Michael Occhipinti & Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon

Michael Occhipinti & Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon


A spectacular group made of some of Canada’s most renowned jazz and crossover musicians, performing unique arrangements of music by John Lennon and the Beatles. With three distinct vocalists and great musicianship, the projet has collectively been nominated for over 20 JUNO Awards (Canada's Grammy)


Shine On: the Universe of John Lennon is a spectacular group made of some of Canada’s most renowned musicians, performing music by John Lennon and the Beatles uniquely arranged by Michael Occhipinti. Featuring the wonderful and distinct voices of Laila Biali, Dominic Mancuso, and Elizabeth Shepherd, paired with the singular talents of Mark Kelso (drums), Kevin Turcotte (trumpet), Roberto Occhipinti (bass), and Michael Occhipinti (guitar), this unique group came together in December of 2010 for a special concert to mark the 30th Anniversary of John Lennon’s passing. Taking utter delight in the audience’s enthusiasm and the chance to work together performing an iconic repertoire, the musicians have commenced work on a recording to be released in spring 2012, and will be touring in support of this special project. Don’t miss the opportunity to present some of Canada’s most acclaimed artists, collectively nominated for over 20 JUNO Awards, working together to present music by a legendary songwriter.

Shine On - The Universe of John Lennon - Band Bios

Laila Biali
Laila Biali is fast becoming a major focal point of Canada's music scene. From touring with Suzanne Vega, Chris Botti and Paula Cole to recording with and supporting Sting on his If On a Winter’s Night tour, her resume precedes her. The past two years have seen a renewed focus on her skills as composer, arranger, singer and pianist. She takes the best of pop, rock, classical and soul, informs it with her knowledge of jazz and weaves it all into her musical arrangements seamlessly. Laila's music has been presented at prestigious venues spanning four continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall.  Her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards, and her latest release Tracing Light received a JUNO nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year."

Mark Kelso
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Mark Kelso has made Canada his home for many years and is one of the country’s most in-demand musicians. He has played drums with musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Mike Stern, Dave Holland, John Scofield, Dave Grusin, Vince Mendoza, Hilario Duran, Holly Cole, Carol Welsman, Molly Johson, Pat LaBarbera, Guido Basso and Chris Potter in the jazz field while also performing with such pop artists as Gino Vannelli, James Taylor, Chaka Khan, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Bublé and Marc Jordan. His ability to cover many different musical styles has enabled Mark to have such a successful career. Mark has played on over 220 recording projects as well as multiple TV shows, jingles, radio shows and movie soundtracks. A strong clinician he has also performed at many of the top drum festivals in North America. Mark is currently the head of Percussion at Humber College in Toronto.

Dominic Mancuso
Canadian born vocalist Dominic Mancuso has been exploring his Sicilian roots while building a successful career for himself in his native Toronto as an English language performer and composer. Comfortable singing in the older dialects that make up much of Sicily’s folk music, Dominic has also delved deeply into the work of Italy’s contemporary songwriters, and his mastery of this music is showcased on his 2010 JUNO winning CD Comfortably Mine. Dominic Mancuso is also involved in creating innovative multi-media concerts featuring the real-time projected visual work of his painter brother Vincent Mancuso, and the Mancuso brothers’ unique presentation of music and visual art has been featured at Nuit Blanche in Toronto.

Michael Occhipinti
An eight-time Juno Award nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and guitarist/arranger for Shine On, Michael Occhipinti’s modern and eclectic approach to jazz and creative music of all kinds has earned him a broad array of listeners and the respect of critics and musicians alike. As a leader of


The group has commenced recording its debut CD, to be released in spring 2012.