Monette Marino began drumming in 1976 at the age of 9 when her father initiated her on his sparkle blue Ludwig drum set. For five years she spent most of her time after school in the garage learning from her father and playing along to the radio. But in 1981 her father gave her a lesson on the congas and it was at that moment that she fell in love with the skin on skin contact and began to immerse herself into the world of hand drumming and percussion.
Monette has explored many drumming systems from around the world and has a deep respect for the cultural heritage preserved and passed on through the language of the drum. She has played and recorded with many artists in San Diego and Los Angeles, and when she is not touring with husband Mamady Keita, she can be found teaching at TTM USA and drumming for various African and Afro-Cuban dance classes in San Diego.
San Diego local Steph Johnson is an artist who defies comparisons. Her unique blend of blues, soul, jazz and R&B makes her uncategorizable and her vocal talent sets her apart even further. Her original material is solid; groovey R&B/funk with soulful melodies that keep the listener hooked. In 2010 she won Best Jazz Artist and Best Jazz Album in the SD Music Awards, and was nominated for Best Jazz Artist yet again in 2011. She has shared the stage with such legends as Stanley Clarke and Poncho Sanchez. The North County Times put it best when they said “San Diego has never had a singer with the kind of soul that Johnson possesses.”
- 2010 Best Jazz Artist SD Music Awards
- 2011 Best Jazz Artist Nominee, SD Music Awards
- cover of Troubadour this month.