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Chilling with Benyaro
by Karen Pecota

Blizzard days are commonplace during the January Sundance Film Festival.  Handling the crazy, snowy weather during the film festival is not difficult; because several musical artists connected with the festival's Music Café, entice music lovers to step out of cold and into a warm setting to enjoy music, hot drinks and specialty foods. This is how I discovered the band Benyaro.

The perk for their show the day I was in attendance was a CD give-away. Their gift to the audience was one of two of their albums: Benyaro and Good Day Better which have been spun on over 120 radio stations across the country. Benyaro's music has appeared on the CMJ Top 200 list. They also shared news that one of their songs from the latest album to debut July 2012 would also be in an upcoming film.

What is CMJ? Glad you asked! CMJ Network, Inc. is a music events/publishing company which hosts an annual festival in New York City known as, the CMJ Music Marathon. The name evolved because the first year in existence--1980, the event fell on the same weekend of the scheduled New York City Marathon. It all began in a few venues around New York City to allow industry professionals to discover new breaking artists in the college radio-world.  Today famed CMJ Music Marathon is an annual event where selected bands and artists play at various clubs throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. The various published documents are now CMJ New Music Report and CMJ New Music Monthly.  It was founded by Joanne Abbot Green and Robert Haber. Haber started in 1978 under the College Media Journal, a bi-weekly trade magazine aimed at college radio programmers and evolved into CMJ New Music Report in 1982.

The band Benyaro is a powerful duo with leader singer, Ben Musser and upright bassist Robert McCullough. The two combine their voices and instruments projecting music with feeling and honesty. They can do just about any style of music but engage in a combination of soul, folk, country, rock, blues, gospel and beat boxing. They often share the stage with Meg Chamberlin, Scott Claassen, Chuck Schiermeyer and others artists that can jam with their unique sound. Their performances are vibrant and entertaining especially when they use their feet for percussion parts adding to their distinctive soulful tunes. Many deem their sound as an "indie acoustic soul". The Philadelphia Daily News describes, "Good Day Better (latest CD) offers a campfire hoot of a sound endowed with warm tunes and tight harmonies."

Thrilled for the exposure given at Sundance 2012, the dynamic duo known as Benyaro flys high and moves forward with great connections that will no doubt keep them in business for a long time.