Where many bands who fall under the broad classification of “Latin” consist of musicians with a shared ethnic heritage, our story is different. We all come from different places and grew up in different times. Some of us come from small American towns where there was little access to anything outside of mainstream pop culture. Some of us grew up in American cities with strong ties to Italian and Portuguese traditions. And we have members who were born in Latin American nations - Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Due to our diverse backgrounds, it is remarkable that we’ve come together at all, and in such an unlikely place as Rhode Island.
We have little in common, besides that we were all born with a passion for music and an openness to it in all its varieties of expression. We have worked hard to claim our sound as a band. Since we don't come from a common cultural background, there was no obvious style to build our sound on. Each of us has brought what he’s learned from a life of loving and studying music; collectively, we have had to learn how to listen to sharply contrasting points of view and how to understand something that we once considered foreign. Over time we have forged a sound that we call Latin Roots Rock, taking a firm understanding of various Latin and American musical traditions and giving them new voice in a unique combination of styles and personalities, celebrating diversity and life. We pride ourselves on our performance, and always endeavor to create an experience for our audience. We set big goals for ourselves; our chief ambition is to get the whole world dancing.
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar & Percussion
J. Gregorio Murillo was born in the mountains of Sorte in Yaracuy, Venezuela. He was raised in Brazil and lived for a time in Europe in his youth. He founded GAMAGE, a Latin rock trio, in Chelsea, MA (1996), where he served as composer, songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist. During this time, he also experimented fusing classical-style string arrangements in a pop-rock format.
In 2002, Gio launched ELEMENTO SOLO, one of the only Latin fusion projects in Boston, Massachusetts at the time.
Gio joined PLANET GROOVE in 2005, providing the catalyst for its evolution into SANTA MAMBA.
Gio is endorsed by Luna Guitars.
Lead Guitars, Vocals
Founding Member & Spiritual Guide.
Larry Carlton, Al Dimeola, Adrian Belew, Peter Gabriel, fellow band mates.
John is endorsed by Parker Guitars
Aaron brings a deep interest in keyboard music, vocal arrangements, and traditional Afro-Cuban styles and patterns to Santa Mamba. His artistic goal is to reconcile an attitude of creative freedom with the structures of various Latin music traditions.
Born in Putnam, CT, Aaron was encouraged to play piano at an early age, and began studying at the age of 5. Resistant to regimented lessons, he quit around the 7th grade, but came back to the instrument on his own terms in high school. He loves both well-crafted songs with compelling poetry and organic music rooted in group interplay and improvisation. In addition to piano and voice, Aaron plays guitar, bass, and accordion.
Musical influences: Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Paul Simon, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Tribalistas, Tool, Claude Debussy, Eric Satie, Aaron Parks, Ethen Iverson (The Bad Plus), Brad Mehldau, Thelonious Monk, Ruben Gonzales, Miles Davis, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Wilco.
Musical influences: Arcade Fire, David Bowie, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bruce Springsteen, Gang of Four, Wire, Fishbone, Tom Waits
Bass Influences: Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins, Les Claypool, Flea, Rocco Prestia
Nick was born and raised in Putnam, CT. He started performing and playing music at the age of 10, studying the tuba. In high school he furthered his musical discipline by becoming the drum major for the Putnam High School marching band. He started playing the bass guitar at age 15, at the request of his music teacher. Nick also went on to study vocal performance and music theory at the University of Connecticut.
Shawn Deneault has played with hundreds of musicians and has entertained thousands of spectators through almost every genre. Winning Guitar Center's Best Drummer in Rhode Island, he is known for his impeccable timing with an approach that is specific to every song, putting his signature feel and sound to compliment any and every song he plays on that is almost instantly noticeable.
Shawn received his Science Degree in Recording Arts and Show Production from Fullsail University in Orlando Florida in 2006. He started playing drums at the age of 3, piano since 10, guitar and Bass since 15. Playing all types of genres from Rock, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Progressive Hip-Hop, Samba, African drumming and everything else in between, he can hang on stage and even more so in the studio. Even though Shawn is only 31 years old, he has been a musician for more than 20 years and a Studio Musician for the better part of 16 years now.
He has branched off into the technical side of the music industry as a Tracking and Mix Engineer, currently working with many bands as Front of House Sound Technician as well as Studio Editor.
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