About Us

MERCEDES INEZ MARTINEZ
VOCALS. GUITAR. JARANA. ACCORDION. ZAPATEADO
 

Mercedes is a founding member of Son Monarcas and a multi-media artist from El Paso,Tx based out of Chicago,IL. Mercedes works within the forms of visual art, music and theatre. She was trained at Loyola University Chicago and currently acts as the Artistic Director of MAGI Cultural Art Center. She works as music instructor in general music and latin studies in music as well as gives lessons in piano, guitar, voice and accordion for Pulse Beat Music as part of the Chicago Public School District. She is also a free-lance musician and jazz singer, visual artist and scenic/sound designer for theatre.

IREKANI FERREYRA
VIOLIN. REQUINTO. HARP. JARANA. VOCALS
 

Founding member of Son Monarcas & Tarima Son and leading figure in Chicago's vibrant son jarocho music scene, Irekani is steeped in Mexico's traditional music. His talent as an instrumentalist in these styles allow him to move easily between jarana, violin, harp, guitarra de son, and guitar. He has performed in some of the city's most acclaimed live music venues, in addition to prestigious events outside Chicago like the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.​

SAMMIE TORRES
Percussion: CONGAS. BONGOS. CAJON. GUIRO. CLAVE. SHEKERE
 

Chicago's very own Sammie Torres is one of the busiest percussionists on the Music scene today.
Included in the list of locations for his many Percussion Work Shops are The University of Chicago, De Paul University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he instructed students on Latin American Rhythms and elaborated on the History behind these rhythms and thier origins. Sammie has performed with Ever Love Recording Artist D-Erania,Rico, The Bradley Young Orchestra , David E Dallison, Pual Seabar, Fandanguero, A Flor De Piel and his own Pilzen Art Ensemble.
He has played at the Chicago Jazz festival, Jazz Show Case, Fitzgerald's in Berwin, House of Blues, The S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, The Chicago Historical Society and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Over the past 20 years he's done countless performances and recordings that include Ronnie Laws, Ralfie Cruz, Sally Station, Paul Cebar and The Milwaukeeans, Walter Penaranda, Andrew Distal and the one and only D-Erania.

KITT LYLES

BASS  

 

A graduate of Northwestern University (BM Jazz Studies, 2013), Kitt Lyles is an active performer, composer and educator in the Chicago jazz community. His performing career has brought him to play renowned jazz clubs around North America, Latin America and Asia, as well as major festivals such as the Chicago Jazz Festival (Chicago, IL), Festival Espontáneo (Chiapas, MX) and the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Festival (Chicago, IL). In 2015, Lyles released his debut album, “Real Talk", featuring all original compositions; “it’s success rests as much on his skills as a writer as his serving as a beacon for the sextet's able rhythm section…his colourful themes… are by and large bright and engaging" (Jack Bowers, All About Jazz). Kitt has performed with prominent ensembles and individuals of the music scenes in Chicago, South Carolina, New York City and Mexico such as the Roy McGrath Quartet, Black Diamond, Gustavo Cortiñas, Victor Goines, Justin Copeland, Adam Thornburg, Hans Luchs, Amos Hoffman, Mike Allemana, Yuri Hevia, Tony Normand, and Gabriel Puentes amongst many others.

BRYAN PARDO

CLARINET, SAXOPHONE, PIANO, ACCORDION  

Bryan Pardo is an active musical presence in the Midwest. He is currently on faculty at Northwestern University and has performed with musicians in a wide range of styles from avant-jazz (Urbana, Spider Trio), circus-punk (Mucca Pazza), klezmer (Into the Freylakh), latin (Carpacho y su Super Combo, Ecos del Pacifico), Middle Eastern music (Swing Hakim, University of Chicago Middle Eastern Music Ensemble) and gypsy-jazz (Dr Swing, Paris La Nuit) When he is not performing, he can be found building things like musical search engines, automatic music video creators and music production software.

EMILY KUHN

TRUMPET  

 

Emily Kuhn is a jazz trumpet player based in Chicago, IL, where she is active as a bandleader, sidewoman, and educator. Her 9-piece chamber jazz ensemble, Helios, plays original music influenced by jazz, classical music, and a variety of folk and popular music genres, arranged for a jazz rhythm section, horns, voice, and string quartet. Outside of this band, Emily has played regularly with a wide variety of ensembles across the jazz and Latin scenes in Chicago, including Latin fusion band Son Monarcas, Kitt Lyles’ Real Talk Collective, Gustavo Cortiñas Snapshot, Sam Pilnick Nonet, and Erik Skov Liminality. She teaches music in public and private elementary schools throughout the city through the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, among other organizations. She has a BM and BA in Jazz Trumpet Performance and Environmental Studies from Oberlin, where she took part in the Double Degree program.

ROBERTO FERREYRA

Percussion: GUIRO. CLAVE. VOCALS. AZTEC DRUM/DANCE. JARANA.  

 

Roberto is the founder of Nahui Ollin, a group of a spiritual dancers called “Concheros” or Aztec dancers and member of the musical troupe “Tarima Son”dedicated to play afro-caribbean Mexican music. He graduated from the national School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking "La Esmeralda". Roberto Ferreyra, a Mexican painter and musician who actively works to contribute his artistic talents to the Chicago community. He is co-founder of Colibri Gallery in Pilsen.Ferreyra has been an active artist and educator in Mexico as well as Chicago working with different organizations implementing art in the schools like a tool for teachers and students to understand and compliment the curriculum.

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© 2014 by Son Monarcas