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Christmas Music Festival: Paoli Mejias

The Source is providing short feature stories on the musicians taking part in the St. John Christmas Music Festival. The lineup includes Nestor Torres, the Paoli Mejias Latin Jazz Quintet, and the Eddie Russell Quelbe Latin Jazz Dec. 16, Kim Waters and Maryel Epps Dec. 17, and St. John's Inner Visions Dec. 18. For more on these artists, go to the music section of the Source.
Paoli Mejias
Paoli Mejias was just 12 years old when he played his first tumbao, a repeated rhythm on a bass or conga drum.
And rather than learn from teachers initially, Mejias learned from the streets. He watched the styles of musicians who would become his mentors. He later learned from one of the best bat players in Puerto Rico, Jose Ramarez.
Now 35, Mejias has developed his own style that combines technique and melodic and rhythmic patterns with his physical strength.
In his 23 years of playing jazz, Mejias has recorded 20 albums, including Grammy winner Masterpiece by Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, and Grammy-nominee Acuarela de Tambores by Alex Acuna.
He has played all over the world with Luis Enrique, Marc Anthony, La India, Seis del Solar, Tito Puente, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentan and others. He has played with Eddie Palmieri for eight years.
Mejias' band, The Paoli Mejias Latin Jazz Quintet, is playing Dec. 16 at the festival.
About the Festival
In an effort to bring the community together during the holiday season, concert producer and St. John resident Steve Simon, has organized the first St. John Christmas Music Festival.
Simon says he decided to organize the event at the suggestion of fellow St. John residents Ira Wade and Julien Harley.
The festival runs Dec. 16 through Dec. 18, with free music and events all three evenings at the Winston Wells Ballfield in Cruz Bay.
The event's sponsors are Donald Sussman, Premier Wine & Spirits, The Westin Resort and Villas, Holiday Homes, American Paradise Real Estate, Tropical Properties, Theodore Tunick and Co., First Bank, The Inn at Tamarind Court, and the Tourism Department.
For more on the St. John Christmas Music Festival, see "St. John's Christmas Will Be Filled With Music".

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