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press release

Thom Moore with Julie Searles & Matthew Allen in a unique double-bill

THOM MOORE, the celebrated songwriting author of a multitude of songs the likes of Carolina Rua, The Scholar, Saw You Running, Still Believing, and Cavan Girl, returns to active gigging in Ireland in the company of two friends of his, the wonderful Julie Searles and Matthew Allen, the New England songwriting-performing duo who will be teaching World Music at UC Cork this spring and generally spreading their gospel of Brazilian-influenced songs throughout the country while here.

THOM first met them while he was back in Los Angeles in the 80's and fell in love with their "bossa-nova guitar + two vocals stylings" during their sojourn in California, which had them performing together up and down the coast. Since that time THOM went on to work in Russia, first on the INF Treaty and then as an English professor, while Matthew and Julie pursued academic careers in music, all of them gaining insight and new music along the way. The opportunity to hear them together should not be missed, as a splendid introduction to truly alternative World-influenced American music.

Julie Searles & Matthew Allen

Vocalist Julie Searles and guitarist Matthew Allen have been playing music together since the day they met in 1981. Their early repertoire focused on folk music and original compositions, and expanded soon to include jazz standards and the music of Brazil. Based initially in San Francisco, the acoustic duo played around the Bay Area, made two tours through the Pacific Northwest and recorded a cassette album, Collected, on their Suka Harp label in 1982 (being re-released on CD as Recollected in 2002). A rich community of Brazilian musicians and friends in San Francisco encouraged their interest in Brazilian popular music, which they took with them when they relocated to New England in 1983 to study ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Matthew completed his doctorate on the music and dance of South India, and Julie’s study of Brazilian popular styles led to a master¹s thesis on Latin American dance crazes. Their first CD, Cashews, Peppers and More (1994), features Brazilian songs and the music of jazz composer Bonnie Lake. Eight of the tracks on the album are intimate guitar - voice duets; on the remaining four the duo is joined by bassist & bass trombonist Chris Brubeck, and percussionist Eric Rosenthal.

Julie and Matthew moved to Norman, Oklahoma in 1995, to teach world music at the University of Oklahoma. Here they met innovative percussionist Armando Rivera and in 1999, the trio was chosen to join the Oklahoma Arts Council’s touring roster. Armando’s approach, combining the trap set, congas, and hand percussion, is a significant contribution to Searles & Allen's second CD, Time & Again (2000). Containing five original songs by the group and seven Brazilian compositions, Time & Again reflects the group’s growth from acoustic duet towards a band sound, with plenty of cuts that will make the listener want to get up and move.
In 1999 Julie and Matthew returned to New England to join the faculty at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. In Spring 2002 they are living in Cork while Matthew teaches music at UCC on a Fulbright fellowship. Their current performance repertoire includes folk-oriented and Latin-influenced original compositions, jazz standards, Brazilian bossa novas and sambas.

Performance reviews:

Searles and Allen bring us to an intimate little cantinha where they serve up a hearty musical feijoada (stew) with a mix of Brazilian pop, jazz, and American folk that is entirely their own. The nimble guitar work and vocals skip along with all the effervescence and freshness of a mountain stream. The effect is spicy, unpretentious, and contagiously delightful. Gage Averill, columnist, The Beat

When Julie and Matthew do the guitar and vocal thing it's as close as you can get to heaven without being dead.
Frank Butash, WWUH Radio and Hartford Late Night TV, Hartford, Connecticut

Listening to Matt & Julie has saved me lots of money on transportation. Within moments I'm magically transported to a soft beach with gentle breezes and sweet sounds of romance all around me. Ooooo-la-la, it feels so good.
- Ann Kamman, Unitarian Church Coffeehouse, Bloomington, Indiana

CD reviews:

The voice of Julie Searles and guitar of Matthew Allen comprise the bulk of this disc of Brazilian and jazz compositions. Both are masters of their instruments, and this is a wonderfully sparse and eloquent record. There is plenty of room for the fluid guitar lines and poetic Portuguese lyrics to be heard. By keeping things simple, these two have made something very special.
John Bobey in Dirty Linen #60, October-November 1999

Those of you who were around the San Francisco Folk Music Club in the early '80s will surely remember Matthew Allen and Julie Searles, two bright musical lights who in fact met at the club. Their "Cashews, Peppers & More" is an intimate and playful album of Brazilian and Brazil-influenced songs. Julie's voice is naturally beautiful and distinctive. It seems especially suited to the relaxed Brazilian styling; and her
Portuguese pronunciation is excellent. Matthew takes guitar playing to its most exalted heights. His masterful finger picking and deep chordal knowledge transports the listener to a mysterious world and leaves other guitar players puzzling over his voicings. There are a number of up-tempo songs on the album that successfully capture the jubilant carnival atmosphere found in Brazilian music. These cuts tend to include percussion and occasionally bass and bass trombone. My favorites, though, are the slower, moodier pieces with just voice and guitar. About a third of the songs are in English, including one written and sung by Matthew. All the lyrics are written out with English translations for your full appreciation. Julie and Matthew have obviously gotten deep inside the musical style. It's a style where delicacy and understatement evoke a greater emotional response. A style that is simultaneously urbane and vulnerable.
If you enjoy Brazilian music, you'll love this album.
- Sylvia Herold in The Folknik, Newsletter of the San Francisco Folk Music Club, May-June 1995

Select Performances:

In the Midwest & Southwest
Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington, Indiana
Summerwind Festival, Norman, Oklahoma
Festival of the Arts, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
First Night, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Placitas Artists Chamber Music Series, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Masala World Music Concert Series, University of Oklahoma
Tulsa Performing Arts Center

In New England & the Mid-Atlantic
Trinity College Summer Chamber Music Series, Hartford, Connecticut
Connecticut Family Folk Festival, Hartford, Connecticut
Sounding Board Coffee House, Hartford, Connecticut
Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
Montague Book Mill, Montague, Massachusetts
The Ironhorse, Northampton, Massachusetts
Summer Town Concert Series, Mt. Washington, Massachusetts
Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont
Caffé Lena, Saratoga Springs, New York
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York

In the San Francisco Bay Area
Noe Valley Ministry
Plowshares Folk Club
San Francisco Free Folk Festival
The Boarding House
The Other Café

U.S. Consulate, Madras (Chennai), India
Kala Akademi, Goa, India
University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa
International Library of African Music, Rhodes University, South Africa

Live Radio Appearances
WESU, Middletown, Connecticut
WWUH, Hartford, Connecticut
WPKN, Bridgeport, Connecticut
KPFA, Berkeley, California
WFIU and WFHB, Bloomington, Indiana

Television Appearances
Hartford Late Night, Hartford, Connecticut
Omni Lounge, Norman, Oklahoma

Thom, Julie and Matthew are appearing at:

The Spirit Store, Dundalk on Fri. 15th March
The Lobby, Cork on Wed. 24th April

Friday 15th March 2002 The Spirit Store, Dundalk
Wednesday 24th April 2002 The Lobby, Cork

More dates tbc

For further information please contact Madeleine Seiler at 01 2966041 or 087 2475791.

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The Headline Agency
Madeleine Seiler
39 Churchfields, Milltown, Dublin 14, Ireland Tel:+353 1 260 2560
Fax:+353 1 261 1879 Mob: +353 87 247 5791

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