Our Performers

WITCHSFEST USA 2014

Shakti – Indian Pop Diva

Shakti

Global Soul Entertainment and Innertemple Music Present SHAKTI THARA, “The Global Hip-Pop Diva.” Exuding glamour and verve like a glistening eastern gem, her debut record Feminenergy contains rich eastern beats, ancient melodic Indian ragas interwoven with Pop and Urban grooves. She draws from her ethnic heritage with extreme fluidity. She defines Feminine Energy and Power inspiring people of all ages and cultures.

Born to parents of East Indian and Malaysian/Singaporean descent, Detroit “Motown” Michigan would not only be her physical birthplace but also the backdrop to the evolution of her musical style. Shakti’s mother hails from a prominent performing arts family and her father, from a mystical gypsy family with an entrepreneurial spirit. Like many, they immigrated to the US to pursue the “American Dream.” Shakti was privileged to experience the best of both worlds. At home it was a traditional Indian upbringing while outside she was surrounded by the urban culture of Hip-Hop, R&B and Jazz. Encompassing her home life with street surroundings, she coined a style all of her own and the birth of ‘East meets West’ began.

Shakti, at an early age realized her goal to bridge cultures through the Music. Through her experiences, Shakti evolved into an ambassador of global style and culture. She will mesmerize you with an exotic beauty, self-possessed sensuality and humility. As a humanitarian, she conveys a powerful message that “Music is a vehicle to change lives.”

Shakti’s extensive education plays a great part in her musical development. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan prior to relocating to California to advance her acting and modeling career. After graduating High School in the San Francisco Bay she attended the esteemed Berklee College of Music, and she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz studies. Receiving a scholarship, she went on to obtain her Masters in Music specializing in Classical/Opera/Jazz  Voice studies from The Chicago Musical College. Implementing her knowledge, Shakti garnered production and engineering credits at recording studios such as Chicago Recording Company and Chicago Trax Studios (R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory).

Shakti’s International Hit Single “Do The Thang Thang” received tremendous airplay from BBC Radio 1, to American Stations such as New York’s Hot 97 and Power 105 Los Angeles. Shakti charted #5 in India. As a catalyst for bridging cultural gaps, she continues to display her efforts with her debut Feminenergy which features recording artist Heather Hunter and other guest appearances. This innovative project is produced by “Bellringer” and an internationally acclaimed team of producers such as Bollywood’s Karthik Raaja, Lounge Lizzards, Aaron “Freedom” Lyles (Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone) and The Jettsonz (Nina Sky, Tarkan). Shakti’s music has been featured in the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed”, Paul Blart film Mall Cop, Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model, NBC’s Outsourced and on the IFC original series Bollywood Hero, just to name a few.

Her music is a fusion of her gypsy life experiences and reflects the diversity of her life’s journey. Audiences flock to Shakti’s performances to catch the songstress throwing down hypnotic sounds, giving everyone a real taste of cultural fusion through music and dance. New York based Shakti, states “Music is simply a mind, body, and spiritual experience.” Shakti, simply put, is authentic!

She is currently promoting her album internationally and will release a new single and video for “8 Ball Jacket” in 2011 from the upcoming EP, Butterfly which showcases more of her impressive musical versatility.

Global Soul Records/Innertemple Music invites you to experience the sounds, energy, and spirit of Shakti……                                                                                   www.shaktionline.com   www.myspace.com/shaktionline   www.facebook.com/shaktionline  www.facebook.com/shaktimusic   www.twitter.com/shaktionline

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OLGA EL

Olga El1

Belly Dance Class Bio: An avid disciple of world dance Olga El is inspired by the myriad of cultural traditions to which she has been exposed and a love of storytelling. From a young age she was particularly enamored by dances from the Middle East and the northern hemisphere of Africa–better known as belly dance–and chose these dance forms as the foundation of her personal fusion style which includes martial arts, circus arts, and dances from the West African Diaspora including Latin-American styles and Hip Hop.

From 2008-2011 she directed the belly dance troupe Bastet and its charitable sub-division Belly Dance for Change. She is the founder and artistic director of The Kandake–a new dance-theatre collective that combines social activism and philanthropy with folkloric, modern, theatrical and experimental movement. Olga has coordinated several charity events enlisting talent such as Akim Funk Buddha, Beatbox Guitar, and America’s Best Dance Crew judge, Lil’ Mama. She has worked in a managerial and administrative role with well-loved modern/ballet based companies such as The Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn and Valerie Green/Dance Entropy.

Her past work has been featured by many prominent belly dance presenters such as Alwan for the Arts, Jerry Bezdikian, the Lafayette Grill, the Rakkasah Festival, and D’jam at Je’Bon. She has also performed at Le Poisson Rouge, The Best Buy Theatre, Tammany Hall, The Mehanata, The Zipper Factory, The CMJ Music Festival, The House of Yes, Dances of Vice, The Bitter End, Dixon Place, TED MED (part of TED Talks) and The Lincoln Center.

Olga studied belly dance with her main teacher and mentor, Allisyn Swift— a second generation African belly dancer who was also versed in in Classical Indian dance, Ballet and Jazz. Olga has also studied with master teachers such as folkloric dance scholar, Morocco; Somalian Fulbright scholar, Arianna Al Tiye; Jillina and Amar Gamal of the Belly Dance Super Stars, and Rayhana of Serena Studios. Other teachers include Mariyah, Darshan and Sera Solstice of Bold Belly Dance.

Olga began teaching in 2007 at Pratt Institute where she was the class coordinator of the belly dance club on campus. She is available for both private and group classes, special event workshops and volunteer sessions for under-served communities.

2012

WITCHES IN BIKINIS

Witches in Bikinis, a Brooklyn-based Performance Group

Forget all of your Wizard of Oz, Wicked Witch of the West memories of green skin, shapeless black robes and wart-covered noses, these witches are hot. The female members of Witches in Bikinis, a Brooklyn-based performance group, strut their collective stuff in brightly colored wigs and bikinis that would make Glenda blush. Since 2005 the group has been singing tunes by William Rozar about Halloween and horror. But these ladies aren’t one-trick ponies: They dance, too. The eye candy may draw the crowds but the suggestive moves and lyrics don’t hurt: the group’s theme which boasts “I saw witches in bikinis/Wearing velvet capes/Roasting human weenies/And stuffing them in crepes.” Think of it as a test-run for Halloween (albeit a little early). It’s never too soon to start figuring out those costume ideas … And did we mention the bikinis?

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SHARON KNIGHT AND WINTER

Sharon Knight & Winter

www.sharonknight.net

Sharon Knight and her longtime collaborator Winter are nationally touring musicians in the mythic-Celtic vein. Their penchant for combining fierce and gutsy bravado with ethereal beauty, a hearty dose of fantastical lyrics, and an obvious love of storytelling has inspired their own style, “Neofolk Romantique”. They often sound less Celtic and more “Folktales that ran away with the Faeries at the turn of the century and took cover in an old trunk bound for the circus, which was then commandeered by pirates.” This suits them fine

San Francisco songstress Sharon Knight is a Celtic folk singer in leather armbands. She plays octave mandolin as if it were an electric guitar and sings as though she means to summon a storm. Her penchant for combining fierce and gutsy bravado with ethereal beauty, a hearty dose of fantastical lyrics, and an obvious love of storytelling has inspired her own musical style, “Neofolk Romantique”. Although her musical foundations are solidly built on her Celtic heritage, Sharon has never been one to hold fast to tradition, preferring instead to look to her roots for inspiration and then chart her own path.

That path often sounds less Celtic and more “Folktales that ran away with the Faeries at the turn of the century and took cover in an old trunk bound for the circus, which was then commandeered by pirates.” She likes it this way.

Sharon’s distinctive voice and striking poetry have won her a loyal following across the country. Together with longtime collaborator Winter, she tours nationally several months out of the year, performing at festivals, masquerades, conventions, cafes, shops and house concerts. Her music has been heard on over 300 radio stations, enjoyed “top 10” status on MP3 and NAR charts, and has captured the attention of major labels and independent labels alike. Her music has been featured in two independent films, “Beatific Vision” and “The Commune”. Sharon and Winter are also the founding members of the gothic tribal folk metal band, Pandemonaeon.

The music of Sharon Knight combines a love of antiquity and romance with an affinity for the haunting and melancholy, adds a hearty dash of feistiness, and reminds us that we can all see theI’d be thrilled to pass the info along to Sharon , and to look forward to being involved myself in future years!

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TUATHA DEA

We are Tuatha Dea, A primal Celtic, Pagan based rock group out of Gatlinburg Tennessee. We are also Drum Circle facilitators and conduct workshops and rhythm events in multiple venues throughout the US.  website at www.tuathadea.com.
“Tuatha Dea” and “Tuatha Dea Drum Nation” (We are also members of the National Drum Facilitators Guild and offer community unifying drum workshops as well) , Celtic Force Radio (www.celticforce.ning) and the various websites of the festivals listed above. (www.circle sanctuary.org and www.paganunityfest.org) .  We have been featured and interviewed twice on Pagan’s Tonight Radio (once by Oberon and Ariel) and by “Wicked Podcast” in NC and Have had our music featured on Selena Fox’s Pagan Warrior Radio and Momma Fortuna’s Broadcast out of California, Celtic Force Radio , Marc Gunn’s Irish and Celtic Music Pod Cast . We have been featured in Magickal Media, Green Egg and many other Pagan Publications as well. Our music has been featured on radio now as far away as Glasgow Scotland.

“The Children of The Gods”?
Tuatha Dea is a Gaelic phrase adopted from the Celtic mythology of the Tuatha de Danaan whose literary history originates in Ireland and Great Britain. The name “Tuatha Dea” literally translates into “Children of The Gods”. The band’s Celtic influence stems directly from this historical clan which lived and ruled for a period in ancient Ireland and who were later destined to become the stuff of legend and basis of Celtic mythology. Those who dwelt beneath the burrows. The Children of The Gods

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