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COPUS: Bio

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COPUS is a world beat ensemble that weaves together dynamic lyrical forms with passionate, musical landscapes. Formed by renowned poet Royal Kent and ASCAP award-winning composer Wendy Loomis, the group has performed at clubs, theaters, and festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. The band includes flutist Monica Williams, bassist Patrick Mahon, drummer Greg McRay, percussionist Omar Clark Taylor, along with pianist Wendy Loomis and spoken word artist Royal Kent. In the words of music critic Michael Allison, “COPUS could become legendary if given the opportunity to thrive!”

 

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ROYAL KENT’s love of poetry goes back several decades. Originally inspired by the legendary Last Poets,  he has performed with dancers, theatrical troupes, poets, and many bands including the Vancouver-based Band of Angels and Czech Republic-based Pseudo Pseudo. He has produced television, radio and stage shows, and is the co-founder of independent label Copus Music. As poet MC he has opened major reggae concerts for Peter Tosh, Toots & the Maytals, Steel Pulse and The Wailers. Kira Njinsky, daughter of the great Russian ballet star Njinksy, said: “Royal Kent recites poetry the way my father danced!”

 

 

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Composer/pianist WENDY LOOMIS has released 11 CDs of her compositions for COPUS, acoustic ensemble Phoenix Rising, piano/vocal duo AWE, as well as solo piano works. She won the ASCAPlus award for composition four times, has been nominated for 'best new age' and 'best classical' by the Hollywood Music and Media Awards for Phoenix Rising songs, has had her commissioned works performed by flute ensembles, and is currently writing music for independent film. "Composer/pianist Wendy Loomis paints with a broad palette of jazz, classical, new age, avant garde and world colors, fusing styles ranging from Debussy to Thelonius Monk."  (Kelley Dolan, NoHands Records). Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts and her master’s degree in Arts Education.

 

 

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Flutist MONICA WILLIAMS is a graduate of Eastman School of Music and has studied with several esteemed flutists including Bonita Boyd, Susan Levitin, and Brad Garner. She has performed with orchestras in Chicago, Rochester, and Cincinnati and has toured Europe and the United States. In addition to COPUS, Monica is a member of Phoenix Rising with Wendy; their 2 CDs, ‘Whispers’ and ‘Ascension’  have been receiving critical acclaim including the latter being nominated for ‘best acoustic album of the year’. Monica is the director of Flock of Flutes and teaches private flute at Civic Arts Center of Walnut Creek and her home studio in San Francisco.

 

 

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Bassist PATRICK MAHON was born and raised in San Francisco. Patrick studied jazz with Tony P. Miller, but he is primarily self-taught – giving him a creative facility and an eager ear for new ways of expression, including most recently using an unusual bowing technique on the electric bass. He joined COPUS in 2007, played on the ‘Jah Provide’ trilogy, and has performed at many Bay Area gigs as well as at the Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta. His influences include Charles Mingus, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, and Les Claypool. In addition to COPUS, Patrick has performed with bands Scaramanga, The Ambassadors, and Electric Color Wheel.

 

 

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Drummer GREG McRAY was fortunate to grow up in a musical family.  His father, saxophonist Robert McRay, played the jazz circuit both in the U.S. and throughout Europe.  Greg has studied with Benny Green, Jim Smith, and Tony Williams and performed with many California-based jazz, fusion, and rock bands.  Drawing on the powerful musicianship of Art Blakey, Max Roach, Bill Bruford, and Billy Cobham, Greg brought his creative drum playing to COPUS in the summer of 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

From the band COPUS came the independent record label, Copus Multimedia, that has been serving up conscious lyrics and music in San Francisco since 1999. Since the 'beat' era, the world's most prolific poets and musicians have called San Francisco home. Even in the new century, it is still a hotbed of great artistry. Copus Multimedia is a label dedicated to providing world class, independent artists with production and distribution opportunities while offering the market thought provoking content.

 

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