2018 Zili Band Roster
Zili Founder and Band Leader, Kera M. Washington has been performing and teaching music, using Boston as her base, for over twenty years. Her first love is percussion, which she found while studying ethnomusicology at Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Brown University, and in Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts. She studies with master musicians from Haiti, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Brazil, and the United States, and has traveled to Haiti, Brazil, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Cape Verde, Vietnam, and Greece to advance her studies. She is on faculty in the Music Department of Wellesley College, and, there, is Artistic Director of Yanvalou Drum & Dance Ensemble. She has taught in Boston-area colleges and universities, including MIT and Northeastern University. She is also full-time Music Teacher at the Mather School in Dorchester, was elementary school music teacher at the Emerson School in Roxbury, at St. Peter School in Cambridge, and has presented numerous workshops and music residencies in Boston and surrounding area Public Schools through Arts In Progress and as a freelance artist. She was semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Hand Drumming Competition, and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Sept 2001. In addition to Zili Misik's releases, her work is featured on "Zili Roots" self-titled 2002 release; Lance Martin, forthcoming 2018; "America's Music: Songs From American History," produced by McDougal/Littel in May 2000; "Free to Dream," Patrice Williamson's 2002 release; and a self-produced CD, african roots, released by mama maembe, September 2001. She is also featured on Houghton/Mifflin's "The Best American Short Stories" 2001 release. Throughout her residence in Boston she has performed and toured internationally with Tjovi Ginen, featuring Haitian mizik rasin (roots music); with Mystic Jammers, reggae; with Sistahs of the Yam, all female R&B covers; with Patrice Williamson, jazz; and with In The House, 60s-90s Motown, R&B, & Funk. She founded "zili roots," performing roots music of the African diaspora, in 2000, which became "Zili Misik" in 2005.
Heron has been playing music since she was six years old, but she did not find passion for music until she began playing percussion while at Wellesley College. Having grown up in Richmond, Vermont, Heron now calls Boston home. Heron teaches music (and sometimes math) in two schools in Boston.
Soohee was born and raised in CheJu, South Korea. She was studying music and playing piano at an early age and went on to earn a degree in music composition from Ewha Woman’s University, South Korea. Upon graduation, Soohee began working editing music arrangements at a music publishing company, but her strong interest in Jazz and improvisational music led her to major in piano performance at Berklee College of Music. Soohee is currently performing music covering a wide variety of interests and styles. In addition to performing with Zili, Soohee provides private piano instruction and is the piano accompanist for the Boston-based women’s chorus ‘Voices Rising’.
Guitarist Lexi Havlin was born in Pueblo CO, grew up in Gardner MA and has since landed in Boston. She has been playing music her whole life starting with the piano and clarinet. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2005 for Guitar Performance. For more info on Lexi check out lexihavlin.com
Ivanna Cuesta Gonzalez
Ivanna Cuesta Gonzalez
Drummer, Composer and Arranger born in the Dominican Republic, October 26 of 1991. Ivanna began her studies in Music at the age of 12, and learned classical percussion while she was in high school. In 2009 she entered the National Conservatory of Music, with Drums also being her instrument, with Professor Rafael Díaz, and also taking classes in composition with professors Javier Vargas, and Antonio Brito.
Ivanna has had the opportunity to play and be part of different groups in DR such as Carijazz, Gustavo Rodriguez Trio, Javier Vargas, and Atre, The Great Band of the Conservatory of Music directed by Javier Vargas, Ejazzson, etc. Also in important events in DR such as Dominican Jazz Festival in Cabarete (2014 and 2015), Musical High School Music On Stage (2009) Soberano Awards 2015 (Big Band and Urban performances), Santo Domingo Jazz Festival Casa de Teatro ( 2014), Stella Artois Fest (2015), in addition to recording with personalities like Gustavo Rodriguez. Ivanna received a scholarship from the Berklee Five-Year Summer Program at Berklee On the Road 2015, and in the same year she won a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music
where she is currently pursuing a dual major in Performance and Contemporary Writing and Production.
Ivanna has had the opportunity to play in different events in Berklee (Women in Jazz, Black Gold Edition, Harry Potter BPC, Divas Latinas, Women Musician’s Network), and groups in Berklee with presentations by artists such as Leo Blanco(Regatta Bar), and Nando Michelin quartet. Also, she studied with Neal Smith, Henrique de Almeida, and others. Ivanna this year represented the percussion department (Berklee) in the Jazz workshop in the conservatory of Amsterdam taking classes with the
amazing drummer John Riley; also she is playing with groups like Zili Misik and Maqueque (three times nominated for the grammy).
21 year-old bassist, singer and producer, Sharon Renold, hailing from Switzerland, already has credits on 6 albums and performances with Jazz greats such as Randy Brecker, Mike Mainieri and Billy Cobham, to name a few. Sharon, a graduate of Berklee College of Music (‘18) will soon release a duo album with Tom Bar (HAGO, Bar Morach) in the electric Jazz style and a debut album in her own name of her original music.