Roots Cultural Center and Providence Inner City Arts (PICA) have announced plans for Sound Session 2012 (website:, July 12-15, 2011. This multi-genre music festival is entering its eighth year, with music, dance and a multitude of exciting entertainment for everyone. This year, a new segment for children and their parents, “KID CITY,” has been added. This event is in collaboration with Providence iCity Arts! for Youth, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

Focusing on local and regional “Homegrown” talent has become the hallmark of Sound Session under the direction of Roots Cultural Center. In fact, more than 6,000 people attended the 2011 festival, which included some of the most recognized names in the area. “Throughout the year, Roots has given a select group of talented local artists a chance to perform, something they don’t always have an opportunity to do,” said Len Cabral, president of PICA. He continued, “In one weekend, Sound Session will pack in many of these performers, and more. We’re thrilled that the City of Providence and the community are as excited as we are.”

The streets will be rocking. Stages will be stationed on Westminster Street, from Union to Mathewson, and inside Roots Cultural Center. The Hotel Providence front yard will be the site of “Kid City” as well as Sunday brunch, which is an extension of Roots’ Tuesday Night program, “Simply Jazz.”

Tickets for Sound Session are $7 per day for adults and $3 per day for children under 12.

The schedule to date, is as follows:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pat Braxton in A Tribute to Women in Jazz

Quickly becoming a trilling and engaging woman in jazz as a vocalist, composer, recording artist and entertainer, Braxton has been nominated for The New England Music Awards, The London Urban Music Awards and the Boston Music awards in the Jazz category. Braxton has often been compared to Billie Holiday – her voice and features are strikingly similar. Her presence and emotional appeal continue to thrill audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures.

Friday, July 13th

The Gnomes

The Gnomes spirited songs and instrumentals encompass original music as well as Celtic, Klezmer, Scandinavian, Caribbean, Asian and Latin styles. A great dance band, audiences are up on their feet whenever they play. Comprised of some of Rhode Island’s best-known musicians: Phil Edmonds (Irish Whistle and Button Accordion); Cathy Clasper-Torch (Fiddle, Keyboard, Er-hu, Vocals); Michael Fischman (Guitar, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Banjo); Peter Breen (Bass, Vocals); and Ron Schmitt (Percussion) – the group is a perfect combination of each artist’s varied and extensive musical backgrounds. The result has been described as “exotic, fresh, and unique.”

Original Jelly Roll Soul

Original Jelly Roll Soul is based far off the jazz map, in Foster, Rhode Island. But that hasn’t stopped the group yet. Think Louis Armstrong meets Charles Mingus for lunch in Cuba, or Trinidad perhaps. The group is influence by many sub-genres of jazz, including New Orleans, swing, jump, hard bop, and Afro-Cuban. They also draw from blues, gospel, ragtime, calypsos and other Caribbean styles. Impossible to pigeonhole, OJRS keeps the listener on their toes, interested and eager to see what’s next. OJRS consists of five musicians: JP Beausoleil (Vocals, Cornet, Percussion); Leo Charpentier (Guitar, Percussion, Vocals); Gary St. Germain (Drums, Percussion); Kurt Meyer (Upright Bass, Percussion, Vocals); and Jim Poland (Piano).

Saturday, July 14th

Akwaaba Ensemble

The Akwaaba Traditional African Drum and Dance Ensemble, based in Manchester, NH was formed in 2002 by Theo Martey, bringing together a group of friends who have been drumming and dancing together for many years in Ghana and the United States. The Ensemble’s energetic and engaging performances are a reflection of their name, which means ‘welcome’ in the Twi language of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana. At each performance the Ensemble brings West African “Highlife Music”, drumming and dance to vivid life, holding sway with the rich and subtle rhythmic patterns and styles specific to different tribal groups of West Africa. The group has toured internationally and performed in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Ireland and United Kingdom. Akwaaba will present special workshops during Sound Session in the community. Their performance during Sound Session has been funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Los Pleneros del Coco

Los Pleneros del Coco, New England’s premier plena ensemble, offers up a lively percussive brew of authentic toe-tapping and heart-stopping dance music from Puerto Rico. The 14-member band which is based in Worcester, frolics through a high-spirited show of spicy Latin rhythms: bomba, salsa, merenque, jazz/Latino, musica jibara, and calypso…plus their specialty, plena. The group will lead a workshop in the community during Sound Session, and its performance has been sponsored by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Brass Attack

Brass Attack, based in Rhode Island, is one of Southern New England’s finest live dance bands. A a nine-piece band featuring four horns, a rhythm section, and a lead vocalist, the group performs the hits of artists such as Tower of Power, Chicago, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Glen Miller, Van Morrison, Blood Sweat and Tears, and classic hits from the 1930’s up to today. Members of the band have performed with prominent national acts such as The Tonight Show Band, Tavares, Ray Charles, The Four Tops, The Temptations, NRBQ, Dizzy Gillespie, and Aretha Franklin to name just a few. Brass Attack has also shared the stage with Earth Wind and Fire, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and NRBQ. Known for its keen sense of entertainment and professionalism, as well as keeping audiences dancing all night long, Brass Attack is truly an exciting and welcome addition to Sound Session.

The Agents

Formed in 1995, The Agents proudly displays the skyline of Providence on its logo, and calls itself, “The small town with the big sound.” Originated by Jason Dalomba (Vocals, Guitar) and Dawn Maguire (Trumpet), they joined forces with Frank Moniz (Sax) and Jason “Deuce” Medeiros (Bass) to take their energetic blend of ska, rock steady, and reggae throughout the U.S.A, while never forgetting that their roots are in Rhode Island. John Letourneau (Guitar) and Krys Jackson (Drums) have recently come on board. The group has released two albums: “For All The Massive,” and “401” (2000), which displays eclectic influences and a special mixture of style and sounds. Their next album is due out in Summer 2012.

Saturday, July 14th

We Own Land

Newport Rhode Island’s rock ‘n roll group, We Own Land formed in 2010, by Craig Ferris (Vocalist), Jonny Jones and Travis Ward (Dual Lead Guitarists), Dan Kinsella (Bass Guitar) and Jim Stearns (Drums). These five friends, all from the same area, have overlapping yet distinctly different musical influences, and have shared the same stage as band mates and openers/headliners with one another at different times in a multitude of different bands such as Positive Outlook, Nerve, Dead Beat, Instinct, Backwash, Bone, Mother Jefferson, Order 66 and Kingpin. We Own Land creates and plays music they love, and love to listen to, which is reflected in their high energy shows.

The Silks

Formed in the summer of 2010, The Silks have burst onto the music scene in New England with ferocity and enthusiasm. Front man and songwriter Tyler James Kelly has assembled a cast of musicians who blend a unique sound, and who have had the privilege of sharing the stage with such groups as Deer Tick, The Cave Singers, Brown Bird, and The Devil Makes Three.

Saturday Afternoon, July 14th


A special collaboration with Providence iCity Arts! for Youth, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, with workshops and performances.

Joe’s Backyard Band

Special Performance by Joe’s Backyard Band, a wonderful, crowd-pleasing group, that plays a festive musical mix for all ages to enjoy together. Based in Edgewood, just south of Providence, the group plays at festivals, lawn concerts, libraries, yacht clubs, record stores, museums, and occasionally a real backyard! A typical hands-clapping, toes-tapping set might include “Jambalaya” (Hank Williams), “Iko Iko” (The Dixie Cups), “Route 66” (Rolling Stones-style), a Bob Marley song, something from Motown, traditional tunes like “Mama Don’t Allow” plus a bunch of original songs that fit right in. The band’s rootsy sound incorporates a wide range of styles – blues to pop, rock, folk, funk and reggae – and a wide range of instruments, including harmonica, flute, saxophone and keyboard, as well as guitar, drums, bass and harmonies.

The mission of the Roots Cultural Center is to provide a center for people to meet, converse, and interact while experiencing vibrant performances and art exhibitions of the highest quality. Under the auspices of Providence Inner City Arts, the Center will also provide outreach through the arts to the community at large. Of paramount importance is the role that the Roots Cultural Center will play in bringing together the diverse people of Providence and Rhode Island together and in encouraging and provoking thought, inspiring hope and creating broad community understanding.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons