Beau Bledsoe’s performances have been described as “…hot as a raging fire” by Drew Minter Opera News and “pointedly musical” by Paul Horsley The Kansas City Star. This stylistically diverse musician is equally comfortable on the concert stages of Europe and Russia as he is in the tango clubs of Argentina. He regularly performs and records with some of the greatest artists in Tango, Flamenco and classical music as he seeks to integrate different musical cultures with diverse audiences.
Beau studied classical guitar at the UMKC Conservatory of Music under Douglas Niedt where he received a Master of Music. There he continued his professional career in the fertile ground of the Kansas City music scene playing with jazz musicians, classical chamber musicians, and also participating in the burgeoning Latin music scene. It was at this time that Beau met the musicians and founded the groups that he still performs with today such as tenor, Nathan Granner, soprano, Victoria Botero, classical violinist, Gregory Sandomirsky, composer/pianist, Brad Cox, and Argentine Tango quintet Tango Lorca.
His interest in exploring new repertoire, cultures and programming ideas has led to the creation of a large body of arrangements, transcriptions and compositions for the solo guitar and guitar chamber music. Beau has also worked extensively with the Guthrie Theater of Minneapolis, the Bach Aria Soloists, Kansas City’s new music ensemble, newEar, Owen/Cox Dance Group, and the Kansas City Ballet. He co-founded the flamenco music and dance school Manos Rojas, the flamenco dance company Al-Andaluz and the independent record label Tzigane, which is home to four of Beau’s own recorded projects and many other fine artists.
He has served as music faculty at both Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas and Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri and has continued his own musical studies with such masters as Antonio Andrade, Miguel Rodriguez, Santiago Aguilar, Pedro Cortez and Luis Heredia of La Repompa de Málaga. His work in southern Spain, Istanbul, Turkey and involvement with the tango scene of Buenos Aires have cultivated a deep interest in the study of stylistic and cultural context that one cannot obtain from a solely academic environment.
Through his many diverse projects and ensembles, Beau has had the great fortune of performing in almost every state in the United States. In addition, Beau has toured extensively in Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Turkey and Russia. His music is regularly programmed on Radio1 BBC, “Segovia a Yupanki” Radio Nacional Argentina, and “All Songs Considered” on NPR. Currently, Beau has become an avid student of Ottoman Classical Music and was recently invited to perform on the Turkish oud at the Turkish Days Festival in New York City in Grand Central Station and Prospect Park.
Mark Southerland has used the saxophone as a medium for exploring
sound and performance for over 25 years. By reinterpreting the assumed stage
presence of a jazz musician, Southerland’s work has run the gamut of pop
culture and Rahsaan Roland Kirk tributaries, to wearable horn sculptures and
nomadic tent installations. His reinvention of brass and woodwind instruments,
circuit-bent electronic children’s toys, and eight track “scratching” turn his stage
work into an Alexander Caulder-esque circus of visual and sound possibilities.
His “bastardized” horns and costumes have been displayed as free-standing
sculptures at the Dolphin Gallery and Urban Culture Projects in Kansas City, the
OSP in Boston, and Bridge Art Fair at Art Basel Miami.
A Kansas City native, Mark Southerland has played locally, nationally,
and throughout Europe for over ten years. His ongoing projects, Snuff Jazz and
Wee Snuff involve a constantly changing cast of musicicians and performers.
Southerland recently finished residencies in both New Orleans and New York,
performing with a range of international musicians – Helen Gillet, Allison Miller,
James Singleton, Skerik and Simon Berz. He appears regularly with the award
winning Owen Cox Dance Ensemble and has produced 2 major performance
installation pieces with Jane Gotch. He is a natural host and collaborator with
other musicians and artists – Brian Haas, Eugene Chadbourne, Todd
Sickafoose, Beau Bledsoe, David Ford, Peregrine Honig, and Nick Cave.
Southerland continuously extends his possibilities, pushing the improvisatory
envelope of visual and auditory standards.
Melinda Hedgecorth began dancing at the early age of eight in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Her first love was ballet and as a child she performed in local theaters. In college she was exposed to more diverse dance forms including modern dance and flamenco. It was during this time that she went to New York to study at the school of modern dance ¨Alvin Ailey¨ and afterwards began to work with a company run by its former principal members David and Debbie St Charles. She also had the chance to study and perform with Tamara Carson who gave her key roles in her flamenco dance troupe ¨Ole!¨
In 1997 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and moved to Seattle to look for new opportunities. There she taught classes in ballet, modern dance and flamenco. She also continued to broaden her knowledge and narrow her focus by performing with Carmona Flamenco and other groups in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada while still appearing as a guest artist in Kansas City. It was at this time that she began to form close working relationships with the musicians that she performed with (one of these being founding member of Flamenco Mio, Beau Bledsoe). This greatly changed how she used rhythm in her movement and her ideas of interaction and improvisation onstage.
In 1999 Melinda began yearly trips to Madrid and Jerez to cultivate a more profound understanding of flamenco at the source. There she studied with talented teachers such as Mercedes Ruíz, Belén Fernández, and La Truco among many others. In 2004 she moved to Sevilla, Spain where she was highly influenced by her studies with Israel Galván and private classes with Isabel Bayon. She began to perform in the local flamenco tablaos in and around Sevilla, as well as participate in a series of performances of emerging young artists held in the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo.
While living in Sevilla and performing with a number of musicians and singers from Spain such as Javier Rivera, Jordi Flores, Juan Murube, and ¨La Chocolata¨, Melinda also maintains two groups founded in the United States, Flamenco Mío and Aliolé. Flamenco Mío in Kansas City (with guitarist Beau Bledsoe and saxophonist Mark Southerland) received the Lighton Foundation Grant in the summer of 2011 to travel to the south of Spain in a cultural exchange program culminating in performances in la Puebla Cazalla and Museo de Baile Flamenco Cristina Hoyos. In Morón de la Frontera they closed the first edition of the festival: Flamenco en la Frontera. Each year she travels to give workshops, teach at universities, and perform internationally.