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2023 Music Lineup

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Bakithi Kumalo & The Graceland 

full band performance

Bakithi Kumalo’s bass playing can be found in the heart and soul of the modern-day anthems that have shaped our sense of music and culture as we know it. Ranked among the top 50 bass players in the world by Bass Player Magazine, Bakithi Kumalo is a five-time Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist.

Born in the Soweto township of Johannesburg, South Africa and surrounded by relatives who loved music and actively performed, Kumalo landed his first job at the age of seven filling in for his uncle's bass player. Kumalo worked as a session musician in South Africa during the 1970s and early 1980s, eventually becoming a top session bassist and accompanyinginternational performers during their South African tours.


In 1985, Kumalo was introduced to Paul Simon by producer Hendrick Lebone during the recording sessions for Simon's Graceland album. Kumalo then traveled with Simon to New York to finish the album and after the accompanying premier tour, spent several years commuting between Soweto and New York City before permanently settling in the United States. Kumalo has toured regularly with Simon throughout his career and has recorded with and performed alongside many other artists such as Joan Baez, Cyndi Lauper, Hugh Masekela, Herbie Hancock, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Mickey Hart, and Disney’s The Lion King.


Bakithi has released several albums as a solo artist and most recently has been working alongside producer Maxfeld Gast and Militia Hill in creating his upcoming album “What You Hear Is What You See,” featured on the Ropeadope label, due to premiere in the fall of 2021.


full band performance

A mystical live improve set filled with power and magic. Get ready to be moved to the core by Robyn's lyrical genius along with the full band.

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Great Time

Great Time doesn't want to fit in a box. Living up to their name, the band just wants to have a great time making the music they want. Tired of being advised to "pick a lane" by some of their industry peers, Great Time sets out to create music that celebrates their wide-ranging sound, incorporating genres like synth-pop, electronic, jazz, punk, rock and R&B.


Their most recent releases are a series of EPs titled “Sounds Like ____”. The band had the idea to turn the EP titles into a Mad Libs type of game "so that someone could put their own adjective or descriptor for the EP in the blank space," explains singer/multi-instrumentalist Jill Ryan. The projects explore some of the different sounds and styles that influence Great Time. “Some people thought [our 2018 debut LP] Great Album was all over the place, so with the ‘Sounds Like’ series, we decided to lean even further into our multi-genre tendencies and place the option of categorizing or putting us in a box on the listener.”


True to their vision, each EP carries a different sound. On Vol. 1, Great Time create a blissed out atmosphere, with R&B and neo-soul melodies. For Vol. 2, the band zones in on its electronic and pop influences, creating a livelier atmosphere that feels ripe for dancing. Whereas Vol. 3 shows a guitar-heavy, more traditionally rock-sounding side to the three-piece group, ranging from punk to acoustic folk. 


The band didn't want to reflect their different sides through only music; the members also dressed up in the aesthetics to match each EP for the visual components. 


"We got into more than just a sonic place, but also a visual and vibe place. That was fun," says bassist/producer Zack Hartmann. "For each EP, we all kind of changed our look, changed our vibe, to kind of fit the genre or sound that we were going for," explains drummer/producer Donnie Spackman. "I dyed my hair. I shaved my head. I had a beard. It’s fun to get even further into, 'What’s the role that we’re trying to fill with that?' Even more than just the musical aesthetic. Like, we make a music video. 'What’s the visual aesthetic?'" 


Music videos became a way for the band to introduce the personalities that correspond to each EP. For "I Could Be," a thrashing, energetic track off Vol. 3, Great Time enlisted the perfect person to direct the video: Mannequin Pussy's Marisa Dabice. Ryan met Dabice while playing saxophone with Japanese Breakfast for their five-show run at Philadelphia's Union Transfer, striking up a friendship. Though the band usually makes their own music videos, Dabice was the right fit for this project. 


Fitting the playful energy of Mannequin Pussy's own music videos, the video for "I Could Be" parodies late night talk shows, featuring Great Time dressed in glam-punk outfits as they’re subjected to a terrible interview, before taking over the set and putting on a destructive performance. "It’s like we’re stepping into that role of angsty, anti-authority rockers," says Spackman.

Great Time is fully independent. Each record is self-produced in the band's own studio, which they built together after graduating from New York City's The New School in 2015. The members launched a Kickstarter campaign, reaching their goal to create a fully-functioning studio within their home that could be used by bands in the tri-state area. 


Throughout their career, the band has opened for plenty of notable acts, including Japanese Breakfast and Caroline Rose, joining the latter on a tour across the East Coast and Midwest. Great Time was also the house band for Winnifred Coombe’s comedy show “The Violet Hour” in 2020 pre-pandemic, that featured Saturday Night Live cast members Alex Moffatt and Melissa Villaseñor. The band's live shows reimagine their discography, bringing new elements like resampling and looping while keeping the mesmerizing energy from their recordings. 


Great Time most recently released a live album that features material from the Sounds Like Series, allowing fans and new listeners who haven't had the opportunity to see them perform enjoy how the band stunningly transforms their songs for live performances. The band is currently working on their second full length studio album.

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West Philadelphia Orchestra

The West Philadelphia Orchestra is a unique ensemble in today’s musical field. According to Stranded in Stereo, “The music has a magical quality, and we mean that in the darkest and most arcane sense of the word.” Founded in 2006 as a weekly neighborhood Balkan music workshop replete with strings, WPO has evolved into a tight knit brass band.

WPO’s brass and drums merge with the fusion of Bulgarian/American vocalist Petia Zamfirova to ignite parties with joy and love through infectious dance – “Despite a sizeable portion of the crowd likely not understanding the various languages of the southeastern Europe region, there always seems to be a supernatural synergy between the crowd and the band.” (Jump Philly) WPO is known for ecstatic parties where the band’s mashup blend of Balkan brass, improvisation, and American beats has deepened with age.

WPO was founded in 2006 with the purpose of studying and performing music from the Balkans. The band specifically developed repertoire in Romanian horo, Bulgarian folk, and most significantly Romani brass band traditions from Serbia and North Macedonia. We have been fortunate to share stages and host Roma luminaries, including Fanfare Ciocarlia, Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra, and most recently in May of 2019 the Dzambo Agusevi Orchestra, which World Cafe’s David Dye said was, “the most ecstatic party I’ve been to in decades.” WPO and the Dzambo Agusevi Orchestra collaborated in studio for NPR, WXPN, The Key, and posterity while they were visiting, featuring segued arrangements of the Esma Redžepova classic Ibrahim and the Macedonian pop/Romani wedding banger, Kes Kes.

The future of WPO is found in our mission to spread the special blend of music we make with the world by continuing to fuse our work here at home and abroad with our original music. WPO has released two full length LP’s, one EP, and one live collection commemorating our tenure at the now shuttered Tritone. WPO is currently in a fertile stage of recording and self producing a slew of original material.

WPO is Petia Zamfirova, Hayley Varhol, Dawn Webster, Gregg Mervine, Chad Brown, Larry Toft, Elliott Levin, Adam Hershberger, Jimmy Parker, Larry Goldfinger, Frank Rein, David Fishkin, Brendan Cooney, and Daniel Stern.


full band performance

A mystical live improve set filled with power and magic. Get ready to be moved to the core by Robyn's lyrical genius along with the full band.

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