• Dave "El Guapo" Giardina — guitarist / bandleader / foot tambourine

    Dave Giardina - guitarist/ bandleader/ foot tambourine

    Dave received his B.A. from St. Anselm College, He has also studied at Longy School of Music. With roots in the sixties folk- rock culture, Dave studied classical guitar with Sharon Isbin and Philip Defremery, Jazz with Sal Salvador and Bob Kobus and Flamenco with Mario Escudero and Paco Pena (Spain). He also played in master classes for John Williams, Manuel Barrueco, Ben Verdery, Abel Carlevaro, and Oscar Ghiglia. He has been teaching for many years on the faculties of Trinity, St. Joseph and Manchester Community Colleges, as well as privately.

    Dave is an award recipient member of the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism, he has performed extensively throughout the Northeast at schools, bandshells, major festivals, First Nights, clubs and both Connecticut casinos as a soloist and with ensembles he has formed such as Fiesta del Norte, Bamboleo, Goza, and the Typsy Gypsys. His compositions are featured on two releases by the CT Classical Guitar Society of which he is a founding member and Artistic Director.

    His latest release, Fiesta Grande, features music of Mexico.


     

    Dulce Santana — voice

    Dulce Santana - voice

    Dulce Santana was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Ever since she can remember, music was a part of her upbringing, as she comes from a very artistic family. She moved to the United States at a young age and has performed extensively throughout the United States.

    Her voice is mesmerizing and her music is touching. She writes and sings in English and Spanish. Dulce has a creative and innovative style that ranges from Jazz, Latin Jazz, ballads, salsa, and pop. Her voice is powerful and somehow intimate, sultry and sensual; and while her music is diverse, it is always filled with genuine sentiment.

    Her self-produced CD entitled "Forever", showcases the exquisite flavor of her original compositions which has received extensive radio airplay throughout the United States and South America.

    In addition to singing, Dulce is also an accomplished author and illustrator of children’s books.



    Karina"La Fresa" Hernandez — voice / violin / percussion

    Karina Hernandez - voice, violin, percussion

    Karina Hernandez was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. At the age of 8, she attended the prestigious music school Escuela Nacional de Musica de la UNAM. There she began her violin studies along with voice and music theory lessons. At the age of 19 she joined the Orchestra and Chorus of the Marines of Mexico.

    In 2000 she moved to the United States and resided in Maryland. There she joined Mariachi Las Americas (a group that had the privilege of performing for former President Bill Clinton). During 2002 she moved to Connecticut where she shortly became a member of Fiesta del Norte and Mariachi Connecticut. During her first years as a member of Fiesta del Norte she participated in important events such as Arts and Ideas in New Haven and performed at various universities, libraries, and venues throughout New England. In 2009, she joined The New Britain Symphony and The Connecticut Orchestra Valley, where she led the second violin section for two concert seasons.

    She is a former violin and vocal teacher at Guakia School of Arts in Hartford, Connecticut. Presently Karina is attending Central Connecticut State University, studying violin with Karin Fagerburgk, formerly of the Hartford Symphony.



    Jeff "The Fog" Taylor — saxophones / flute / percussion

    Jeff Taylor - saxophones / flute / percussion

    Jeff Taylor, a long-standing fixture in the Connecticut music scene, has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Some of his notable work includes playing tenor and lead alto saxophones for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, a position he held for over ten years. Jeff has also performed with such musical greats as: Paul Anka, Joan Rivers, Johnny Mathis, James Darren, Joe Piscopo, Bob Newhart, Al Martino and Carol Lawrence.

    Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Connecticut, where he also presently serves as a private woodwind instructor and clinician at their Community School of the Arts. Some of Jeff's other teaching credits include: Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts faculty; Hartford Camerata Conservatory Jazz Ensemble Director; and adjudicator for the Northern Region Middle School Music Festival and Connecticut All-State Music Festival.

    In addition to performing and teaching, Jeff is also an accomplished arranger, scoring multi-instrumental arrangements in a multitude of genres, including many of those in Goza's repertoire.



    Brian "Paquito Alvarez" Wallace — trumpet / flugelhorn / percussion

    Brian Wallace - trumpet / flugelhorn / percussion

    Brian has been playing trumpet since the age of nine. In high school, Brian was selected as lead trumpet for the Massachusetts Northeast District Jazz Band, under the direction of Jazz legend Herb Pomeroy; he also was chosen for the MA All-State Jazz Group. Brian then went on to attend the Berklee College of Music, studying under such notable trumpet players as Wayne Naus, Lin Biviano, Tiger Okoshi and Jeff Stout.

    After college, Brian spent 4 years touring with original funk group, Rippopotamus, a group that has shared the stage with national acts such as Queen Latifah, Phish, Fishbone, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys. Rippopotamus released five albums, wrote and performed the theme song for MTV's show, Singled Out, and were a featured act at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

    Brian currently performs with various groups, in a multitude of styles, recently backing up well known Puerto Rican salsa vocalists Kayvan Vega, Don Sonero and Luisito Carrion.



    Asher "Salsa Dancing Forbidden" Delerme — percussion

    Asher Delerme / percussion

    Asher Delerme is one of Connecticut’s most versatile and accomplished percussionists. As his formal training began in the distinguished World Music program at Wesleyan University, Delerme was already touring the United States with Abraham Kobina Adzenyah during his freshman year. While a junior, he’d make his pilgrimage to Ghana, West Africa to study Ghanaian drumming and dance, and upon graduation, he returned to his native New York City to study and perform Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian music.

    As a performer, Delerme has toured the United States, the Caribbean, Canada and Asia, and also played Carnegie Hall. A former artist-in-residence for the New York State Commission on the Arts, Delerme is currently listed with both the CT Commission for the Arts Contours and Young Audiences of America programs.

    Delerme has performed with luminaries the likes of Hilton Ruiz, Paquito De Rivera, Dr. Billy Taylor, Jay Hoggard, Foday Musa Suso, Marion Meadows, Pete Seeger, Jimmy Sabater and Miles Jaye, among many others. He has collaborated with singers and poets, as well as gospel, theater, dance, percussion and orchestral ensembles. His recording resume includes television and radio soundtracks, jingles and appearances on over 25 albums/CDs.



    Matt "Ubiquitous" Dwonszyk — bass

    Matt Dwonszyk / bass

    Matt Dwonszyk is an upcoming acoustic bass player from the Hartford, CT area. Starting on the electric bass at the age of eleven, Matt grew up playing numerous styles of music stemming from rock and roll. When he entered high school he was fortunate to attend the Academy of Performing Arts in Hartford where he began studying jazz with teachers such as Jimmy Greene, Kris Allen, Paul Brown, and Doug Maher. Through friends at the Academy, Matt started attending the Artist Collective founded by the great Jackie McLean. He soon started gigging around the Hartford area and was called to perform in Russia through the Academy of the Arts. Matt then started performing with Ed Fast & Conga-Bop where he was exposed to Latin music. He continues to perform with Ed Fast and is now attending the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music where he is studying with Professors Nat Reeves and Steve Davis. Matt has performed with Harold Maybern, Larry Willis, Steve Nelson, Dr. Eddie Henderson, John Farnsworth, Steve Davis, Arron Goldberg and many other musicians throughout the area.

    Recently Matt has formed his own group called the New Unity Band where his original compositions and arrangements are featured. He maintains a busy gig schedule and plans to move to New York after he finishes at Hartt.