Rob Curto (composer/songwriter, piano and diatonic accordions) is a musician with a reputation for dizzying skill and deft mastery of the accordion across musical and geographical boundaries. Most recently, he spent the better part of the last decade touring extensively with his band Matuto, known for its distinctive “Brazilian-bluegrass” sound. Mixing the roots Americana stylings of the great Bill Monroe with rhythmic and melodic elements from Brazil, Curto has been part of a movement to establish the accordion as a versatile and important instrument in contemporary roots music.
In addition to the Brazilian music for which he has become well known, Curto has gained a reputation as an all-around master of the accordion and has been in high demand across genres. His musical collaborations include performing and recording with Latin Grammy award winner Lila Downs; Klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer; trumpeter/composer Frank London; Punjabi Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia; and icon of Brazilian Forró, the great accordionist Dominguinhos. Curto is also an enthusiast of Irish button accordion and studies with acclaimed B/C box player and NEA National Heritage Fellow, Billy McComisky.
Curto has toured internationally including across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has represented the United States State Department abroad. He has been a staple at festivals like Wintergrass, Red Wing Roots, and Rhythm and Roots, and made his Philadelphia Folk Festival debut with his band Forró for All in 2018.
Chris Coyle (acoustic bass) is a bassist, composer and music educator based in Philadelphia, PA. As a very active performer, he can be found in an array of musical settings including Jazz (with his own Outside Sound ensemble, and with noted musicians such as John Swana, Behn Gillece, Doug Hirlinger, Matt Scarano, V. Shayne Frederick and others), Americana (Noggin Hill, Lady Bird), Experimental (Son Step, NotSoSilentCinema, Rhinoceri Trio) and World Music (Oscuro Quintet, Cunjunto Philadelphia, Ensemble Novo). As a composer, Chris has been recognized by the American Composers Forum, the McKnight Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Doug Hirlinger (drums) is a multifaceted musician whose diverse history includes extensive experience as a drummer, composer, educator, and producer. On drum set Doug is as much at home in jazz and experimental settings as he is on stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra. During the past 20 plus years Doug has toured Europe and the US, played many times in the most prominent venues in New York and Philadelphia, and established lasting relationships with an abundant list of collaborators.
Brennen Ernst (banjo, guitar)
Mazz Swift (fiddle) is critically acclaimed as one of America’s most talented and versatile performers today, engaging audiences all over the world with her signature weaving of song, melody and improvisation.
Mazz combines elements of classical, folk, rock, jazz, free improvisational music and electronica to create a rich, unique and diverse musical experience. She is a singer, composer and Juilliard-trained violinist who plays electric and acoustic instruments and has, over the years, performed and recorded with a diverse accumulation of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Valerie June, DJ Logic, William Parker, Butch Morris, Jason Lindner, Kanye West, and most recently as string mistress for D’Angelo’s “Vanguard Strings.”
Isaac Standford (dobro, lap steel) plays the pedal steel, lap steel, and dobro in several projects around the Philadelphia area. He has brought the steel guitar into some unusual contexts including a three-year collaboration with BalletX, performances with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Kimmel Center’s theater residency. Stanford also uses the steel guitar in more conventional genres with several projects in the Philadelphia area playing bluegrass, western swing, gypsy jazz, and country music. His instrumental Hawaiian-inspired quintet, Slowey and the Boats, keeps an active playing schedule and can be found at tiki bars and luaus throughout the region. When not playing music, Isaac teaches 7th grade Geography in the Cheltenham School District.
Saantis Fenmu Davis (percussion) is a performer and educator specializing in traditional African music and percussion from all parts of the world. Originally from Philadelphia, Davis trained in New York before returning to his hometown to share the gift of unity through music.
Davis has a traditional African band, "Benu Ausar Philly,” and is a percussionist for the Philly Reggae Band, Arrastao do Dende, Bad Kitty, Funk Logic, Rafael Ponde and Band, and Children of Adam. He has recently recorded an album with Ponde, "Live at the Boom Room with Rafael Ponde." He is also a music teacher in the Philadelphia school system, and works with youth to educate them on percussion instruments from around the world. Davis has over 20 years of experience playing traditional African music, and studied with under Tchet Kater of Benu Ausar Drum Company, Brother Yao of Asase Yah Drum, and Dance & Basi Kolo.
Featured on ONE (2019)
Fish Harmonics are a Philadelphia-based ensemble, led by accordionist Rob Curto, that plays adventurous American roots music.
Influenced by celtic, old time, and modern bluegrass sounds, the band brings a unique free-wheeling and improvisational energy to both classic tunes and original compositions.
Featuring Curto’s mastery of the piano and diatonic accordions, coupled with rhythmic arco bass playing, old-timey strings, and groove-oriented drumming, the band is creating an exciting blend of sounds both familiar and new.