Melodious Thunk Productions
Melodious Thunk began before the hurricane as a community project in the Crescent City by a small group of New Orleans artists hoping to record the Sunday 2nd Line Parades. Over the years we’ve grown as we’ve ventured round the world into other sonic communities filled with like minded folks enamored by the exhilarating sounds of music in the street. In our collective travels we’ve found beauty and wonder follow vibrant sound through dance, costumes and stories, with each sonic event presenting an occasion to showcase the unusual and spectacular. We immerse in the culture and then bring the full spectrum of rhythms to your eyes and ears in new ways through audio, video, photography and interactive web content. We believe the great sonic waves of the world should be heard whether musicians are dancing, standing or walking. That musicians shouldn’t have to be wealthy, bow down, grovel, get up to their necks in debt to have a platform for their sound to be seen and heard and appreciated. We go out and find the music alive in its element in the streets of the musician’s homes where folks feel comfortable enough to do what they wanna, let go, sing along, have a time. Then we ask the musicians about their sound so they can tell us in their own words what makes their rhythms so magnificent. Our mission is to be a bridge between the music of the street and your eyes and ears by fully documenting both rising artists and master musicians playing authentic, unfiltered rhythms in juke joints, at music festivals, in their homes, their corners, their bars, on their porches and then too, the very much under-documented great moving parades and processions of our time.
Founder, Writer, Audio Engineer
Founder, writer, audio engineer
In New York City, at the age of 6, Nelson Eubanks first started field recording Salsa Dura bands playing house parties on Saturday nights in the projects across the street with a Panasonic cassette recorder he bought with his paper route money placed in his bedroom window just so – so you could hear babies and barking dogs, and the men and ladies laughing and giggling at the boys and girls howling after the passing ice cream truck twinkling across the heat of the night – sirens, subways, bus engine roars, trumpets and trombones, keyboards and claves, bongos, congas, and clapping hands echoing, drifting, bouncing off the brick buildings and wide streets in Monk rhythms of swirling sound the likes of which Nelson has not heard any time before or since.
To better understand all of this Nelson got a B.A. in History (Columbia), and an M.A. in Creative Writing (University of San Francisco). After completing his M.F.A. in creative writing at Columbia University, and publishing his first book of short stories, he moved down to New Orleans and became the sound engineer for the Hot 8 Brass Band. Together with a handful of talented folks, Nelson began audio recording the 2nd lines.
After Hurricane Katrina, he sought out that mystical something about the Sunday 2nd lines, in other sonic jewels of the world: in the great Conga and the Invasion parades of Santiago de Cuba; the Shaman Songs of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru; Festa de Yemanjá in Salvador, Bahia; Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago… the get-down sounds of deep culture resonating through entire peoples. Nelson was born in Harlem, played professional soccer in Barcelona, and is a New Orleans Gambit 40 Under 40. Stories from his critically acclaimed collection, The First Thing Smoking have been anthologized in America and Germany with two of his stories being read at Symphony Space in New York City for PRI’s Selected Shorts. Nelson is a happily married father with three, young, wild, beautiful boys. Together, they split time between surfing the water waves of Kauai and the wondrous sound waves of New Orleans.
Vincent A. deForest, Preservationist and Social Activist and his brother Robert A. deForest cofounded the African American institute for Historic Preservation and Community Development, which is initially the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation in 1971. Under contract with the National Park service (NPS) and other government agencies, more than 70 African American landmarks in the United States received recognition through the efforts of the African American Institute. Five of them are now national historic sites. In the 1900s and 2000s, Mr Deforest worked for the National Park Service. His assignments included Youth Development Coordinator, Special Observance Coordinator and Underground Railroad (UGRR) Coordinator. He worked with local and federal officials, and community leaders and organizations, with a particular emphasis on involving youth, Native Americans and other minorities in the projects. He finished his career at NPS as Special Assistant to the Director. He is currently working with organizations and programs within North America to build a coalition in support of the UNESCO Slave Route Movement.
For more on Vincent and the deForest Brothers’ click here.
Masanori Yura, a native of Kyoto, Japan, moved to New Orleans in 1991. After graduating from Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Florida, he began his professional recording engineering career at the music production studio in Los Angeles owned by legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. Two years later, he returned to New Orleans, where he worked at the Boiler Room Recording Studio and the Piety Street Recording Studio before becoming a freelance engineer in 2001. Masanori has engineered and toured internationally with renowned artists such as Kenny Garrett, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, SFJAZZ Collective, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Hot 8 Brass Band and Herbie Hancock. Masanori engineered the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s album, Book One, which won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2010. Masanori has also been instrumental in the sonic design of the SF Jazz Center and the New Orleans Jazz Market. He continues touring with artists on regular basis and is the lead audio engineer at the SF Jazz Center.
Masanori engineered the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s album “Book One” which won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2010. He continues touring with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Grammy-winning saxophone legend Kenny Garrett on regular basis as well as contributing time at the SF Jazz Center.
After the floods of Katrina, he moved out of New Orleans and now makes his home-base with his family in Oakland, California.
Michelle L. Elmore
Michelle L. Elmore
When it was alive, Michelle documented the underrepresented underground street culture of New Orleans. She worked on the different facets for around six years culminating in the Mardi Gras Indians / Black Indians, the weekly Social and Pleasure club second-line parades, a two year close-up gold-teeth project, and the rap culture of New Orleans.
The Black Indian culture in New Orleans is over 100 years old. Each year each member of the Indian gangs sews a new suit by hand, using passed down techniques of beading, patchwork and feathers. With these beautiful suits, over a hundred pounds from head to toe, they only came out at most, four times a year.
When she moved to New Orleans Michelle was bothered by the photographs of the Indians because they were of the Indian suits, not the person, with the faces sometimes blurred, sometimes so dark you couldn’t see the energy of the very person who made the art piece.
Michelle takes care to make sure and photograph faces as well as close-ups of all the intricate bead work on the suit itself; the story they tell through pictures. Her deep interest in the street culture of New Orleans is apparent in her work, showing a contemporary view of a 100 year culture that evolved instead of dissolved.
Mark is a composer, trombonist, audio recordist, and producer. He is a long-time resident of downtown New Orleans.
Mark’s group Plunge is from New Orleans and is considered one of the most successful new contributors to NO-jazz. Mark’s trombone McGrain is the hub around which a saxophonist, a drummer and a bass player form the band. For this album the group was supplemented with a Hammond organ player and two saxophonists. The solid NO-soil under the sound of Plunge is determined by sousaphone player Kirk Joseph (son of trombonist ‘Frog’ Joseph) and drummer Simon Lott. The grooves of these two fit so seamlessly into each other that the other musicians have to swing, whether they want it or not.
Cheryl Gerber is a freelance journalist and documentary photographer working in New Orleans, where she was born. She began her journalism career as a reporter but switched to photography after spending a year working in Honduras. In 1992, she began working for Michael P. Smith, who nurtured her desire to document daily life in New Orleans. Today, she is a regular contributor to The New York Times, the Associated Press, New Orleans Magazine, and has been a staff photographer for Gambit Weekly since 1994. During the past two decades, Cheryl has won several awards from the New Orleans Press Club for her work on social issues and news photography.
Percussionist and Brasil Consultant
Percussionist and Brasil Consultant
Leo Jesus got his start in popular music in 1990, at the age of eight in the carnaval bloco Come Lixo, based in the Saúde neighborhood in Salvador’s historical center. He has since trained as a percussionist at the Eletrocooperativa institute, the music school of the Federal University of Bahia and the Núcleo Moderno de Música. He has worked as a musician and educator in institutions such as the Fundação da criança e adolescente da Bahia (Bahian Foundation for children and adolescents), Quintaçi, Centro Projeto Axé, Caps Nzinga and Companhia do Sesc. In over ten years of experience in making music for Brazilian dance, Leo has worked with various choreographers such as Joaquim Lino, Lia Robatto, Mestre King, Vera Passos, Clyde Morgan, Rosangela Silvestre, Deni Neves e Zebrinha. He has worked with numerous artists and bands including Mariella Santiago, A Tapa Orquestra de Pandeiros e Quarteto Afro Jazz do maestro Bira Marques and Clecia Queiroz among others. In 2010 he received first place in the public competition at Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia (FUNCEB). At present Leo develops musical works for dance and theater in addition to teaching percussion classes.
Teve início na música popular no ano de 1990, aos oito anos de idade no bloco carnavalesco Come Lixo, situado no bairro da Saúde centro histórico de Salvador. O músico percussionista traz em sua formação o instituto Eletrocooperativa, Escola de música da Universidade Federal da Bahia e Núcleo Moderno de Música. Atuou como músico e arte educador em instituições a exemplo da Fundação da criança e adolescente da Bahia, Quintaçi, Centro Projeto Axé, Caps Nzinga e Companhia do Sesc. Com mais de dez anos de experiência em música focada para dança brasileria o músico trabalhou com diversos coreógrafos ao exemplo de: Joaquim Lino, Lia Robatto, Mestre King, Vera Passos, Clyde Morgan, Rosangela Silvestre, Deni Neves e Zebrinha. Participou do cenário musical com artistas e bandas a exemplo de: Mariella Santiago, A Tapa Orquestra de Pandeiros e Quarteto Afro Jazz do maestro Bira Marques, Clecia Queiroz, entre outros. No ano de 2010 foi o primeiro colocado no concurso público da Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia. Atualmente o músico desenvolve trilhas musicais para dança e teatro além de ministrar aulas de percussão.
Cinematographer, Art Director
Evan Clayburg received a B.S. in graphic design and marketing from Bradley University in 2003. He worked as a lead designer for several boutique design houses in the Chicago area before starting his own studio, Clayburg Creative in 2008. One of his main clients is Netherlands based NGO Transnational Institute (TNI), an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. Recent projects include “Border Wars” which focuses on refugee and immigrant rights and exposes an emerging security-industrial complex and “Big Finance”, a multimedia examination of the varied dimensions and dynamics of financial power and how popular movements might regain control over money and finance.
Evan co-founded and acted as the artistic director for a nonprofit community-based art and music space in Davis, CA called Third Space Art Collective. His documentary film work focuses on art, music, and social movements with a particular interest on how these intersect.
He has been working with Melodius Thunk for over 10 years as a filmmaker, designer and web developer. He recenlty relocated to Tulsa as a part of the Tulsa Remote program.
Cinematographer, Editor, Colorist
Cinematographer, Editor, Colorist
Alejandro’s father dreamed of his son seeing the wonders of the world. After his father passed, Alejandro vowed to fulfill his father’s dream and packed his bags and bought a ticket to the other side of the planet. His travels would take him to India, war-torn Kashmir, across Europe, Sweden, all over Central and South America and of course through the towns, and villages and cities and back roads and byways and highways and sweeping beaches and jungles of his home country of Mexico.
Alejandro has worked as a filmmaker and editor for film and television. A 2016 shoe-string budget ecological short film “Metamorphosis” is winning awards in international film festivals. He has served as director of programs and documentaries for the Directorate General of Indian Education, Channel 11, TV UNAM, National Council for Educational Development, ILCE, UTE, CONACULTA, Televisa. He has also worked as a director, editor and colorist in advertising. He has made independent short films (“The Beast,” “Ana is Ana” “Notes on reality”, “Ray Trueno”, “Br3@d”) and created multimedia shows such as the “Bird Quartet” and “The Orchestra Thunder King” as well as audiovisual installations. He is skilled in professional editing and color correction programs. He is currently a partner and director of Kinomorfosis SA de CV, a company that has developed audiovisual content for the Interactive Baseball Museum, Museum of Birds, as well as political institutions. Alejandro has a B.A. in direction, editing and post-production from UNAM’s prestigious film program in Mexico City. He currently lives in Cuernevaca, Morelos with his wife and son and maintains production facilities in nearby Mexico City.
After getting a Bachelors Degree in Social Communication by the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico (UAM), in Mexico City, and Masters Degree in Film & Video Production by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, Adrián returned to his home in Mexico City to create important documentary films that have gone on to win awards in numerous festivals. He has produced and directed films such as “Voces de la Guerrero” (“Voices of Guerrero”), which obtained the José Rovirosa Award for the Best Documentary in 2004, given byUniversity Center for Film Studies (CUEC) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s(UNAM) Film Archives and “Fuera de foco” (“Out of Focus”) which won some Best Documentary Awards and it’s been screened in more than 30 international film festivals. His documentaries focus on humanizing marginalized communities and bringing attention to important ecological issues.
Adrián is an independent documentary filmmaker and editor. In 2016 he directed a shoe-string-budget ecological short film, “Metamorphosis”, that is winning awards in international film festivals. He has worked in the production of film festivals and exhibitions such as the International Film Festival of Morelia (FICM) and Mexico City’s International Contemporary Film Festival (FICCO). He is a co-founder of the collective Homovidens and partner and co-founder of the audiovisual production house Kinomorfosis, in Mexico City. He has worked as director and editor of TV programs such as “México nuevo siglo” (“Mexico New Century” – Clío / Televisa), “En materia de pescado” (“Talking About Fish” – Once TV), “Aquilísimo” (Fox / Platforma) and “Fronteras interiores” (“Internal Boundaries)” – CANITEC / Solaris). He has imparted several film production workshops for different institutions and worked as a casting director for feature films such as “Malaventura” (“Misfortune”) by Michel Lipkes, “Mai morire” by Enrique Rivero, “Yo” (“I”) by Matthias Meyer and “Todo lo demás” (“Everything Else”) by Natalia Almada. He currently resides in Mexico City.
Mr. Eubanks graduated from Colgate University with a BA degree in Mathematics. Mr. Eubanks also earned a MS degree in Applied Mathematics and Computing Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Additionally Mr. Eubanks studied mathematics at Stevens for 5 years as a Phd Candidate.
He was a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam era and Member of Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories where he did research in Infra Red Physics, Mechanics and Gaming Theory. Mr. Eubanks was a founding member of First Harlem Securities Corporation one of the first Black owned broker dealers which became Members of the New York Stock Exchange. He served as First Harlem’s CFO, Executive Vice President and finally its Chairman and CEO. Mr. Eubanks was CFO, Vice Chairman and finally Chairman and CEO of W.R. Lazard and Company a broker dealer. He was Chairman of W.R. Lazard and Company, a money management firm with over 3 billion dollars in assets under management. In addition Mr. Eubanks has held series 24 (General Securities Principal) and series 27 (Financial and Operations Principal) licenses since 1972. He is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College where he teaches Computer Internals and Computer Applications.