Yvan played guitar with an infectious joy

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Yvan Agbo played with an infectious joy Yves (Yvan) Marie Claude Agbo was born in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa on July 6, 1967. He was the youngest of six – 5 boys and 1 girl.  Yvan’s father played guitar when he was young. Everyone in the family followed in his footsteps and learned to play […]

Din Allen – suffering of change

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Din Allen  “suffering of change.” James “Din” Allen came to Key West from New York City in 1978, to join his brother Woody and to play bass at the Rose Tattoo, (currently, Bagatelle). They performed at other locations but after the winter season ended, it became more difficult to find work. Most bands would leave […]

Bubba System – Conch Bred

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The Bubba System – Conch Bred It all started, in 1998, with a trip to Big Coppitt Key for the first rehearsal of a still unnamed group of local Conch musicians that included Paulie Walterson, Johnny King, Bobby Jabour, John Nunes, and a bartender/lead singer from the Purple Porpoise Bar, Debra – no one can […]

Key West Music Memories

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Key West Music Memories After interviewing 142 Key West musicians, I’ve heard some great stories. I haven’t been able to squeeze many of the short stories into a musicians’ biography or even the weekly music column, so I thought I would share these three with you this week. Closing of the Full Moon Saloon For […]

aka: Maasai

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Abdul Mateen        aka: Maasai Originally from Harlem, New York, Abdul Mateen was born in 1954 in Women’s Hospital and lived on 115th Street.  He attended school in Queens where there was a great music program. He learned to play the saxophone, cello, and violin.  He brought the saxophone home and while outside with his friends […]

cat herder at Key West Musicians Festival

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Steve Mellette – cat herder at Key West Musicians Festival Steven Mellette was born in Iowa in 1950 and grew up in the DC suburbs of Bethesda, Maryland. He really wanted to learn drums but his school had purchased new French horns, so he started playing the French horn in the 4th grade. He graduated […]

The Pied Piper affect

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Ray West – the Pied Piper affect Born in California in 1967, Ray moved around a lot but calls Minneapolis, Minnesota home. He had a more difficult childhood than most, living in foster care for a number of years. He was born Monty Dean West and adopted as Raymond Blydenburg but later discovered the adoption […]

The consummate entertainer

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Zack Seemiller – “The consummate entertainer” From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Zack Seemiller was born in 1968 to Joe and Theresa Seemiller. He graduated from high school in 1986. He had no formal music training until 1991 when he ventured to Hollywood, California to study vocals and music at the Music Institute of Technology (MIT). Many famous […]

part of the Key West music gumbo

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Ray Spence  – part of the Key West music gumbo Rayfield Spencer Beazer, born to Elaine and Ralph Beazer, is originally from the Bronx, New York. His father was a huge jazz fan and would always to listen to John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Dave Brubeck with his son. Ray’s father was also a big Doo-Wop […]

It was always going to be music

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RB Tolar – “It was always going to be music.” Ronald Bryan Tolar, born in 1958 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, now claims “RB” stands for Rhythm & Blues. He grew up in Gautier, Mississippi, attending school there. He started playing music at 14 and turned ‘pro’ at 15. He began gigging too much, dropping out […]

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