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Rakiya band members (in alphabetical order):

Dean Brown

Dean Brown has been playing Balkan music for longer then he likes to admit. It was his idea (ahem - "artistic vision") to start Rakiya, so he got stuck doing the work to make it happen. Now he gets to play with great musicians, which keeps him happy and out of trouble. Dean also plays with the bands Cambridge Folk Orchestra, Zdravets, Zornitsa, Balkan Fields and Shining Moon.

ArtBeat, Somerville MA, 2009

Colin Ferguson

Surrounded by music and musicians since early childhood, Colin became immersed in the international folk music scene in 1991 when he joined the Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble Orchestra. Since then he has played in practically every international recreational folk dance band in the Boston area. Recordings on which he appears include From Our Garden (with Zdravets), Rags to Racenicas (with the Flying Tomatoes), and Passport to the World of Music and Dance (with the Bicoastal Band). Colin plays accordion, keyboard, and dumbek with Rakiya. He is also a member of Boston-based band Shining Moon.


Heather Lee

Heather Lee began playing and singing Balkan music with the Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble. Since then, she has performed with several Boston area groups including Divi Zheni, a Bulgarian womens' chorale. Heather is currently a member of Sladka and also of Shining Moon, an international folk dance band. Heather studied voice with internationally acclaimed singer Tatiana Sarbinska.

Alan the Sax Man

Alan Mattes

Alan Mattes was classically trained on trumpet but his performance background has been primarily in jazz and jazz-rock, playing mostly in the Chicago area. He has since added tenor and soprano sax to his arsenal. He attended Berklee College of Music in the late 70's studying performance and audio, and has been a professional recording engineer for the last 25 years. He's currently a staff engineer at WGBH radio in Boston and in his spare time also records and produces a variety of CD projects. During the past few years, he has recorded a number of ethnic CD's and been drawn to ethnic music, primarily that of the Balkans and the Middle East. In addition to bringing his saxes and flugelhorn to Rakiya, he also plays flugelhorn with the Poludaktulos Orchestra, a Boston-based Greek-Macedonian Brass Band

Tim McNerney

Tim McNerney

Tim McNerney has been playing bass guitar in jazz and folk rock bands since 1983. In the late '80s, he discovered the wonderful rhythms of Balkan folk music, first as a dancer, and now in Rakiya as a dance musician. By day, Tim works as an engineer, designing electronics and software for biometric cameras. Tim has a bachelor's degree in music in computer science from Union College and a master's degree in media arts and sciences from MIT.

Grant Smith

Grant Smith is involved in many world music, jazz, classical, and dance projects in Boston and New York. His theatre credits include the American Repertory's "The King Stag", and "Shlemiel The First", as well as Joel Grey's "Borscht Capades". He is also a contributor to Trish Cibree's "Lounge Life". Mr. Smith has toured globally from Crakow to Thailand and New Zealand. He has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Don Byron, the Violent Femmes, Garrison Keillor, and Jane Wang.

Patrick Yacono

Patrick Yacono, who has been tootling away on various Bulgarian wind instruments since the late 80's, jumped at the chance to be in a band where he had to bring only one instrument (clarinet) to rehearsals. He has performed at numerous festivals and folk music events throughout the Northeastern US, Canada, and Bulgaria. Besides playing and singing with Rakiya, he plays with several other folk music groups (Zdravets, Zornitsa, the Cambridge Folk Orchestra and the Pinewoods Band) and juggles his folk music activity with a career as a concert pianist and his work as a part-time researcher at the Harvard Medical School.

Alumnae and special guests

Dylan Riggan - drums

Tev Stevig - guitar and çumbush

Dave Golber - clarinet

David Skidmore - clarinet, dumbek, tapan

Steve Gruverman - clarinet and sax

Phil McGowen - drums

Ralph Iverson - violin

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