Mutual Mentorship for Musicians

building new paradigms of mentorship


Shanta Nurullah makes music primarily on sitar, bass and mbira, and works as a storyteller and teaching artist. She co-founded the all-women’s groups Sojourner and Samana, and currently leads the ensemble Sitarsys. A member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), she performs with its Great Black Music Ensemble and has performed and recorded with AACM members Nicole Mitchell and Dee Alexander. A 2021 3Arts awardee, Shanta also received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers.


Sumi Tonooka has been called a “fierce and fascinating composer and
pianist” (Jazz Times), “provocative and compelling” (New York Times) During a career spanning more than 40 years Tonooka has been developing a body of work that surprises and delights audiences worldwide- quietly piling up accolades from jazz writers and fellow musicians. Sumi Tonooka’s, One Two Free Trio features long time colleague Michael Formanek on bass and young lion, Philadelphia born Nazir Ebo on drums. The trio features recent original work by Tonooka, that explores a variety of material exploring motivic compositional themes and open conversational and co creative forms.

“Fierce fascinating composer and pianist, a thoughtful fresh voice, delicate and articulate, driving and dramatic” Jazz Times


A native from Lisboa, Portuguese Sara Serpa is a singer, composer, improviser, who through her practice and performance, explores the use of the voice as an instrument. Serpa has been working in the field of jazz, improvised and experimental music, since moving to New York in 2008. Literature, film, visual arts, nature and history inspire Serpa in the creative process and development of her music. Described by the New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook,” and by the JazzTimes magazine as “a master of wordless landscapes,”  Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy-nominated pianist, Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist, Ran Blake, and Greg Osby.

Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations including literature, film, visual arts as well as history and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released ten albums, the latest being Intimate Strangers (2021) and Recognition (2020). For this night she is joined by guitarist André Matos and bassist Thomas Morgan.


Lindsay has performed with ensembles lead by Melba Liston, McCoy Tyner, Clifford Jordon, Howard Johnson, Baikida Carroll, and Oliver Lake, as well as her own quartet/quintet. She is the recipient of the Chamber Music America 2017 New Jazz Works, and her orchestral work has been read by both the American Composers Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. Alchemy Sound Project will be performing excerpts from Erica Lindsay’s extended work, Meditations on Transformation. The piece explores in musical terms, the ever present force of transformation in life and in oneself – the never ending movement of change and letting go of the present. Royal Stokes, writing for the Jazz Times has called her “a player of enormous gifts and a composer and arranger of striking originality.”

Nat Hentoff states, “Erica Lindsay plays with such an emotional spontaneity that she is very much in the tradition of those jazz makers who were so evidently taking joy in surprising themselves each night, each song, each bar…Her compositions are also characterized by an invigorating clarity of form and direction.


Val-Inc (Val Jeanty) is a Haitian-born com- poser, percussionist and turntablist, who uses technology to lead listeners into her dream- like expressionism of Afro-Electronica compositions. She incorporates her African Haitian Musical traditions into the present and beyond, combining acoustics with electronics, the archaic with the post-modern.