about

Kikazaru: The three wise monkeys (Japanese: san'en or sanzaru, or, sanbiki no saru, literally "three monkeys") are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

Life is filled with choices.
As a kid I was able to pursue my passion for music and sports, in concert with my need for education and intellectual development. In my youth and teens I played the piano, tympani, percussion, trumpet and guitar and developed my vocal capabilities. I performed, beginning at age 11, in the Rhode Island Youth Philharmonic as well as All State Band, Orchestra and Chorus, and later performed with groups ranging from Jazz ensembles, reggae bands and rock groups. At the same time I was a competitive swimmer and competed at the National Olympic level in sailing.

Then came that moment in life when one must make a career choice and I chose to take the conventional route, studying for a business career while I coached sailing at the college level.

I was luckier than most, I was able to combine my passion for sailing with my business skill and at 23 started my own company, "Reach Sailing" which provided sailing curricula and coaches to clubs in the North East, complimented by my role as Membership Director at US Sailing. My friends were envious of my success, but I felt incomplete.

At age 28, in a visit from a friend, Abby Washburn, I had an epiphany that my true love and passion is music and that music is where I wanted to invest my life. Eighteen months ago, I began a journey to better understand and interpret the roots of American vernacular music by learning to play the banjo and immersing myself in old time music. I then began to interpret these solid roots into new rhythmic and lyrical forms which would better relate to current sensibilities.

This album, "Providence" is the culmination of that musical and personal journey. These songs, while rooted in the past, provide a totally fresh perspective and musical treatment which can be embraced by a new generation. I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.

Inspiration comes at times that you least expect it.
I was sitting on a park bench on the East Side of Providence, RI on a brisk fall afternoon in 2008 playing my banjo and singing. Along came this woman dressed in her Saturday's best with two elderly dogs. She stood in front of me and just listened and began to dance. I looked up after a moment and noticed that she was sobbing. I ceased playing to console her and to see if she was okay. "Yes, Yes…please don't stop playing. I haven't heard this music since I was a child growing up in Tennessee. These are tears of Joy. Please continue." I continued playing, this time a more upbeat tune hoping to lift her spirits. She began dancing and spinning with joy.

I had to leave shortly and she asked my name and where she could find my album. I told her that I didn't have an album…yet… but gave her my name. "Well…what is the album called?" I replied, "I haven't gotten that far yet." She proclaimed with intensity, "You should call it Providence." I bent over to put my banjo in the case and upon lifting my head, she was gone.

My initial album names were unoriginal and boring. Upon contemplating on the idea of "Providence" I realized its' double relevance. It was my home and it means, "guiding the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence".

This album is a journey of my life from birth, through life's struggles, death and the afterlife, Providence. Where I was born and a place that we hope to achieve….

mike Mike Block, cellist and composer, is active in many genres and groups, including his own band for which he also sings. Mike also performs in Mark O'Connor's Appalachia Waltz trio, Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, The Absolute Ensemble, The Sirius String Quartet, Hanneke Cassel Band, YMusic, The Knights, Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, Saraab Ensemble, and Bassam Saba's New York Arabic Orchestra. A frequent performer in Germany, it was there that Mike Played the World Premiere and also recorded Gregor Hubner's Cello Concerto No. 1, which showcases Mike's non-traditional pizzicato and improvisational abilities. As a composer, Mike has had his works performed as part of the Tribeca New Music Festival, the MATA Festival and by ensembles such as The Silk Road Ensemble, Sirius String Quartet, The Absolute Ensemble, The Knights and The Brandywine Chamber Orchestra, among others. Mike also co-created Kreol, a software that turns your computer into a musical instrument that you play by typing. www.kreolmusic.com More info on Mike is here

mike Rob Hecht is from central Illinois and has been playing fiddle for 17 years. He grew up playing bluegrass and country with father Bill Hecht (pianist, composition graduate from Berklee College of music, pastor). Mark O' Connor's Fiddle Camp and mentor Casey Driessen played a big part in Rob's development. Rob then attended Downbeat Award Winning Decatur MacArthur High School and played first tenor saxophone in their band, as well as violin and saxophone in the jazz combo. Rob also performed in the second tenor saxophone seat with the Heartland Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Doug Tidaback and Thomas Shabda Noor. Rob was whisked away to New Jersey to study Jazz Studies on Violin and Saxophone at William Paterson University. Rob studied here with David Demsey, James Williams, Don Braden, Rich DeRosa, and Mark Feldman. Rob now resides in dabronx, and performs regularly with Elizabeth and the Catapult, the Five Deadly Venoms, Clay Ross, Hans Holzen, Kari Denis, Justin Brown, and the Falco Bros. Rob has recorded/performed with Casey Driessen, Noam Pikleny, Blue Merle, Clay Ross, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Jeff Taylor, Andy Friedman, the Defibulators, James Williams, Vassar Clements, and the Prigs.