symphony Orchestra as well as other smaller ensembles in the Willamette Valley area. Jeff currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches drum lessons and plays electric bass for rock band Abolitionist.
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With nine members, we sometimes need to play a gig without one of our regular members, and, sometimes it's great fun to have a guest or two who can add something. With Rachel in Tanzania for a few months, the wonderful Rob Fishel is filling in for this summer's gigs.
Rob Fishel - accordion & vocals
Rob Fishel arrived in Portland from Baltimore in 1999. He holds music degrees from Reed College and Portland State University, and has been a freelance musician in the Portland area since 2005. He directs the music program at Pioneer United Methodist Church, accompanies for the Columbia Chorale of Oregon, and often works as music director or accompanist in Portland’s musical theater scene.
Rob was initially drawn to the accordion in high school. With some surprise, he saw his casual interest grow into a serious pursuit alongside the study of piano and organ, and he has since used the instrument in many professional contexts. Beyond traditional applications in folk music, Rob also advocates for the use of accordion in classical music, and enjoys presenting arrangements and transcriptions of piano and organ repertoire in concert.
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LeeAnn (Sterling) McKenna - flute, alto flute, piccolo & vocals
LeeAnn McKenna has been playing flute since she was an 11 year old child in Rhode Island. She earned a masters degree in performance, while also experimenting with folk music, Celtic tunes, blue-grass singing, and a touch of Jazz. LeeAnn is active musically as a member of both the Oregon Chamber Players and Thousand Waves, and also teaches privately. You'll find more at: LeeAnnMcKenna.com.
Nancy Durham - percussion
Nancy's fascination of all things rhythmic began at an early age and has been fostered through the years by her teachers, mentors, and peers. Nancy was the main percussionist-drummer for Kendálin for several years. She apparently enjoyed being put to the test by being asked to come up with just the right percussion bed of stability that would support and enhance the nuances of the songs created by the several composers/arrangers in the band. She thanks Shawn and producer-engineer Billy Oskay for their percussive ideas and for pushing her past her comfort zone. You'll find more info at her Teach Street and Facebook pages.
Tanya Earle- vocals& hand percussion
Vocalist and pinch hitting percussionist Tanya Earle was new to the world of small ensemble performance when she came to Kendálin, but not a stranger to the stage. Her background lies primarily in musical theater, having performed such roles as Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls,” Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof, and Aunt Eller in “Oklahoma!”.
Arcellus Sykes - electricbass
Arcellus, who played bass on our CD Opening, does custom transcriptions and keeps a busy performance schedule. You can find more information at his website.
Fletcher Nemeth - upright bass & vocals
Fletcher has been playing bass for over half his life. He does a lot of work
in musical theater, recently playing bass for productions at the Oregon Children's
Theatre, Lakewood Theater, and St. Mary's Academy. He also teaches at the Community Music Center, from his home, and every
summer at the Young Musicians and Artists summer camp. He is
active in the avant-garde/new music scene, and plays with the indie rock band Rainbow Jive Hammer. You can hear samples at myspace.com/fletchorama
Kendra Carpenter - cello & vocals
Kendra, who contributed her fantastic cello skills to a couple of tracks on our CD, teaches cello, does sound healing and performs in a variety of settings. You can find more information at her Swaha Studios website.
Bria Bonet - viola & vocals
Bria Bonet graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in 2008 with a degree in improvisation and storytelling. A new resident of Portland, Bria was part of Kendálin in 2011. She is now living and playing in New Orleans.