by Daniel Warren Hill
Alchemical Records Presents: The 5×5 Songwriting Showcase
Featuring musical performances by:
Elena Lacayo: https://www.elenalosfulanos.com/
Mike and Melinda Hamilton: http://mikehamiltonband.com
Jason Mendelson: http://jasonmendelsonmusic.com/
Petty Indulgences: https://www.pettyindulgences.net/
Master Sword: http://www.masterswordband.com/
The 5×5 Songwriting Showcase is a unique live event in that each event features an array of talent from around the Washington DC region. We film each live event in order to produce video and audio epsiodes which highlight each individual performer.
About Elena Lacayo
Elena is frontwoman for Elena & Los Fulanos, a bilingual folk rock band based in Washington, DC. Since 2011, they have been creating music that’s from twangy, heartbreak-themed folk American, to soothing, introspective, violin-infused Latin rock. Influenced by front-woman Elena Lacayo’s experience growing up in two cultures (Nicaraguan and American), Elena & The Fulans creates a world where language and tradition meld with catchy melodies and inventive chords to enhance appreciation for diversity in an increasingly multi-cultural world. Their debut album, Poisonous Honey , earned a Washington Area Music Association (WAMMIE) nomination for Best Latin Recording in 2014 and their second album Volcano , (2017) has been hailed as”a bilingual folk album for the resistance” by the Washington City Paper .
About Mike and Melinda Hamilton
Melinda fell in love with the guitar at age 10. The folk/rock music of the 60s was perfect for learning to sing and play guitar. She loved the sounds of Peter, Paul, and Mary; Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Carol King, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell. In the 70s and 80s she was heavily influenced by the group vocals performed by bands like The Beatles, The Eagles, CSNY and Fleetwood Mac. It was a magical time for music and formed the basis for her musical style. In 1981 she met Mike Hamilton and fell in love with his music. Melinda and Mike formed the bands Desire and No Doubt Crypto and were quite successful performing in the mid-Atlantic region throughout the 80s and early 90s.
Mike Hamilton grew up in Titusville, a small town in the mountains of Northwestern Pennsylvania. In the 1960s he was listening to Jimmy Rogers, the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Stanley Brothers, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the British Invasion. Mike started playing music in high school and formed a band and began writing songs. He formed the band DESIRE which evolved into the band NO DOUBT CRYPTO, recorded the NO DOUBT CRYPTO album featuring original music and founded the Joe Bag O’ Donuts (BMI) music publishing company. In the next decade he turned his talents to producing and engineering his own music and regional acts around the mid-Atlantic region. He was the chief engineer for Roar Productions Recording Studios in Columbia, Maryland and founded his own production company, BigHouse Productions. Mike opened Mission Road in 2003 to record his original music and engineer and produce projects for independent and regional releases.
Between 1995 and 2013 Mike and Mel recorded and released the following CDs: Beggars & Poets, Appalachia, Open Book and Pardon My Confusion, Can You Direct Me To The Other Side Of Nowhere?. In 2016, they released “2 Stupid 2 Lip Sink Chronicles”.
About Jason Mendelson
Jason Mendelson is an Alexandria composer and multi-instrumentalist whose MetroSongs project has captured hearts and feet across the D.C. Metro region, infusing the history of each location with a musical flavor all its own. When he’s not playing electric 12-string guitar and singing, he can usually be found on various instruments supporting local acts like Selling Fairfax by the Pound, Alex Parez & the Hell Rojos, Maryjo Mattea & a Pile of Dudes, Motion Quotient, or Jonny Grave & the TombsTones, and has performed on stages all over the area, like the Electric Maid, Black Cat, 9:30 Club, and Kennedy Center Millenium Stage. Jason’s studio, An Undisclosed Location, is responsible for involvement in several local projects from bands like The Lucky So & So’s, The Iris Bell, the Clara Barton Sessions, Two Dragons & a Cheetah, and more.
In June 2019, Jason began releasing new music by way of a project simply called Scenes, which includes: “Where They Make Rum” as well as “Thief In The Night”.
About Petty Indlugences
Petty Indulgences formed in 2016 to play a benefit show supporting local artists in DC’s theater community. We stayed together because we love making music. Our goal always has been and always will be making the best music we can while telling stories that are too often left untold. Includes the talents of: Quique Cunningham on Lead Vocals & Effects, Phil Stack on Guitar, Christopher Herring on Percussion and Vocals, and Jam Grant on Bass and Vocals.
About Master Sword
A 5-piece American progressive power metal band inspired by music from The Legend of Zelda series, Master Sword celebrates Nintendo’s series in a way no one else ever has. Taking influence from an array of hard rock to progressive metal favorites, Master Sword has crafted tracks which uniquely capture the spirit of the games and molded that spirit into impressively rockin’ heavy metal tunes.
“If you like power metal you owe it to yourself to get down with the Master Sword.” – The Metal Observer
“If you are a Legend of Zelda fan, you owe it to yourself to check out Master Sword, even if you do not consider yourself a fan of rock or metal music. Zelda fans around the world have paid tribute to the works of Koji Kondo by putting their own spin on the music, and this is far more than just a rock version of the Zelda theme, or game music done with guitars.” – Christiana Skye/Script the Darkness
Following a successful kickstarter campaign, their first full-length album “Shadow and Steel” was released January 2, 2018. The band has presently launched a new Kickstarter campaign for their forthcoming Sophomore record: The Final Door.
Daniel Warren Hill is an American musician, writer, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the frontman for Washington DC area Alternative Rock band YellowTieGuy, as co-founder of Capitol Groove Collective, and increasing the exposure of artists on a global scale through his work with Alchemical Records.
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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