HSJF Recap: Alissia & the Funketeers

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“This female bassist is the future face of funk music.” – The Huffington Post

Alissia Beneveniste is quickly joining the ranks of Berklee musicians to go on and do amazing things with her music. Like Grace Kelly, Nick Smith, Betty Who, and others, Alissia — along with her band, The Funketeers — is cultivating a brand of funk that is fresh and energetic, yet still harkens back to the roots of the music itself. Alissia obviously has a great respect for the musicians who have developed this music, but she is also following with her own vision.

Alissia’s talents reach much further than the bass; she is a notable songwriter and producer, as well as a bandleader for her massive 15-member band. It’s a sound that is big and complex, but is also extremely controlled. For that, she has to thank the ensemble of intensely trained fellow Berklee musicians, including herself. The Funketeers have a clear grasp of dynamic control and embody the vibrant nature of funk that people love. Groove, intricate lines transferred among horns, guitars, keyboards, and vocals all melt together to realize the larger overall sound of the group. Their new takes on song form and harmony keep The Funketeers a fresh force in funk music.

Alissia was recently featured on the cover of Bass Quarterly and Bass Player’s Magazine, where she has a four-page spread starting on page 64. Alissia has also been featured on NoTreble.com as well as the Huffington Post. Revive Magazine had this to say about the bassist:

“There are few names that come to mind when you think of female bassists who can bring the funk hard while singing and leading a band: Rhona Smith, Esperanza Spalding, Nik West, Tal Wilkenfeld. With the performace we’re about to show you, we can surely add one more name to that list: Alissia Benveniste.”

Alissia & The Funketeers’ video “Let It Out,” released on Berklee College of Music’s YouTube channel, received over 100,000 views within two months of its posting. In 2013, Alissia also recorded with rapper/producer Q-Tip for Kanye West. Among those singing her praises are Emilio Castillo, founder of the legendary funk band Tower of Power, who said, “Alissia and the Funketeers sound really great. The horns, the rhythm section, the singers; they all sound excellent.”

The Funketeers gave an exciting and energetic performance to a full audience at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival on January 31st at the Hynes Convention Center here in Boston. Their set began with a drum and bass groove that eventually led to the incorporation of each section in the band; the guitars, keyboards, vocalists, and horn section all came in one by one to build the energy for a slamming introduction to their hour-long set. As the vocal section chanted “we like to party!” people in the audience began to stand up from their seats and dance in the aisles. Alissia and sideman Ricky McKinny kept the interest up throughout the performance. The band also interacted with the audience: call-and-response sections, constant dance grooves, and horn players wildly dancing on stage kept people on their feet and excited. There was no doubt that this was a well-rehearsed and executed show put on by some seriously accurate musicians. The result: entertainment on a high level that was loved by the crowd.

Find out more about Alissia at the links below:

http://www.bassquarterly.de/

https://www.facebook.com/alissiabenvenistemusic

http://www.alissiabenveniste.com/

 

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          February 11, 2017