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Impulse Ensemble: Bio

Tony Vacca - balafon, gongs, percussion, spoken word

Tony Vacca is an innovative percussionist, composer, and producer. Over the course of his career, he has made a habit of pushing the already adventurous conventions of World Music into new territory, both as a soloist and as the leader of his World Rhythms Ensemble.

He has recorded and/or performed with a wide range of musicians. These include pop icon Sting, Senegalese Afro-pop star Baaba Maal, Jazz trumpeter and World Music legend Don Cherry, poet Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, Senegalese Hip-Hop stars Gokh-bi System, and Massamba Diop, Senegalese master of the tama or talking drum. His solo performances are a nearly non-stop athletic spectacle of percussion music and spoken word, incorporating an amazing array of gongs, giant African xylophones and various hand drums. For more, see:

Derrik Jordan - electric violin, vocals, percussion

Derrik Jordan is an award-winning composer and singer-songwriter, a producer, multi-instrumentalist (electric violin, guitar, keyboard, vocals and percussion) and recording artist. He performs his songs solo as a singer-songwriter, instrumentally on the 5-string electric violin under the name SuperString Theory, and in many groups, including Tony Vacca and the World Rhythms Ensemble, Zabap!, Natural History, and Simba.

In his journey to further develop his craft he has traveled to Brazil, Trinidad, Ghana and Senegal. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra commissioned him to write a piece for their 2009 “Made In Vermont Fall Festival Tour,” which was performed in 10 venues around Vermont in the fall of 2009. For a sample of Derrik’s music just go to his web site at:

Jim Matus - laoutar, vocals

Jim Matus is the creator of the world fusion bands Paranoise and Mawwal, which have won him critical praise internationally and re-defined how East could meet West. He has worked live and in the studio with musicians Don Cherry, Percy Jones, Anthony Jackson, Soft Machine's Hugh Hopper, and Klezmatic's Alicia Svigals. He attended Berkeley College of Music, and studied with Pat Metheny and John Scofield. He has electrified and re-worked the Middle-Eastern lute into something all his own. Jim’s innovations are somehow simultaneously bold and unassuming; he’s created a sound you simply have to hear to believe. For more on Jim Matus go to: