May 28, 2020

Local Musicians Conduct Virtual Concerts

Catch the Kleyla Family Band on You Tube live - April 11th, 7 pm on You Tube.

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Looking to lift peoples’ spirits, now more than ever,” said Olivia Kleyla.

The global pandemic has thousands of students and teachers getting by on distance learning, while others are also turning to social media to conduct business. Elected officials are conducting public meetings online as government offices are physically shut down. Technology has been supplanting many in-person contacts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also pulled the plug on area musicians, many of whom make their main living by live performances. These talented musicians work difficult hours and often are paid low to moderate wages anyway. Some perform just for gratuity. In recent years, East Providence, RI has been a popular destination for live entertainment. Some of the best bands in southern New England can be seen in East Providence. EP has wonderful venues featuring great cuisine and top live bands. Restaurants, pubs and clubs have regularly scheduled times with live bands and in most instances have no cover fees for entrance. The 133 Club, Black Duck Tavern, EP Yacht Club, Mulhearn's Pub, Stevie D’s, Merrill Lounge, Lucky’s and others hire many great bands. However, with mandatory social distancing laws, it has all ground to a halt. No dining out, no winding down after a long day with friends at a bar and no live music.

With most people staying put inside their homes, several area musicians have decided to entertain music lovers from their homes. You can find these performers playing live music on Facebook or You Tube from their homes directly into your living room. One such band is the Kleyla Family Band, rooted in East Providence, RI. “When we began to understand that all music events were going to be cancelled, including all of our own shows, we realized how much people look to art during difficult times. The idea for our Livestream Concert series originated from our desire to lift peoples’ spirits, now more than ever,” said Olivia Kleyla. There are a few variations of the Kleyla Family Band (KFB) depending on their audience or venue.

“We turned our basement into a recording studio so we could deliver the highest quality audio we possibly could from our home while streaming live to YouTube,” said Kleyla. “This way, we could share music with people from across the country and from friends and relatives in Rhode Island all the way to California.” The KFB livestream concert consists of Brad Kleyla, his sister Katie Kleyla and Brad’s wife, Olivia. Also sitting in is Charles Kalajian and Patrick Dow. “This seemed like a small thing we could do to share the joy we feel as a family performing together, and also a great opportunity to use these extra hours to learn more songs and work on our original music, which we will continue to showcase during our concerts,” added Katie Kleyla.

For most of the KFB, they have lost much income. The same is true of countless other musicians everywhere. These livestreamed concerts are available at no cost to the public audience but many of the bands humbly accept online donations. “It’s also been important for us to use this time wisely to keep practicing and stay motivated. We are all professional musicians who have lost a significant portion of our income to cancelled gigs, so although the concerts are free for everyone, we are trying to raise any money we can to pay our bills,” explained both Olivia and Katie.

The KFB is truly a talented professional band with a large following. Their connection as Townies is deep. Siblings Brad and Katie Kleyla are Townies from birth. Both are graduates of East Providence High School and both have professional music careers. They were both heavily involved in the music program at EPHS; Katie performing in chorus and the musicals, graduating in 2004, and Brad performing trombone in the school band and singing in the musicals, graduating in 2008. Brad plays lead guitar and sings with the Kleyla Family Band (KFB), plays Trombone with Roger Ceresi’s All Starz, and sings throughout New England as a classical Tenor. Brad is also a recording engineer and the mastermind behind the KFB’s audio setup.

The band has been increasing its livestream You Tube performances and is excited about this Saturday night’s performance. “Beat the social distancing blues by singin' and dancin' with the Kleyla Family Band this Saturday night! We've been working on some new tunes and can't wait to share them with y'all! Tune in to YouTube live on Saturday, 4/11 at 7PM - Eastern time, folks! As always, pajamas accepted, Quarantinis encouraged, and dancing a must,” quipped Brad Kleyla.

Katie, a former East Providence city councilwoman from Ward One (2010-12), is lead vocalist with the KFB. She is a classically trained soprano with a robust performing career. Katie is also the front woman for the New Providence Big Band, a 20-piece swing band that performs throughout New England.

Olivia Kleyla is also multi-talented, playing many instruments and singing. Additionally, she is the Assistant Band Director at East Providence High School and married to Brad. She is a classically trained Pianist and French Horn player originally from Chicago, IL who sings and plays professionally in RI and MA. She can also play the guitar.

Also helping out in their performances is Charles Kalajian of East Providence, KFB drummer and teacher at the RI Philharmonic Music School and Rhode Island College. Patrick Dow, KFB keyboard player, is a music teacher at the Jacqueline Walsh School of the Arts in Pawtucket.

Viewers tuning in on Saturday night (April 11th, 2020) will be treated to some classic Beatle songs. “We wouldn't be the musicians we are today if it weren't for the music of The Beatles,” said Olivia. “We have a lot of Beatles tunes planned for this Saturday, including a few we haven't performed before. Until then, check out our live performance of "Ticket to Ride" from our last livestream (Facebook, You Tube),” she added.

The KFB is a Family Rock Band specializing in Rock, Pop, Soul, and The Blues. Basically, they can play any music genre and all audience types are never disappointed. This writer has seen the KFB in person and on You Tube. Their last You Tube performance was a welcome break from the news of the day. One can catch these performances by going on to You Tube and searching for the KFB. Smart phones, laptops, tablets, all work well and the band produces an informal but very professional quality production. The best way to view and hear the show is to get on to You Tube through a smart TV for a big-screen experience. The banter between band members is also fun to watch.

The show is free, but anyone inclined to pass along a gratuity can do so before, during, or after the concerts via Venmo, username @jbkleyla or by using the CashApp username $KatherineKleyla. “Any digital tips are not necessary but are greatly appreciated and graciously accepted! From our family to yours, we thank you. Enjoy the music! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @kleylafamilyband and subscribe to the Kleyla Family Band on YouTube. www.kleylafamilyband.com,” added Katie, Olivia and Brad as we rounded out our interview.

Check out other area musicians who also have started performing on Facebook or You Tube. Many of these musicians know and play with each other at times. They are also struggling without employment opportunities. Many of these talented performers are seen in East Providence at the 133 Club, Black Duck, Stevie D’s and other venues. Some of them are:

The Winehouse Project. This band with roots from Rory & the Blues Hounds, is a stunningly accurate tribute to the music and legacy of Amy Winehouse. The Blues Hounds had a 10 year weekly run at the 133 Club and still perform throughout Rhode Island. Lead singer Lisa Kay does a phenomenal job as a look and sound-alike to the late Amy Winehouse. They also play all other genres according to the audience at hand. Catch the Project on You Tube and they have a Facebook page.

East Providence native and resident Pat Lowell has also performed online recently. Pat Lowell Acoustic, is often seen at the Black Duck Tavern, Hot Club, Stevie D's, EP Yacht Club, Hillside Country Club, The 133 and more. His energetic performance covers all genres of rock and roll. A real crowd pleaser.

Travis Colby Music, is also live streaming these days. The Travis Colby Band, playing a tasteful arrangement of covers and originals featuring Funk, Blues, and R&B, gets feet moving, heads bopping, and people asking for more. Travis Colby has been playing piano and guitar professionally for many years, touring and recording with Grammy award winning Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson for a six-year tenure and international recording artists Roomful of Blues from 2004-2012. He was named ‘Best Keyboard Player’ three times in the long running “Blues Audience” magazine. His song list is extensive.

Marc Trachtenberg is a Rhode Islander who has also made the East Providence and area music scene. A talented pianist he graduated from Wheeler School in Providence and NYU for music. His company, ‘Rock-a-Baby’ promotes musical understanding and child development with a
Curriculum developed by NYU. He is a trained music educator. His videos also include background vocals from his wife Stephanie.

So if you’re tired of social distancing and sitting in the house every day, if you like music, especially live performances, check out any of the above for a nice get away from coronavirus sadness.

My smart TV is ready for Saturday night, April 11th with the Kleyla Family Band, I can’t wait. Don’t miss the Kleyla’s this Saturday, spread the word to music lovers everywhere.

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