BAND BIO

Ras Badjao & the Tarakis is a living testament to the international influence of Roots Reggae Music. The band calls Des Moines, Iowa home and got a humble start as an acoustic trio, but eventually evolved into a larger group of artistic musicians. TARAKI is an Igorot term that means positive and encouraging people – smart, tuff, gorgon and most of all, beautiful people inside and out! The band’s vision is to continue spreading the message of Reggae Music. They are presently writing and crafting their original music, based on a social, political and spiritual consciousness.

 

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Badjao – vocals/guitar

Badjao hails from the Province of Kalinga of the Philippines. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the U.S. with the likes of Grace Nono, Bob Aves, and Bo Razon playing both traditional Filipino folk music and more modern stylings. Before moving to the states, Badjao had the privilege to open for Ziggy Marley while his band, Badjao Roots, headlined smaller festivals and was a crowd favorite in Baguio City, Philippines. Reggae is a conscious music and Badjao really seeks to communicate and bring people together through reggae music. I and I are the roots!

 

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Anne Stein – flute/keyboard/vocals

Playing with The Tarakis is Anne’s “dream gig”! Anne has a degree in vocal performance from Simpson College and studied opera in Austria and Italy. She started piano lessons at age 7 and grew up playing Elton John and Billy Joel songs by ear. Anne had a fantastic band teacher who gave her the opportunity to learn electric bass and play jazz flute solos. She was first introduced to reggae in the late 80’s. It became an obsession – not just the music – but the culture and the philosophy of Bob Marley and other roots artists. Jamaica is Anne’s “other home” having visited the island almost 30 times.

 

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María Del Mar Meléndez – vocals

Maria is a graduate from the San Juan Children’s Choir, where she began studying music at the age of eleven. The San Juan Children’s Choir is a non-profit organization dedicated to provide a musical education to children between 5 and 18 years of age. Students are selected after a detailed audition where the child’s musical skills and aptitude are evaluated. Founded in 1966, by its current Artistic Director, Evy Lucío Córdova, the San Juan Children’s Choir was the first institution of its kind in Puerto Rico and is today one of the more distinguished art organizations in Puerto Rico. Maria has participated in various international choral competitions and festivals in the United States, France, and Spain. Maria’s mom is a big Bob Marley fan and because of it she grew up listening to reggae music and fell in love with it. Singing with Ras Badjao & The Tarakis reminds her of being back in her Island where she would sit on white sand while listening to roots reggae.

 

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Sandra Isabel – vocals

Sandra hails from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Growing up in a musically inclined family, she has been singing from a very early age and continues to hone her craft. Since moving to Iowa in 2007, Sandra has sang with multiple bands around the state. In 2013 she moved to Nashville and had to leave the band for a year, but she is extremely excited to be back singing with the Tarakis!

 

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Jorgen Jorgensen-Briggs – guitar

From a very early age, Jorgen was out playing gigs and putting his musical nuts and bolts together. He was submerged in jazz, blues, funk, and rock gigs and is a creative force on bass and guitar. Jorgen is currently heavily involved with Ezra and the Boy-Friends, having toured Europe three times in 2014 and having an integral voice in the writing, arranging, and recording of their upcoming sophomore release.

 

MARCELO AREVALO

HONOR FOSS

 

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Jason Kopischke – bass guitar

Family Man’s bass lines were a big part of Jason first picking up the bass guitar. To be able to realize making music with such a diverse group of musicians is a very fulfilling thing! Jason has developed a wide musical palette by playing bass in many church settings, singer-songwriter projects, and cover bands. He was also involved in vocal ensembles and played piano before falling in love with the bass. Music is a universal language and it’s hard not to feel the love at a Tarakis performance!

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