This series showcases local and regional musicians in a relaxed and intimate setting. The lobby is transformed into a 70-seat showcase lounge!
Although Dharmasoul is difficult to narrow down into one genre, they can best be described through their noted influences of contemporary artists such as Medeski Martin Wood & Scofield, Vulfpeck, D’Angelo, Soulive, Snarky Puppy, and Lettuce as well as throwback influences including The Meters, Staple Singers, Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers Band, and Stevie Wonder.
Jonah and Kevin have been on contrasting yet complementary musical journeys since childhood, but each time their paths converged, they discovered an inspirational energy that they now bring to the music of Dharmasoul. Although they both grew up in Princeton, NJ, they met for the first time when they were fifteen at the 2008 National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut, a multi-instrumental camp. Their cohort had only one drummer (Kevin) and many guitar players, but Jonah and Kevin found themselves playing together on the one night out in a real club—where suddenly the audience got really quiet and listened–and later that summer they got together to jam in Kevin’s basement.
Since 2014 Jonah has had success in the streaming world, racking up over 10 million plays on Spotify. He has also collaborated and worked in the studio with notable list of musicians including Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), John McCauley (Deer Tick), Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson), Scarlett Rivera (Bob Dylan), Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) Anderson East, Sam Amidon, Greg Leisz, James Gadson, Eric Heywood, and many more.
Kevin graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans, where he was inspired by Brian Blade and Stanton Moore, jazz and funk drummers who had attended Loyola. Experiencing music in New Orleans opened him to worlds of hip-hop, neo-soul, traditional/modern jazz, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban styles. At Loyola, he was featured in masterclass sessions with trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonist Miguel Zenon, drummer Henry Cole, and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. At 19 he performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with the Loyola Jazz Band and later with Mikayla Braun. He became an in-demand multi-stylist drummer playing with gypsy jazz groups, electronic/hip-hop, indie-folk, and singer/songwriter acts. In addition to songwriting and playing with Dharmasoul, Kevin currently teaches private percussion lessons to all ages in Princeton, NJ.
This project feels like something that’s been waiting for ten years,” comments Tolchin. “Yet it couldn’t have happened any sooner than it did. LIGHTNING KID represents a culmination of our collective influences throughout our years as music appreciators and players, ranging from folk and world music to funk, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and gospel. Adds Clifford, “We don’t think about fitting into specific genres. That’s what makes our partnership so special. We have an openness and a clarity that respects and honors freedom of musical expression.”