In a special tribute to the great keyboard player Merl Saunders, who passed on in October, we are proud to bring you the return of The Rainforest Band! The last appearance of Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band was at Starwood in 2000, so it is fitting that they debut the re-launch of the band at Starwood this year. All members are veterans of the original Rainforest Band or other Merl Saunders projects, including Tony Saunders (Merl’s son) on organ and bass, Michael Hinton (Country Joe ∓ the Fish, High Noon) on guitar, Mitch Stein (Zero, Dark Star Orchestra) on keyboards, Bill Norwood (Robert Stewart’s Heaven and Earth), and Misa Malone (Shades of Blue) on vocals, with special guest African percussionist Sikiru Adepoju. We guarantee an evening of music ranging from the spiritual to the funky, with some special treats for the Deadheads, dedicated to the good work Merl and Jerry did for the Rainforest Action Network.

Speaking of Sikiru, we are also proud to feature Sikiru Adepoju & Heart Beat: an incredible assembly of global talent in the tradition of Planet Drum. Sikiru, who Mickey Hart calls “the Mozart of the Talking Drum”, is a veteran of Babatunde Olatunji & Drums of Passion. He has combined members of his 2003 band Afrika Heartbeat and other premier artists to form this more universal ensemble, including steel drum & djembe artist Douglas “Val” Serrant (Airto Moreira, Life After That), Guitarist Peter Fujii (Pharoah Sanders, Rejoice!), percussionist Deen Badarou (Femi Kuti’s What Will Tomorrow Bring), trap drummer Deszon X. Claiborne (Don Cherry’s Multikulti) and DJ Deegan Mack Adams, engineer for Infinite Studios (Turf Talk - West Coast Vaccine by The Cure). Sikiru has played with just about every Mickey Hart project since 1990, including the Grammy-winning albums Planet Drum (1990) and Global Drum Project (2008). He’s recorded with Stevie Wonder (Jungle Fever), Muruga Booker & Babatunde Olatunji (Circle of Drums), Airto Moreira (Life After That), and the String Cheese Incident (On the Road), among many others.

Returning to Starwood is the dynamic Middle-Eastern drumming & dancing troupe Raquy & the Cavemen! Combining elements of Egyptian, Israeli and Indian music & dance with the hard-rock influence of drummer Liron Peled, and accompanied with inspired belly-dancers, Raquy Danziger weaves truly electric and eclectic rhythms guaranteed to get you on your feet! Raquy has travelled to many distant countries including those in the Middle East, Egypt and India, where she has experienced and absorbed vast amounts of musical culture. She uses all this knowledge to bring an amazing act to the stage. Raquy Danziger performs with the dumbek and the kemenche, an instrument from Iran, which is much like a violin. The name Cavemen is appropriate due to the rawness of the beats, and there is also a timeless property to the music that makes it impossible to dislike. The whole experience of the music takes you on a journey to the roots of Middle Eastern drumming and as soon as that kemenche starts flowing the trip goes deeper. Its sound is like a close stare into the eyes and soul of the Middle Eastern culture that lives inside the music. They have produced several albums including Jordan, Dust, Mischief, Naked, and their latest, Bewitched. Raquy brings forth the experience of an ancient culture straight to the stage for everyone to reflect, react and rotate to.

But there’s much more! For all you fans of the Dead-oriented band Oroboros, who played to appreciative crowds at Starwoods past, we welcome The JiMiller BandThe JiMiller Band to our stage! The JiMiller Band is a four member band that plays some of the best new music in the Midwest, with Jim Miller's resonating vocals and jazz-infused lead guitar, Brett Miller on bass, Steve "Nev" Scheff on keyboards and Brian "Bagel" Golenberg on drums. With a style as varied as their influences, JiMiller blends together blues, country, cajun, old rock 'n' roll, jazz and bluegrass into a musical Americana that is both fresh and timeless in their everlasting sets. However, the band is best known for its freeform improvisation rock that was made famous by The Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. They’ve played the 1994 H.O.R.D.E. Festival, the 1996 Further Festival, and opened for such acts as PHISH, The Kinks, Hot Tuna, Santana, Richard Thompson, Robert Hunter and members of the Grateful Dead just to name a few. They’ve also had the privilege of sharing the stage and jamming with Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, The Allman Brothers, and the legendary John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service. The JiMiller Band played the 10,000 Lakes Festival in 2004 with String Cheese Incident, and Galactic. They opened for Bruce Hornsby, and during the summer 2005 & 2006 they opened for Little Feat at Cleveland's House of Blues. They also opened for Rusted Root on Memorial Day weekend 2007, at Tower City Amphitheatre and again to a sold out crowd on NYE 2007 at the House of Blues, Cleveland.

And to add to our Cleveland imports, we also welcome Alex Bevan to his first Starwood. Alex has been sharing his voice, guitar, music and stories with audiences for more than thirty years. First known as the "Skinny Little Boy" from Cleveland, Ohio, who came to "Chase your wimmin' and drink your beer", Alex has made a name for himself throughout the Northern Ohio music scene. Drawing on his deep skill set of imaginative and honest song writing combined with an agile, improvisational wit that dovetails wonderfully with his flawless guitar slinging, Alex never fails to delight and charm audiences no matter what the venue. His recordings span the gamut from folk to folk rock and pop to children's educational music, and he has won a number of awards for his commercial efforts in radio, television, and documentary film scores (including an EMMY for his post-score of NBC’s American Promise documentary segment The Rustbelt Blues). He has opened for such headliners as the Earl Scruggs Review, Pure Prairie League, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffet, Seals and Crofts, The Michael Stanley Band, The Doobie Brothers, and Billy Joel. He is truly Ohio's "Great Lakes Bard".

Odd’s Bodkin is a trio playing original and traditional British, Celtic, Pagan and Gypsy style music. It features Kenny Klein on Vocals, Fiddle, Guitar, Banjo, Bass & Mandolin; Stephanie Rosalyn Mitchell on Vocals, Flute, Whistle & Mandolin; and Anna Klein on Vocals, Bass & Whistle. They are accompanied by guest drummers at Starwood this year. Kenny is a long-time Starwood performer, from his days with Tzipora playing some of the earliest Neo-Pagan music and producing some of the first Neo-Pagan albums on their Kicking Mule label, to his recent albums from Blackthorn Records and Brewer’s Witch Productions. His latest project, Meet Me in the Shade of the Maple Tree, is arguably the world's first CD of Pagan Bluegrass Gospel music.


Starwood On Stage

Here's the performance schedule as it now stands (subject to additions, juggling and shuffling):

Tuesday July 21st

Evening: Kenny Klein & Odd’s Bodkin
Midnight: Party Like a Rockstar! - North Pavilion (Site C)

Wednesday July 22nd

Evening: The JiMiller Band, Sikiru Adepoju & Heart Beat
Midnight Ritual: Ar nDraiocht Fein – Blessing Rite

Thursday July 23rd

Lunchtime: Josh Sherman - BioRhythmia
Evening: Halloween in July Bardic Stage – M.C. Victoria Ganger, Witch Disco
Midnight Ritual: Ronn Walks With Fire & Raven – The Midnight of Your Soul
Late Night: Rumble in the Jungle - Tranquility Base

Friday July 24th

Lunchtime: Chameleon Review featuring Awen & Revel
Evening: Alex Bevan, Raquy and the Cavemen
Midnight Ritual: Jason Mankey – Dionysus Ritual
Late Night: Pyrosonic - Pyrotopia

Saturday July 25th

Lunchtime: The Kids Concert
Afternoon: Waking Dream - Giant Puppet Parade
Evening: The Rainforest Band, The Bonfire

PufferDome Midnights

Rising from the Earth like Gaia’s glowing nipple, the Pufferdome is our unique late night club and performance space.

Wed.: Comic Book Movie Festival
Thurs.: Josh Sherman – BioRhythmia
Fri: Kari C. Tauring & Drew Miller – Volva Songs

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