Gil & Tuey
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Gil & Tuey

Band World Acoustic


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"Working Both Sides of the Musical Border"

By Josef Woodard
October 13, 2006

Musical alliances are sometimes formed in mysterious ways and in unexpected locales.

For the multicultural acoustic act Gil & Tuey, who play at SOhO on Tuesday, the ampersand in their group name was cemented in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, thanks to a happy, accidental meeting.

Tuey Connell, the accomplished Brooklyn-based banjo player and multi-instrumentalist, was on a family vacation in January 2005. Thickening the plot further, Connell first encountered guitarist Gil Gutierrez with violinist Pedro Cartas when the duo played "Gypsy jazz" in an Irish pub in that popular Mexican town.

"They just totally blew us away," Connell recalls. "We invited them to come over to our table to have a drink at the next break. When Gil learned that I was a musician, he then invited me to his house for coffee the next day and asked me to bring my banjo. For the rest of the vacation, I sat in with them every night and we realized that there was something special in the way we played music together."

Out of that musical bond, a band was born.

"Gil is a virtuoso, and I have learned so much from him," Connell noted on the phone from Brooklyn before heading west for a tour. "We both like intricate, challenging music as well as the simple 'ear candy' aspect of something very easy to hear and understand."

Strong playing and accessible sounds are in abundance on an impresive independent debut album, "Lonely Hippo," a happy song set full of musical border crossings.

The group was basically a trio on its debut album, with the addition of Cartas plus cameos by percussionist Miguel Favero, mandolinist Don Stiernberg, and textural touches from the Queretaro String Quartet.

The challenge is to suggest a larger and more varied ensemble sound, through resourceful arranging and a broad stylistic itinerary.

The tour that brings Gil & Tuey to SOhO also features Venezuelan violinist Ali Bello and percussionist Stefan Schatz, whose pan-global palette includes tables from India, the cajon from Peru and the flamenco tradition, plus other instruments.

Ironically, one of the most disarming sounds in the band is the most "North American," Connell's banjo.

A player whose resume includes work with Taj Mahal, Vassar Clements and the Chicago Symphony, Connell joins the ranks of modern banjo players who love their bluegrass roots but have pushed the instruments to new places and fresh levels of technical finesse.

Does he feel that the time is ripe for music of multicultural ambitions, such as this one?

"Yes," he says. "I do think that multicultural music is in these days and how could it not be with, a) the sameness that the major lables are pumping onto the radio waves and stocking in the stores, and b) the Internet. The world is a smaller place simply because of information and the immediacy with which it can be obtained. This info on demand allows the insular kid growing up in central Nebraska to be aware of the Afro-Peruvian cajon or the Indian tables and to hear and see examples right in his or her bedroom through the computer window.

"Gil & Tuey is just a small but growing world music group that plays music that can appeal to anyone who is not afraid to open their ears and listen with an open mind to something new." - Santa Barbara News-Press

"SVMA Holds Concert of World Music"

October 6, 2006

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will host a concert of high-energy multicultural music by acoustic ensemble Gil & Tuey at 8 PM on Friday, Oct. 20th. The group features musicians from the United States, Mexico and Venezuela, including Gil Gutierrez on guitar, Tuey Connell on banjo, guitar and vocals, Stefan Schatz on cajon and percussion, Ali Bello on violin and Brett Simons on bass.
At SVMA, they will perform a soulful mix of flamenco, Cuban son, bossa nova, tango, bluegrass, Venezuelan joropos, Mexican folk, bypsy jazz, American songbook, blues and classical music within a predominantly original repertoire. The program will be highlighted by an original interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man." Refreshments will be served during intermission.
Gil & Tuey began in an Irish pub in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The ensemble's music spans centuries, generations and genres and has been enjoyed by audiences at the Kennedy Center, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Woodsongs and other top venues. More information is available at
Gutierrez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and is the veteran guitarist of many of the best Latin American pop stars from Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Argentina. He is a virtuoso on the nylon string guitar, playing in a variety of styles and composing his own works.
Born in New York City, banjoist and vocalist Connell has performed and/or recorded with Taj Mahal, Vassar Clements, Arturo Sandoval, Livingston Taylor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other noteworthy musicians as well as on his own and with his ensembles. Know for his versatility, Connell plays jazz, blues, American songbook, newgrass, and other styles with equal skill.
Admission to the concert is $20 for museum members and $25 for nonmembers. Seating is limited, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. Tickets are available through the museum by calling 939-7862 or visiting, or through Reader's Books, 130 E. Napa St. All proceeds will benefit SVMA exhibitions and programs. Museum memberships may be acquired or renewed at the door. - Sonoma News

"Musical Meeting of the Minds - and Talents"

By Catherine Farquharson

Gil, Cartas and Tuey with Favero play their instruments with the smooth, cohesive confidence of a well-rehearsed piece. It might surprise you to know that the piece they recorded was written last night. In fact, the percussionist has never heard it before, but records it on his first try. I guess when you are this good, you don't have to worry too much about mistakes. In fact, it seems that all this group has to do is play together - and the rest naturally takes care of itself.

Last December perfectly illustrates this phenomenon. Gil Gutierrez was playing his guitar, Pedro Cartas his violin and Miguel Favero his Peruvian box at Finnegan's Pub. Fans in town know this trio for their natural fusion of Mexican folk, gypsy-jazz, flamenco, bossa nova, Cuban and classical-inspired pieces. But Tuey Connell, a banjo player visiting San Miguel from New York City, stumbled upon their gig and had never heard anything like it.

The group was equally impressed by Connell's five-string banjo playing. Soon, he was invited to play a set with them every night.

"The energy and the vibe was right, and the reaction at Finnegan's was exciting," Connell says. "We all listened to each other, reacted to rhythms and harmonies - and 'that' something special in the ensemble transferred to the audience."

Now, five months later, Connell is back in San Miguel recording with Gil, Cartas and Favero. The addition of bluegrass and new-grass to this already unique mix of influences has the quartet playing two covers and eight originals - ranging from flamenco to the blues - on the CD.

It should come as no surprise that this fusion of sound originates from San Miguel, for like its population, the music comes from all over the world -it's eclectic, creative and unlike anywhere else. - Atencion, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

"Connell Redefines Notion of Musical Versatility"

By Ron Wynn,
June 21, 2004

There are several musicians that play more than one instrument, and quite a few who are also fine vocalists. But Tuey Connell, whose trio appears tonight at the Bluebird Café, is truly unique among singers and players.

Getting there: The Tuey Connell Trio plays at 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Bluebird Café, 4104 Hillsboro Road. There is an $8 cover charge, 383-1461.

Connell is a premier guitarist and banjo soloist, as well as an outstanding stylist on standards, pre-rock tunes, blues, soul and rock songs. He enjoys demolishing the notion that the five-string banjo cannot be utilized in any genre except folk or bluegrass.

"Many people expect to hear banjo only if you're doing bluegrass or early New Orleans jazz," Connell said. "But while I really love both those idioms, the banjo has so much potential in other areas that many times hasn't been tapped because of the feeling that you can't play hard bop on the banjo or you can't swing on it. Hopefully, I've proven on my releases that you can play music that's rhythmically and harmonically challenging on the banjo."

Connell's versatility and love of multiple idioms was developed during his childhood. His mother sang in church and played guitar at '60s folk fests. Connell initially took piano lessons as a child, but was so disillusioned by his teacher he almost abandoned playing. His mother convinced him to try the banjo.
The Connell's home was filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Billie Holiday and Nat "King" Cole to Flatt & Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Once he began playing banjo, Connell gradually also started doubling on guitar, while simultaneously developing his vocal skills.

Indeed, Connell's work has astonished critics from both jazz and folk circles. His most recent release, Under The Influence , features his adventurous banjo and guitar solos as well as lush lead vocals backed by a fine group that includes pianist Steve Klink, bassist Henning Gailing, tenor saxophonist Geof Bradfield and drummer Markus Rieck. Connell delves into soul with a nice version of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is," capably covers the blues on "When You Been Gone So Long," and then shifts into more conventional jazz/pop territory on "I Thought About You" and "No Moon At All."

While many jazz and jazz-tinged singers consider Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald their main influence, Connell cites the lesser-known but equally marvelous balladeers Johnny Hartman and Mark Murphy. His list of favorite instrumentalists includes jazz guitarists Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny, as well as the masterful banjo players Earl Scruggs and Tony Trischka. But the person he credits above all others with paving the way for innovative approaches to banjo is Nashville's own Bela Fleck.

"He's the master and the one who set the tone for the rest of us on banjo," Connell said. "He plays everything from classical and jazz to rock and blues, does it his way and makes it work. His music has been an inspiration, and I'm trying to do some of the same things with my group." - Nashville City Paper


Newcomers don't play second fiddle to the genre's traditionalists
By David Royko
Special to the Tribune

December 12, 2006

Bluegrass continues to evolve and expand, its increasing use as a musical spice mixed in with other styles a happy development for a type of music that, only a decade ago, most people had never heard of.

This year's batch of discs is equal parts "newgrass" -- the genre's wild child -- and traditional bluegrass, the balance between convention and innovation stirring up a stylistic aeration that helps the music stay healthy.

1. Chris Thile: "How To Grow a Woman From the Ground" (Sugar Hill)

After wandering ever further from bluegrass with Nickel Creek and his own solo albums over the past decade, mandolinist/singer Thile charges back to home base with a modernist bluegrass grand slam. Strutting their stuff with the boss is Thile's cherry-picked crop of like-aged (mid-20s) acoustic virtuosi, including local boys Greg Garrison on bass and Noam Pikelny on banjo.

2. Dale Ann Bradley: "Catch Tomorrow" (Compass)

A voice that ranks with the very best women of bluegrass, Bradley's has a slightly darker tone -- softened by a plush, breathy cushion -- than Alison Krauss or Rhonda Vincent, and she applies it with force and impressive expressive range. Backed by a crack crew of sidemen, Bradley's bluegrass is, as Bill Monroe might have said, powerful music.

3. Michael Cleveland: "Let 'er Go, Boys!" (Rounder)

Another of the young guns and already an alumnus of the bands of Dale Ann Bradley and Rhonda Vincent, twentysomething fiddler Cleveland's band is called Flamekeeper, as was his first solo album, and that's what he is all about -- keeping alive the bluegrass tradition he loves. "Let 'er Go Boys" is the bluegrass life force personified. With guest vocalists such as Vince Gill, Del McCoury and Larry Sparks, the singing rises to the same level as the dazzling picking.

4. Jim Van Cleve: "No Apologies" (Rural Rhythm)

Fiddler for the bluegrass band Mountain Heart, 26-year-old Van Cleve's solo debut packs a wallop, delivering distinctive modern bluegrass that yanks tradition into the kids' playhouse for some musical roughhousing. The instrumental contributions of guitarists Clay Jones and Byron House, mandolinist Adam Steffey, banjoist Ron Stewart and dobroist Rob Ickes each deserve mention for helping make "No Apologies" so tasty.

5. Andy Statman: "East Flatbush Blues" (Shefa)

If traditional bluegrass fans ruled Congress, the jewel case of "East Flatbush Blues" would likely have something akin to a parental advisory sticker, warning of its explicitly out-there jazz content. New Yorker Statman is probably better known these days as a Klezmer superstar and clarinet protege of Dave Tarras, but he is also the newgrass mandolin protege of David Grisman, and this mandolin/bass/drums instrumental album is a rare feast. Statman is simply one of the greatest and most unique musicians ever to choose mandolin for their muse.

6. Sam Bush: "Laps in Seven" (Sugar Hill)

Somehow, Bush has not only maintained the cyclonic energy and drive that ignited newgrass music when he was barely out of high school in the early 1970s, but he is, if anything, more creative now. From instrumentals such as his own "The Dolphin Dance" and Jean Luc Ponty's "New Country," with Ponty as guest, to John Hartford's cockeyed "On the Road" and the blistering bluegrass of "Bringing in the Georgia Mail," the King of newgrass has, once again, made a great record.

7. Gil, Cartas & Tuey: "The Lonely Hippo" (

The international trio of Gil Gutierrez (guitar), Pedro Cartas (violin) and Tuey Connell (banjo) have named flamenco, Cuban son, bossa nova and tango along with bluegrass to describe the music they play, but the best way to describe something like their lilting, deeply evocative "Irene y Diego" would be magic. Their blend of styles is both seamless and loaded with melodic ideas that linger in the ear.

8. Curly Seckler: "Bluegrass Don't You Know" (Copper Creek)

A professional musician since 1935, Seckler is part of bluegrass music's first generation, his greatest fame coming with the greatest years of Flatt & Scruggs, from the late '40s to the early '60s, for whom he provided both mandolin and vocals. His fabled tenor voice, while certainly aged, has retained every ounce of its engaging personality, and first-rate pickers such as Herschel Sizemore and Larry Perkins help their star shine.

9. Mike Compton & David Long: "Stomp" (Acoustic Disc)

Compton carries the Monroe mandolin mantle lighter than anyone, and his fellow eight-string partner Long is the perfect companion of this trip back to early bluegrass and the even earlier string band music that anticipated it. The informal-sounding vocals won't please anyone seeking polish, but their mandolin (and mandola) duets balance discipline with a relaxed spontaneity.

10. Jimmy Arnold: Riding "With Ol' Mosby" (Rebel)

W - Chicago Tribune

"Folk Music Adds Spice To Small Town Atmosphere"

Folk music adds spice to small-town atmosphere

By Pierre Comtois
Nashoba Publishing

GROTON -- Latin jive was in the air Saturday when Mexican folk band Gil, Cartas Tuey crossed the border and found their way to the Groton Country Club. The evening featured their own special blend of jazz, blues, flamenco, bossa nova, Mexican folk and gypsy jazz.

“We like to play small towns like Groton because we like the intimacy it affords between ourselves and the audience,” said guitarist Gil Gutierrez whose band members accompanied him on banjo, violin and percussion. “Big city venues aren't as warm.”

Gil, Cartas Tuey arrived in Groton while on a tour of the U.S. having just completed shows at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center and in Harrisburg, Penn.

Gutierrez said each member brings their own musical interests to the band which helps enrich their performances.

It was that mixture of sounds that got the attention of Gary Lee, Windchimes Productions impresario who discovered Gil, Cartas Tuey while on a recent trip to San Miguel, Mexico. Lee gave the group his card and invited them to contact him if they were ever in the Groton area.

Windchimes began its music series last spring when it headlined Eddie From Ohio, a four-man band backed up by folk cellist Gideon Freudmann. Its next show, held in August, featured songstress Cheryl Wheeler which drew a crowd of 200 people.

Always interested in folk music, Lee and Shuman had been looking for an opportunity to restart a folk music concert series they organized as the Mount Wachusett Folk Café when the two had been administrators at Mount Wachusett Community College between 1997 and 2002.

With the opening of the new Gibbet Hill Grille, they felt their chance had come. Thinking the restaurant's renovated barn would make the perfect venue for their shows, the two men booked it for their first performances. Since then the series has moved to the Groton Country Club, which proved great for Saturday's performance that opened with local talent Leah Schulman.

Nevertheless, Windchimes' latest production had no problem finding well over 100 music fans to fill the Country Club's function room for Saturday's show, which left nothing but satisfied customers in its wake.

“I was very interested in tonight's show because of its Latin music which we don't usually get in this area,” said Westford resident Jean Schott. “Also, the price was right making for a very reasonable evening. I would definitely come again.”

“It's a really nice venue and they seem to have gotten some really top notch performers to come out to the middle of Massachusetts to play,” said Somerville resident Kirsten Jerch.

“I came to check out Leah and also the Latin musicians,” said former Superintendent of Schools Mary Jennings. “I will definitely be coming back.”

Gil, Cartas Tuey opened their set with a bouncy instrumental that had people moving to a mix of Latin sounds that led directly into an Argentinean ditty that had overtones of ballad music punctuated with interludes of tango.

While the band was received with enthusiasm by the audience, local talent Leah Schulman, accompanied by her father on piano and violin, almost stole the show.

Schulman performed a number of she composed that, in another time, would not have seemed out of place in a smoke-filled night club of the kind seen in countless film noirs. This is not to say that her songs did not have edge or modern sensibilities. Listeners can judge for themselves when Schulman's first CD is released later this year.

“Leah has a great voice,” said Jerch. “She's definitely piqued my interest.”

“I think it's great to have a venue here in Groton,” said Stuart Shuman. “I think the populace in town will support it.”

On tap for March is songstress Maura O'Connell, Cliff Eberhardt and Gideon Freudmann in April, and Ellis Paul in May. Windchimes hopes to close 2006 with a Zydeco Hulabaloo Dance-a-thon Blowout in December.

“I think folk music is much broader than it used to be in the 1960s,” said Lee. “When you ask most people what they think folk music is they reference groups like Peter, Paul and Mary, but people who are into folk today like to mix it up with blues, jazz and a lot of other sounds.”

Another characteristic of today's folk scene, said Lee, was that performers now offer more of a complete show with songs intertwined with chatter and comedy rather than coming on and just performing their song lists.

Despite the mass appeal it achieved in the 1950s and 1960s, folk is still primarily a people's music with its shape and rhythms arising naturally from indigenous cultures. For that reason, folk performers will always find the smaller venue more welcoming than the impersonal mega-stadiums filled with screaming fans.

“I think p - Nashoba Publishing


CD - The Lonely Hippo
DVD - The Lonely Hippo - performances, interviews and more

La Grima Del Toro (2005)
Danza Characteristicas (2004)
Huapangos Torreros (2004)
Huapangos (2002)

I'm Going Home - 2006 tba
Manhattan King Trio - 2006 tba
Famous - w/ Jamie Cullum/Al Jarreau (Verve Universal 2005)
Under the Influence (Minor Music Records 2003)
Live In Concert - Wir Jazz-Wunderkinder! (Miner Music 2003)
Songs for Joy and Sadness (Minor Music 2001)
Is This Love (Minor Music 2000)
Red Jester (TuConn 1999)
Tuey Connell & the Chicago Jump Company (TuConn 1998)
Tuey Connell Group (TuConn 1993)




Gil & Tuey began at an Irish pub in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This unique ensemble spans centuries, generations, and genres with equal aplomb and finesse. One can feel the energy cooking on the stage and eminating out to the audience - 'hot' is a very apt adjective.

Gil & Tuey's debut CD and DVD, 'The Lonely Hippo,' blends multi-cultural music with top shelf musicianship in a unique instrumental and vocal setting.

Gil Gutierrez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and is the veteran guitarist of many of the best Latin American pop stars from Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, and Argentina. Gil's virtuosity on the nylon string guitar and tres is formidable as he is able to perform in a variety of styles as well as compose his own works.

Pedro Cartas was born in Cuba and performed with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra as first chair violin for eight years. Pedro became Concertmaster at age 23. After immegrating to Mexico, Pedro joined the Philharmonic Orchestra in Mexico City and the Guanajuato Symphony (Mexico). He has also performed extensively with smaller groups and pop stars. Gil and Pedro have been performing together for over twelve years.

Tuey Connell was born in New York City, NY and has performed and/or recorded with Taj Mahal, Vassar Clements, Arturo Sandoval, Livingston Taylor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and others. Tuey is recognized as a 'one of a kind' (Chicago Tribune) vocalist and banjo player whos ability to perform in a variety of styles and genres has kept him busy touring and recording. Tuey's last three records on Minor Music (Germany) have focused on the American Songbook, jazz, blues, newgrass and beyond. Tuey's seventh CD "I'm Going Home" will be released in the spring of 2006. For more on Tuey please visit