Boulder’s Ginga, a Brazilian-Venezuelan ensemble, brings a vibrant new energy to the Colorado music scene. Their music resonates with the lively sounds of Latin percussion fused with flute, guitar, bass and sax - performed by a group of very talented musicians.Colorado Magazine Online videotaped their recent performances at both the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder and at the Longmont Jazz Festival.

Greg LaLiberte and Francisco Marquez are co-leaders of the group. Greg plays flute, saxophone and percussion and does vocals. Francisco, specializes in guitar, percussion and vocals; guitarist, Bill Kopper, also plays percussion and does vocals; Gonzalo Teppa comes in on bass, percussion, vocal, and cuatro - a small Latin American guitar-like instrument; and Raoul Rossiter is on drums, percussion and vocals. Also sitting in with the group, when CMO videotaped them at the St. Julien, was Bijou Barbosa on bass.

Ginga was originated by Greg and Francisco, who had been playing together as a duo for several years, before Ginga became as a full-sized ensemble a year ago. Greg explained the group's name "Ginga" as a Portuguese word meaning "to rock back and forth." He said, "It is used to describe the energy and attitude a woman displays when she dances the samba. It is also the first movement of Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial arts dance form."

The ensemble performs traditional Brazilian and Venezuelan music, which Greg described as, "...lively instrumental and vocal music rooted in percussion and heavily influenced by African and European music. It is based primarily on the various syncopated clave patterns that are at the heart of that sound."

He added, “Our material comes from various collections of Brazilian music and recordings.” Some original material is also created by members of the ensemble. “Bill Kopper and Gonzolo Teppa have written a number of pieces we have played and Francisco has also written some of our music.“ He further commented, “There’s something very elemental about the feel of the Latin American music we play. There’s a certain magical quality in it that is very energizing.” Greg said, the group is first and foremost a concert ensemble, but also plays for dances, parties, and other gatherings. He also emphasized, “The band member’s primary focus is always on a continuing study of music - as we continue to perfect our sound”.

Greg started playing music as a child and originally played the oboe. He studied jazz from an early age and had always been exposed to Brazilian music, then later, Venezuelan music. He holds a degree in classical flute and jazz saxophone from the University of Minnesota and a Masters Degree in classical flute from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His style has been influenced by several musicians, particularly the Swedish Saxophone player, Jan Gabarek, who recorded with the ECM label and played with jazz Pianist, Keith Jarret for many years . He has also been highly influenced by Marco Grenados, a nationally known Venezuelan flutist . Greg performs regularly throughout Colorado and the Midwest as a classical and jazz musician. He has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Auditorium in Denver , the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, The Temptations, The Four Tops, the Boulder Philharmonic, Rita Moreno, Barry Manilow, the Opera Orchestra of Albuquerque, Paul McCandless, Art Lande, Kai Eckhardt, Ty Burhoe, Bill Douglas, and his pianist mother, Patricia LaLiberte, in the LaLiberte Duo.

He was a flute instructor at Colorado State University for four years in the late 90’s and was also a saxophone instructor at the University of Colorado Denver, during the same time period. He has won several competitions with the National Flute Association. In addition to performing, Greg also provides private instruction through NAROPA University in Boulder. Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, he has lived in Colorado since 1989.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brasil, Francisco Marquez, who plays guitar and percussion is also a vocalist. He has been playing in the Boulder area since June of 2000. Francisco grew up in the Chevy Chase, Maryland and attended Colby College in Maine, where he earned a liberal arts degree in music. He has been a guitarist for many years and more recently has started playing pandeiro percussion. (The pandeiro, according to Wikipedia - is a type of hand frame drum on which the tension of the head can be tuned to allow the player a choice of high and low notes. Also, the metal jingles are crisper, drier and less sustained on pandeiros than on a tambourine - which provides clarity when swift, complex rhythms are played.)

Boulder guitarist, Bill Kopper, who grew up on the Mississippi River, is also a percussionist and joins in on Ginga’s vocals. His extensive musical experience includes R&B, pop music, jazz and blues. He commented, “I also love the music of Brazil and have gotten into a branch of it called Choro - a sort of jazz music in Brazil. “ He played for several years with Billy Tolles, “ a masterful tenor saxophonist. “ He said he has also had, “...a long-time musical friendship with Sonya Vallet, who conjures an incredible Gypsy-Flamenco-Carioca spirit .” Bill has also, “... done some gigs lately with MaxJazz artist, Rene Marie.” He is also a member of the Bob Montgomery quartet , “...who has put together a group that integrates guitar into the horn section in a very unique way.” In addition, he plays with Brazilian drummer, Henrique de Almeida's band, The Brazilian Jazz Project. Bill has recorded with: Peter Yellen, Rehka Ohal, Mike Pagan, Henrique de Almeida, Garner & Geena Pruit and others.

Gonzalo Teppa joins in with bass, percussion, cuatro and vocals.
He studied bass with Luis Guillermo Perez, Nestor Blanco, Paul Erhard and Ludwig Streicher. He was a member of The Symphony Orchestra of Lara and The Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Caracas. He has produced two CD's, "Designios" and "Travesias," with his own compositions, arrangements and performances. He received his Bachelor degree in Music Performance at the University of Colorado, Boulder and is currently an assistant teacher in the Jazz Department there. He is also currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Performance at the University. Notably, he was awarded Most Outstanding Jazz Soloist of American Universities by Downbeat Magazine in 2004 and 2005.

Raoul Rossiter handles drums, percussion and vocal for the group. He has a degree in Music Theory Composition and says, “I love all musical styles - from country to Japanese.” He has played in many bands ranging from the music of , “...Hamster Theatre to good old rock & roll.” For the past seven years, he has explored Brazilian music and most recently he has accompanied the renowned Bahian singer Renni Flores. He also played with trombonist Fred Wesley of James Brown's band. In addition to his musical background, Raoul has coached a number of sports and is a certified Pilates instructor.

Ginga is currently playing at Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel on Tuesday nights from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Ginga will also be playing at Boulder’s Rhumba restaurant on the Pearl Street Mall on some coming Sunday afternoons, with a dance oriented vocal sound in the Brazilian genere.

Ginga is planning to record their first CD this month - to be released before the end of the year. They have aspirations of going on a concert tour sometime in the future.

Ginga may be contacted at:

Tel: 303-817-6846



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