"Marrakesh Express is a CSNY tribute, but they do not imitate as much as capture the spirit of. They are an organic, real band, with their own distinct personalities that shine through (often humorously) in their rapport with the audience. Their harmonies are gorgeous. They're great people -- fun and energetic. They are the most original tribute band I've ever seen."
~Mark Schmidt, Casino Regina
MARRAKESH EXPRESS ~ a CSNY experience
There are hundreds, if not thousands of tribute bands performing the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, U2, and other monsters of rock. But Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young? Next to none.
A band dedicated to tributing CSNY is unheard of due to the difficulty in replicating the 3- and 4-part vocal harmonies that made the group international superstars. Marrakesh Express is the world's only touring CSNY tribute band and excels at reproducing their complex songs and cascading, layered harmonies. The band takes the audience back to the late 1960s with youthful musicians who bring an authentic hippie vibe and visual to the stage.
CSNY was arguably the biggest band in the world after the demise of the Beatles, and is one of the most enduring and influential musical groups of all time. The band, born in the turbulent years of the late 1960s, released hit after hit that spoke directly for their generation. Their songs remain in heavy rotation on classic rock radio stations to this day.
Marrakesh Express upholds the integrity of that music with their vivid and realistic performance of CSNY’s most recognizable songs. Featuring four harmonizing vocalists backed by a top-flight band, they deliver a unique and energetic concert performing the classic acoustic and electric CSNY hits, deep cuts, and fan favorites.
Marrakesh Express has played to tens of thousands of appreciative fans at music festivals, theaters, fairs, performing arts centers, and casinos, including headlining the Woodstock 40th Anniversary Tribute Concert. The music of CSNY has stood the test of time and fans of the classic rockers, as well as young people who are curious about “the 60s,” are anxious to venture out to hear it represented live.
Daryl Grady - Vocals
David Varella - Vocals
Shawn Kelly - Vocals
Rick Hemphill - Vocals & Keyboards
Bobby Belinsky - Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Kevin Bryant - Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Mike Flannery - Bass Guitar
Glenn Miller - Drums & Percussion
Seven Questions with Marrakesh Express
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Vail Daily: What can the audience expect from a Marrakesh Express concert? Marrakesh Express: Our...Vail Daily: What can the audience expect from a Marrakesh Express concert?
Marrakesh Express: Our concerts reach audiences on a lot of different levels. They'll hear all of the CSNY acoustic and electric hits, deep cuts and fan favorites they've come to love over the years. Older fans will reminisce about the late 1960s, and younger fans will get a feel for what it was like to have “been there.” Our musicians are long-haired hippies, so it's a rather authentic Woodstock-type vibe and visual at our concerts. And the music and its themes are timeless and still relevant, especially these days with the Occupy protests.
Vail Daily: How do you choose which CSNY songs to cover? Do you take requests?
Marrakesh Express: We go into every show with a set list, but if someone asks for something and the band is feeling it, we try to accommodate! As far as covering CSNY, certain songs are standards and have to be included. Most of the songs in our repertoire are from “Crosby, Stills, & Nash” and “Deja Vu” period, but we also perform some songs that appeared on the members' solo albums. Stephen Stills' “Love the One You're With,” Neil Young's “Down by the River” and “Cinnamon Girl,” Graham Nash's “Chicago” and “Immigration Man” are a few that fall into that category.
Vail Daily: What songs will be included on your set list at the Vilar Performing Arts Center?
Marrakesh Express: People can expect to hear the radio hits along with a few deep cuts and fan favorites. The eight musicians of Marrakesh Express are all songwriters and we've written a few things while trying to stay true to the vibe of CSNY. We may drop one of those in if the crowd is feeling it. We've got two hours to fill plus encores, so if you have a favorite song we're probably going to play it!
Vail Daily: How challenging is it to cover CSNY songs?
Marrakesh Express: The music, and especially the intricate, layered vocal harmonies are very challenging. The original band set the bar very high when they wrote and recorded together. Marrakesh Express has four vocalists, each with a different range and timbre to their voice. Our vocal director Rick Hemphill dissected each song and assigned vocal parts to present the truest, most accurate harmonies possible. Our guitar players and rhythm section are spot-on with their renditions of every song, from the hardest electric rocker to the mellowest acoustic tune.
Vail Daily: In your opinion, what is the best CSNY song of all time?
Marrakesh Express: That depends on your mood! If you're feeling rebellious, “Woodstock” is perfect. If you just broke up with a girlfriend, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” or “49 Bye-byes” might fit your mood. Happily settled in and married? “Our House” is right on. Angry at the government? Listen to “Ohio.” Every parent and grandparent loves “Teach Your Children.” If you want to just groove to the music, “Carry On,” “Southern Cross,” and “Helplessly Hoping” are all classics. All four of the musicians — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — were geniuses at capturing the moods of a generation.
Vail Daily: What is one of your most memorable band experiences?
Marrakesh Express: There have been a lot of band highlights but one of the best was headlining the 40th Anniversary Tribute to Woodstock concert. It was a three-day event held at an airport in Woodstock, IL, so helicopters were landing and taking off just like in the movie. Attendance was about 15,000 and most people camped on the airport grounds. The quality of the other bands, such as the tributes to The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Joe Cocker, and Jimi Hendrix, were all top-notch. It was a magical weekend.
Vail Daily: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about your band?
Marrakesh Express: Everyone in the band loves what we're doing, we have a lot of fun, and we love the reaction we've received from audiences who appreciate the music of CSNY. It's a privilege to keep this music alive and bring it to people who may have been too young, or who for whatever reason never got to see the original band. We would dig meeting you after the show, so if you enjoyed the concert stick around Vilar Performing Arts Center and say hi. Hope everyone is having a holiday season filled with peace and love, and we'll see you on Dec. 27th!
Woodstock 40th Anniversary Concert
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"INCREDIBLE performance! The compliments are pouring in about your amazing harmonies! The crowd LOVE..."INCREDIBLE performance! The compliments are pouring in about your amazing harmonies! The crowd LOVED you! Thank you for being a part of the VIBE!"
~ Laura Witlox, Festival Manager
Marrakesh Express ~ a CSNY experience
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> How did you all get together to form the band? Our manager, Mike Kucic, came up with an idea for ...> How did you all get together to form the band?
Our manager, Mike Kucic, came up with an idea for a one-off concert featuring the music and vocal harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. He approached various singers and musicians he knew and we agreed to try it. The first rehearsals indicated we had really come up with something special. The buzz grew quickly and our first show (the one that was supposed to be our ONLY show) sold out. We then began getting offers for additional concerts and decided that Marrakesh Express would sail as a full-fledged ongoing band.
> What separates your band from all the other bands out there?
There are only a few CSNY tributes in the entire world and of those, we are the only ones who A) perform the songs with the true and accurate 3- and 4-part vocal harmonies that made CSNY an international supergroup, and B) are comprised of youthful musicians who look like they just stepped off the Woodstock stage in 1969. So, in addition to an excellent audio representation of the songs, the band's vibe lends an authentic "hippie" visual, as well.
> How are people currently reacting to your music?
It's not "our" music, it's CSNY's, but audiences have been loving it because it's not the kind of tribute they've ever seen before. It's rare and unique. Some supergroups have literally hundreds of bands tributing them. With CSNY there are next to none, so the audience realizes they are seeing something very unique. And, of course, everyone knows the songs. CSNY has so many hits.
That being said, everyone in Marrakesh Express is a songwriter so we have written some of our own songs that fit in very well with a "CSNY" show. We try to drop one or two of those in at every show and those tunes have gone over exceptionally well, too.
> What are your goals as a band?
We want to continue to play for young people, as many show a very strong interest in the things that went on in the heyday of the late 1960s, and more mature people, who love the nostalgic aspect of the music. CSNY's music has such a strong emotional meaning for many people. We've had folks tell us they've cried at our performances because it helped them recall their own activities during the late 60s, whether they were protesting or serving in Vietnam or participating in securing the rights of minorities.
As a band, we're working on our own music and plan to release an album with our versions of six CSNY songs and six of our own songs. Other than that, we hope to keep playing great clubs, festivals, theaters, and casinos, and making people aware that CSNY music is alive, well, and hopefully coming to your town.
> What are your musical influences?
Obviously CSNY! With eight band members the individual influences run wide and deep. Let's just say everything from the Rolling Stones to Cream, and Muddy Waters to the Police. The ocean is vast.
> Your favorite places to play?
We've played some great concerts. The highlight was probably headlining the 40th Anniversary to Woodstock tribute concert last summer. That drew 20,000 people and the weekend was magical. We just played on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. That was our second time there and the scene is just awesome. Really, any place that has a receptive audience that appreciates vocal harmonies and the late 60s scene is cool with us.
> How do you promote your music, and is it working?
We just shot a promo video with a Nashville producer. That will be sent out to everyone under the sun who has influence in the area of talent buying. Facebook, Myspace, and other Internet outlets are key but that's not news. Gotta have an electronic press kit as well. Working with booking agencies is good, but with the advent of the Internet you can do a lot of the same things on your own if you can invest a few thousand dollars. And any time you book a concert, someone from the band needs to be contacting the press to try and get some coverage. Thank you, by the way!
> What are you looking forward to most right now as a band?
Touring and working on new songs, both more CSNY tunes as well as our own originals. And every time we book a concert at a new cool venue, the band always looks forward to that. We want to keep turning on more people to our concert performances of CSNY's material. It's always fun to see how wowed folks are when they hear and see the band.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young tribute band masters intricate harmonies, 60s vibe
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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tribute bands playing the music of the Beatles, Rolling Sto...There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tribute bands playing the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, U2, and the other monsters of rock. But Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young? Next to none.
Arguably the biggest band in the world in the late-60s after the demise of the Beatles, the songs of CSNY are remarkably hard to replicate, especially the intricate 3- and 4-part harmonies that made the group international superstars. But Marrakesh Express has managed to accomplish just that.
In addition to the vocal abilities of the four Marrakesh Express singers, the band also looks the part: youthful musicians with an onstage hippie vibe that gives their performances street cred and authenticity. The combination of the beautiful, cascading harmonies and the late-60s visual makes Marrakesh Express a rare and unique tribute to a band that was the “voice of a generation” in one of history’s – and music’s – most explosive periods.
“We really seem to have hit a nerve with this project,” said band manager Mike Kucic. “Every concert has been extremely well attended and received. The music of CSNY was more than just a soundtrack to the 60s. It spoke for a generation of people. We’ve had people crying during our performances, remembering the 60s and either being nostalgic or still feeling the angst that was prevalent in those days. We take these emotions seriously.”
The band primarily performs at festivals and theaters, and is excited to bring the well-known songs of CSNY to younger fans with an interest, as well as older fans who crave the nostalgic aspect.
“The age diversity of our crowds is fantastic,” said Kucic. “Young people today have a real interest in the 60s, and more mature fans want to relive the emotions of the time. A Marrakesh Express concert helps them do that.”
The band has performed at a number of large events, including a headlining performance at the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock tribute concert in August 2009. This year, they are hoping to book additional festivals and venues throughout the U.S., and perhaps abroad.
“We’re a crowd-pleaser,” said Kucic. “The band has a lot of fun onstage and the audience senses that. And they join in right along with us.”
Marrakesh Express to ease into Norwell
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It’s not like you can just slap a tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young together overnight. Fo...
It’s not like you can just slap a tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young together overnight. Four-part harmonies are difficult to arrange, even if you can find similar voices.
CSNY’s music is so embedded in fans’ consciousness that slipshod versions would be an invitation to disaster.
Those are all factors that the band from Chicago, Marrakesh Express: The Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Experience, considered when they began their project two years ago.
The band includes lead singers from three different Midwest rock bands. Five months of preparation and rehearsals went into their first performance.
Marrakesh Express comes to The Company Theatre in Norwell for two shows on Saturday.
“It is kind of a unique story of how we came together,” said Daryl Grady, one of the vocalists in the eight-man Marrakesh Express. “Mike Kucic, who manages us, suggested it as a winter project – something different to try during the slow season. We basically have three lead singers, and Mike’s first task was to see if all three of us would want to do it. You don’t see too many CSNY tributes because it is not easy to put one together, with the four-part harmonies, the complex music and all the variety.”
Kucic scheduled rehearsals for a debut in March 2008.
“Mike had been confident we could produce a 90-minute show with about 14 songs by March,” Grady said. “Once we got into the music and saw all the different open tunings they use on their guitars, how complex the arrangements are, and how long it takes to get those vocal arrangements correct – taking them all apart and putting them all together again – our first live date didn’t happen until late May (2008). But we had so much fun doing it, and got such immediate positive response, that we all decided to keep it together.”
Of course, not everyone might agree with every message in a CSNY song, but thus far Marrakesh Express has avoided controversy.
“I think people are so familiar with the stuff that CSNY wrote that we have not really had any blowback from performing it,” Grady said. “Most of the classic stuff we do is not like Neil Young’s ‘Let’s Impeach the President,’ and we don’t write anything like that ourselves. ... We have played shows in Florida and Virginia, and found that a lot of folks grew up on this music, and they have a lot of emotion tied up in it. We’ve never met Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young, but we find many times people want to talk with us about the songs, and what they meant to them.
“Sometimes people are moved to tears by these songs, and it is remarkable to see how 40 years later they are still relevant today,” Grady said.
When the band performs in clubs, they may spice up the setlist with rarities or near-forgotten CSNY tunes, but theater shows almost require a steady stream of classics. CSNY has plenty of material to draw upon, but the favorites are also pretty easy to note.
“Since we’re billed as ‘The Crosby, Still, Nash and Young Experience,’ it is really important to play most of the songs people want to hear the most,” Grady said. “It’s more important to stitch all those classics together in a show that makes sense.”
He said people will hear “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Ohio,” and “all those classics that have made CSNY so enduring through all these years.”
Marrakesh Express chugs into 'Taste' with CSN tribute
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By Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune staff writer This year's Taste of Chicago has some notable musica...By Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune staff writer
This year's Taste of Chicago has some notable musical acts.
There's Counting Crows ("Mr. Jones"). And you can bank on Barenaked Ladies ("One Week"). Toss in the muscular blues of Buddy Guy.
Also gracing the musical mix is a tribute-act day, bringing together artists who salute the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, U2 and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. CSN&Y will be feted by Northwest Indiana's Marrakesh Express, a local success story that has found a niche with retro fare that recalls powerful, harmonic voices of the hippie era.
Making the leap from a concept in late 2007 to an inaugural public performance last June, Marrakesh Express is booked for shows this weekend in Virginia and Florida, with a January theater engagement awaiting just outside of Boston.
At noon Wednesday on the Illinois Lottery Taste Stage, the eight-member band trots out classic folk-rock in front of the throngs at Taste of Chicago.
"We're extremely excited because our band was put together in late 2007 with the intent of only doing one show -- one tribute show," said Mike Kucic, the manager of Marrakesh Express. "It was just a way to get some great musicians together and have some fun -- and things just snowballed from there.
"It's really starting to heat up now. We wanted to be a festival-oriented band, rather than a bar band."
In that vein, Marrakesh Express hits Hobart Jayceefest on Tuesday, followed by a gig at Cedar Lake's Summerfest on Sunday, July 5.
The band -- mainly comprised of Lake County residents -- has a deep catalog to draw from.
As far as the works of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, there are memorable tunes like "Teach Your Children" and "Woodstock."
Minus Young, CS&N churned out "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Southern Cross" and "Marrakesh Express" -- the trippy 1969 ditty that gave Kucic's band its name.
"We do some Neil Young songs like 'Down By the River,' " added Kucic, a Crown Point-area resident.
Also at the disposal of Marrakesh Express is more solo material from individual members of CSN&Y. The local band can, for instance, tackle Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With."
The counterculture vibe can be continued by whipping out "Immigration Man," a 1972 effort from Graham Nash and David Crosby.
Marrakesh Express features three, upfront vocalists, plus a keyboardist, two guitarists, bassist and drummer.
The band members are Shawn Kelly, David Varella, Daryl Grady, Tim Dailey, Rick Hemphill, Glenn Miller and brothers Jim and John Bonick.
Marrakesh Express offers classic sound
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Most every major market has a handful of groups covering and replicating the songbooks of such iconi...Most every major market has a handful of groups covering and replicating the songbooks of such iconic bands as Kiss, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and others.
But you'd be hard pressed to find such a tribute group that can replicate the complex, layered harmonies and classic sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, whose music has been a major part of the American pop/rock culture for decades.
Northwest Indiana has the good fortune of having just such a group, Marrakesh Express, which features four outstanding vocalists –– Rick Hemphill, David Varella, Daryl Grady and Shawn Kelly –– capable of delivering those timeless CSN&Y songs in a shockingly faithful fashion, while masterfully backed by a well–seasoned band.
Begun a few years ago as a "fun project" between friends who all had their own respective bands, Marrakesh Express soon evolved into a full-time band that has gone on to perform for thousands at many upscale music festivals like The Taste Of Chicago and last year's Woodstock Festival 40th Anniversary Tribute Concert.
"The original intent was to do only one show just for fun, but we quickly realized that the CSNY vocal harmonies were so complex that it would take a lot of rehearsing to nail them," said Hemphill, the projects vocal director. "With that much time invested it only made sense to play more than a single show. Also, we were really excited once we heard how we sounded together, and we're having a blast at rehearsals and shows."
The focus is on the music itself and not the visual aspects. In short, you can close your eyes and think you are at a CSN&Y concert, but you will not find them role playing or becoming characters during performances as is the case with many tribute artists.
"We just want to honor the music and interpret the music, but we're not living their lives," Grady said. "These songs have a special power to stir emotion and thought. (You can) see it happen as people listen."
Along with all the hits one would expect to hear ("Southern Cross," "Woodstock," "Teach Your Children," etc.), Marrakesh Express also treats their audience to deep cuts and often forgotten fan favorites ("Guinnevere," "Sea Of Madness," "You Don't Have To Cry"), along with a smattering of tunes from the solo catalogs of the various CSN&Y members (Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With," Graham Nash's "Chicago" and Neil Young's "Down By The River").
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Marrakesh Express Review, Cedar Lake Summerfest Crosby Stills Nash and Young tribute band Marrak...Marrakesh Express Review, Cedar Lake Summerfest
Crosby Stills Nash and Young tribute band Marrakesh Express played the stage at the Cedar Lake Summerfest on July 5th 2008 to a capacity crowd. Many CSNY fans were anxiously waiting to hear Marrakesh Express hoping for a good show and they were not disappointed. When the band took the stage it only took a minute for the crowd to realize they were in for a good time.
The show soon turned into a sing-along as the band performed many great CSNY hits one right after the other. I talked to quite a large number of people who were there that night and they all had great things to say about the band as well as wanting to know where they could see them again. We literally had people come to the Cedar Lake Summerfest office requesting that we bring them back next year.
My own personal experience is that these guys are amazing. They have four lead vocalists. Daryl Grady, Shawn Kelly, Dave Varella and Rick Hemphill. It is really incredible the way they harmonize and how much they actually sound like CSNY.
These three guys seem to effortlessly reproduce the musical sounds of CSNY with great accuracy. I closed my eyes several times during the show to really take in the music and I was impressed how much of the real band you can hear in Marrakesh Express.
Marrakesh Express was very professional before during and after the show. They look the part on stage and the music is outstanding. The band played to the audience while performing and were very gracious with the crowd after the show signing autographs, answering questions and taking pictures. I am already making arrangements to have them come back and play at our 2009 Festival.
Promoter and Stage Manager
Cedar Lake Summerfest Committee Inc.
Cedar Lake, IN 46303
Lowell Tribune -- Concert Review
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Marrakesh Express Set Summerfest Stage On Fire By Louise Roys The lakeside community of Cedar...Marrakesh Express Set Summerfest Stage On Fire
By Louise Roys
The lakeside community of Cedar Lake was treated to something very special when Marrakesh Express, a Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young tribute band, took the Summerfest stage on July 5. This year's schedule of entertainment featured a wide variety of music designed to provide a musical treat for everyone's taste.
The crowning glory of this year's stage was Marrakesh Express. The band took the stage as festival goers began entering the park to grab prime seats for the fireworks extravaganza taking place a short time later.
As the band began to play and the music drifted across the park into the surrounding residences and across the lake, people began moving towards the stage area and staying put. People were drawn by the magnetic pull of the vocals and guitar work.
I watched as the park and stage area became filled to capacity as people jostled each other in order to get a seat by the band. They stayed that way, mesmerized by the haunting vocals and intricate melodies.
The songs they played are still favorites among classic rock fans evoked many emotions, memories and quite a few misty eyes. They also are earning the respect of the up-and-coming generation of music fans who were in attendance at Summerfest and will be a welcome addition to any rock or concert venue.
I am looking forward to seeing them back on the Summerfest stage and possibly even headlining at the Lake County Fair and other main stage venues.
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"Marrakesh Express was a pleasure to work with. Not only were they professional in all respects, but..."Marrakesh Express was a pleasure to work with. Not only were they professional in all respects, but they put on an amazing concert that had the crowd rockin' and wanting more. Their harmonies were awesome and musically they nailed every song. They will definitely be back next year."
~ Bill Stack, LOFS Summer Concert Series organizer
Marrakesh Express delivers up to a two-hour show featuring the CSNY hits, deep cuts, and fan favorites.
~ Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
~ Wooden Ships
~ Long Time Gone
~ Carry On
~ Teach Your Children
~ You Don't Have to Cry
~ Southern Cross
~ 49 Bye-byes
~ Our House
~ Sea of Madness
~ Helplessly Hoping
~ Deja vu
~ Almost Cut My Hair
~ Down By The River
~ Marrakesh Express
~ Immigration Man
~ Old Man
~ Cortez the Killer
~ Pre-road Downs
~ Cinnamon Girl
~ Harvest Moon
~ Everybody I Love You
~ Find the Cost of Freedom
~ Country Girl
~ Eight Miles High
~ Love the One You're With
** ORIGINAL SONGS **
~ Machiavellian Love
~ Holding Steady On
~ Less We're Face to Face
~ Carry Us All
~ The Whirlwind
PDF RiderMarrakesh Express Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.