BY GINA CHAVEZ
It’s 2:00 a.m. in Amman, Jordan, (7 p.m. in the ATX) and I’m wide awake. My body has no idea what time it is since flying through the air from Sydney, Australia, a couple of days ago.
My bandmates – all five of them this time – and I were invited by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan to lead workshops, collaborate with local artists and perform free public concerts throughout this beautiful and ancient country that sits at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe; a country that in the midst of great turmoil has opened its arms to 2.1 million Palestinians and 1.4 million Syrian refugees.
This is my second time in the Middle East – following last year’s eye-opening tours in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – and I’m so excited to be back in the region! I’m also stoked to share this experience with my entire band, my musical family. This is only our second full band tour outside of the States and I’ve come to value our time together on tour as much as I cherish traveling to new and far off lands! As such, I thought it’d be cool for you to hear from all of us this week.
You’ll meet Michael Romero (trumpet, synth, harmony vocals and also a talented songwriter with his own band, Strumero). We went to grade school together, though as his elder I was too cool to really get to know him until I heard his mad skills on trumpet a few years back. Michael is the MacGyver of the group and my musical right-hand man.
You’ll meet Brad Johnston (keyboard, accordion) whose percussive style and versatility on keys was just what the doctor ordered for our brand of Latin-pop fusion. Brad consumes new experiences with a wide-eyed wonderment that I’m excited to share with you.
Kenneth, my first-ever bass player, has been with me through it all. He’s always had my back as my resident gear guru, but on tour it’s his smile, laughter and hugs that refresh the soul like a glass of cool water.
Jerry Ronquillo, our mustached percussionist, is the life of the party at home and abroad. He is always down for a challenge and when jet lag or hits, Jerry is our secret weapon.
Mike Meadows (drums) is the new addition for this tour. He’s someone whose style and approach to music I’ve long admired, and we’re excited he had time between tours with Willie Nelson to join us here in Jordan.
Join us tomorrow for our first taste of Amman, Jordan…