Porto Seguro featuring Alva Anderson
Time & Location
About the Show!
Porto Seguro's members met through their connections with the Hungry Monk Music Studio in West Ashley but, it was not until they began working together, that they discovered three had attended the New England Conservatory in Boston. Each member hails from a different home town and each has developed quite a different resume. And although they had no idea they shared a common alma mater, they are all delighted to call the Lowcountry home. They are playing music that is definitely not classical but it puts their Conservatory trained playing chops and years of honing ensemble skills to good use.
Tom Noren,(guitar) with a degree in guitar performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, is the Brazilian expert in the group. He grew up in Rio listening to a mix of English and American rock, classical music and Brazilian "MPB" (popular music). When he began his guitar studies he became a fan of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazil's most well known composer. Villa-Lobos drew his inspiration from choro and other Brazilian folk musics. Villa-Lobos, a guitarist, was known to join musical gatherings in the bars of Rio, called "Rodas de Choro" and perform with well known "Choroēs" (musicians who play Choro). Noren's interest in Villa-Lobos has led him back to his beloved Brazilian roots. Besides being thrilled to be sharing the music with the band, Noren maintains the busy Childbloom Guitar Studio in Mount Pleasant and present school outreach programs that combine music, technology and science.
Susan Conant (classical and Celtic flutist, recorder player and composer) was looking to expand her understanding of Brazilian music which she had first learned while playing in a Chicago-based South American folk ensemble. She is delighted to find that Tom and John shared a similar passion. Conant grew up playing American and British folk music when she spent her summers at a folk dance and folk music camp in Plymouth, MA. She went on to study classical flute performance with Claude Monteux at the New England Conservatory. Conant has years of experience playing classical and Celtic chamber music and working with diverse groups of musicians. She caught the composing bug about 1999 and has since released two discs of her original chamber music.
When Tom and John Holenko (mandolin) first began sharing the Brazilian music, they were surprised to find that both had studied with David Leisner at NEC. John Holenko is well-known locally for his membership in the band, The Hungry Monks and as a founder of the Hungry Monk Music School in West Ashley. His expert bluegrass and folk mandolin can often be heard at the Pour House and other local venues playing a wide variety of music from Grateful Dead covers to original bluegrass and country influenced tunes. John is also a talented classical guitarist and respected teacher.
Jonathan Gray (bass) originally from Durham, N.C., believes in living in the moment and enjoying yourself, and he appears to follow this philosophy on stage. Although he says his "knees aren’t so great anymore" from jumping around as he plays, and the smile on his face causes his cheeks to hurt, he is usually "that happy," and his smile is genuine. A long-time member of the band, Jump Little Children, Grey can now be seen backing up a host of Charleston area bands. The first instrument Gray played was the piano, and he also played the drums and guitar before his dad, who played bass, gave him one when he was 16. Gray's studied early on at the Hungry Monk Studio and has a degree from the College of Charleston. His multiple talents are put to good use as a music educator with Science Songs Rock and other school enrichment programs.