IONA FLIES AWAY is a concert/storytelling/theater work in progress.  A story of a girl coming into being a woman and the stumbling blocks along the way.

The work has previously had a workshop reading in a different iteration at Horizon’s Theater (Washington, DC). I am now working with singer/songwriter Kelly Sloan  to reconfigure the piece to create a concert/storytelling/theatrical experience.

 

ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS

Kelly Sloan is a singer/song writer and actress that hails from Detroit Michigan. As music has constantly been an inspiration in her artistry, she is beyond excited to be taking part in the Poets and Writers Seventh Annual Cross Cultural Reading.  Her recent New York credits include, "Both my Grandfathers" at Lincoln Center Education, "SANDBOX" at The Fire This Time One Act Play festival. "That Black Mermaid Man Lady" at New Dramatists. As well as music venues Prohibition and Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre. 

Chris Vega who is the son of Latin dance legend Joe Vega, had an early exposure to live music as he watched the famous Latin big bands led by Tito Puente and Machito performing behind his father. There were always various toy instruments around the house, such as a guitar, bongos, a recorder and an organ. The first time Chris would pick up a real instrument was in 5th grade. Wanting to play the cello but being too small to handle the instrument comfortably, he settled on the violin. This would be his musical path until hearing "Good Times" by Chic and it's iconic bass line played by Bernard Edwards. From that moment, Chris was obsessed with learning the bass guitar. 

Fortunately, a friend was selling a beginner's bass for $75. He bought it and immediately started picking out songs by ear. His high school music teacher impressed upon him the importance of learning how to read music and to learn music theory.

While spending his late teens and early 20's playing in local rock bands, he enrolled in college and got his degree in music theory and composition. This education would prove to be vital, as it allowed him to play various styles with confidence and express his creativity. Shortly after graduating college, Chris hooked up with a popular NYC band called Bang The Drum, which featured current Blues sensation Regina Bonelli as lead vocalist and songwriter. Fusing pop, rock, funk and Afro/Cuban rhythms, this band was a perfect outlet for his eclectic musical palette. He would stay with his band for 5 years until they split up and went their separate ways. The knowledge that he gained from being exposed to great song writing would prove to be inspirational as he set out to form another band.

After answering an ad he saw in a music store, he would cross paths with vocal powerhouse Amy Douglas. The 2 of them would form a song writing partnership that would last for the next 10 years. Although unable to secure a record or publishing deal, they enjoyed regional acclaim for their live shows, traveling around the Northeast music scene and headlining several music festivals. During this time, Chris also played on the club hit "Let It Rain" by Soul Solution featuring dance music icon Carolyn Harding. He also performed at the 1999 Espoo Jazz Festival in Finland, which featured Ray Charles as well as The Yellow Jackets as the headlining artists.

The last few years has found Chris working with various artists around the city. Currently, he is working with retro soul sensation Kelly Sloan. He serves as the musical director for her backing band, The Melodics and has collaborated on several songs with her. They have made quite an impact on the NYC music scene over the last year.

In addition to working with Kelly, Chris has also been doing a lot of corporate work locally, nationally and abroad, teaching and promoting the message of music and the importance of the bass. He considers himself immensely blessed to be able to have a career doing what he loves and gets great joy from giving back and sharing his talent with the world. 

 

An open studio showing of the work-in-process will be held at Old American Can Factory w/ Brooklyn arts exchange in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Saturday, November 18th @ 6p.

 

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This work was created, in part, through the Artist in Residence Program at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation and the Jerome Foundation.