An eclectic melting pot of original music inspired by world folk traditions, global Americana, New Orleans verve and the unfettered exuberance of the 1920s.
A world-class lineup of standout musicians from New York, Suriname, Sapelo Island (Georgia), Mexico, India, and the Caribbean. Elmore Magazine championed the group’s “remarkable musical dexterity with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition” while Big Takeover Magazine best described their fluid convergence of minds, souls and cultures as “Not just music forged from myriad sounds and cultural styles garnered from genre and geography but the music of the world, about the world.”
Nick Russoguitar/banjo/resonator/composer/band leader
Nick Russo leads the charge as bandleader and composer. Russo plays guitar, banjo, and resonator and has appeared on ''Good Morning America'' as well as the Sam Mendes film, Away We Go, and was a sideman with the greats - Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles and Sonny Dallas. Russo had the honor to jam with Sir Paul McCartney while performing at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s home, regularly accompanies Antonique Smith, Jon Batiste and recently performed for actor/comedian/composer, Jim Dale in Jon Weber’s band.
He has performed with Max Roach, Reggie Workman, T.S. Monk, Barry Harris and others; he played the lead role in Wynton Marsalis' jazz oratorio ''Blood On The Fields,'' which premiered at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.
Harvey has performed alongside Grammy Award artist Angelique Kidjo, appeared on the Jay Leno Show, the Late how with David Letterman, the NAACP awards, Good Morning America, and the Peace Ball for the Inauguration of President Obama. He has also performed at the Kora Awards with Best East African Artist Winner Eric Wainaina and Lionel Loueke. He tours internationally with renowned world music artists, and with his own musical projects.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Russell Hall began his journey as an actor from the tender age of 3. Performing in Jamaican adaptations of popular musicals to serious prose, he was destined to take the stage. Everything changed when he migrated to the United States in 2007. Under the tutelage of The Commodores, he discovered the bridge between the world of drama and the world of music. He progressed quickly from the electric bass to the double bass through the rigorous programs of The Dillard Center for the Arts and The Juilliard School. Now, he is revered as one of the most in demand artist in New York City, performing with some of the biggest names in music, dance and film. His work is featured on the Grammy nominated album “My Favorite Things” by Joey Alexander, “Motherless Brooklyn”, a film by Edward Norton which was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Score, and HBO’s “Masterclass Series” which feature Wynton Marsalis as a master teacher which was nominated for an Emmy. Russell’s own work has been acknowledged with prestige in some of the most renowned venues and festivals around the world such as The Appel Room, The St. Lucia Jazz Festival, The Apollo, The Marciac Jazz Festival and many more. His most recent album, “The Feeling Of Romance”, is available on all platforms.
Keith Anthony Fluittvoice
A New York City born and raised singer, Keith has performed with many great stars including Patti LaBelle, Martha Wash, Will Downing, Ashford & Simpson, Lala Brooks, Quincy Jones, and Michael Jackson.
Kenny Kosek is one of America's finest fiddlers. He has played and recorded with numerous bluegrass and new acoustic bands, including Country Cooking, Breakfast Special, Bill Keith and Tony Trischka. In addition, he has worked with artists as diverse as Laurie Anderson, Steve Goodman, John Denver, James Taylor, Jerry Garcia, Loudon Wainwright III and The New Blue Velvet Band. Kenny has played in several Broadway musicals, including ``Big River,`` ``Foxfire`` and ``The Robber Bridegroom,`` and is the author of the book ``Bluegrass Fiddle Styles`` (Oak Publications).
Appears as principle dancer in featured films Disney's Enchanted and Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. Hershey performed on international and national tours of Broadway shows such as West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks and Pump Boys & Dinettes.
As a songwriter, Hershey performed live on WFUV, played with Fast Folk at The Bottom Line, C-Note, workshopped songs at Jack Hardy’s Monday night gatherings and BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop.
Betina directs Garden Players, her own music theatre program for children and young adults in Forest Hills, Queens. She writes an original musical every year, published by Beat By Beat Press and performed all over the world.
David Pleasant, is a trailblazer in the Early African inspired music and movement of Gullah-Geechee culture. Referred to as, ''A true griot who captivates audiences with performances that bridge African polyrhythms and quantum physics'', Pleasant's work spans the range.
He has worked with artist such as, Audra Mc Donald, Wynton Marsalis, Urban Bush Women, Cecil Taylor, and others. As a featured artist and/or composer for ABC News, Nickelodeon, TED Talks, Nightline and similar projects, Pleasant engages an international scope for Gullah-Geechee culture.
Rashaan I.A. Salaam (Ra$h Ca$h)trombone / spoken word / rapper / composer)
My entire background is originally from an island in the Caribbean known as Trinidad & Tobago. I was initially influenced by calypso and soca music, my people's’ culture. My first real taste of the Jazz Scene was participating in the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Competition. That was my first time being around hundreds of musicians from many different backgrounds and cultures who all played so well, and was a huge inspiration to bring me to where I am now, a recent grad of the Juilliard School.
Angela Workman is known as the Funk Balladtress. She has sung throughout the world with Ray Charles, Ben E. King, Patti La Belle, B.B. King, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Gospel performances include singing with International Choir of Harlem, NYC Rescue Mission, Redeemer Baptist Church NYC, and at Rockefeller Center. You can hear her on TV, Film, albums such as Prince’s “Soul Psychedelic”, Eminem’s “Infinity” and many more. Her original global infused compositions and standard renditions are full of soul. Her goal is to change the world one note at a time. She appears on The Scooches' upcoming album Lift You Up.
He is a highly regarded musician who studied Afro-Cuban percussion at La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba before further training with Puerto Rican jazz great Giovanni Hidalgo. He also founded Nueva Siembra, a 15-piece Latin band, composed Jackson Heights Suite, for string quartet, was musical director/percussionist/guitarist for the OBIE Award winning Off-Broadway show Tap Dogs, and is a tabla disciple of virtuoso Pandit Samir Chatterjee.
The Scooches perform Americana, Gullah-Geechee influenced country, music of New Orleans, old-timey, 20s, blues, spirituals, jazz, Indian raga, originals & dance.
Betina Hershey, voice/guitar, Nick Russo, banjo/guitar, Miles Griffith, voice, David Pleasant, drums/harmonica, Essiet Essiet, bass (thank you special guests in this video: Rob Hecht, bass, Kenny Kosek, fiddle, Stephanie Rice, voice, Art Hirahara, organ, Walter Stinson, bass).
Why did we change our name to The Scooches? We want you to think of us Scooching our many musical styles and diverse cultural backgrounds together to create music that is rooted in tradition and also refreshingly new, community minded, and uplifting! Although Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches was a really fun, quirky name, it often got shortened to Banjo Nickaru, just one of us, and it didn’t capture how diverse and different our sounds can be. Besides, Nick Russo (Banjo Nickaru) plays so much more than banjo: guitar, resonator, tenor banjo, 5 string banjo, harmonium, bass, keyboard, etc… We hope you love the new name The Scooches, and that we continue to Scooch together!
We have been working hard and are so excited to share some of the press! Here are just a few…