.Nobody bridges the gap between generations or musical genres like SWEET PLANTAIN, a refreshingly new string quartet. Artfully fusing the western classical traditions in which they were trained with the hip hop, jazz improv, and Latin rhythms on which they were raised, their original writing and live shows educate and entertain. Separately hailing from the South Bronx, New Jersey and Venezuela, together these musicians give voice to a sound that is contemporary, multicultural and very New York.The brainchild of cellist David Gotay and violinist/trombonist Eddie Venegas, they are joined by members, violist Orlando Wells and on violin/vocals, Joe Denninzon. The four hail separately from the South Bronx, New Jersey and Venezuela. Members of Sweet Plantain are classically trained and fuse that training with the hip hop, jazz, improve and Latin rhythms in which they were raised, creating a new contemporary and musically exciting sound.Their sound is so unique it captivates both musicians and audiences alike and has taken them to venues across the U.S.A. and abroad.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Sweet Plantain both for my own compositions, and for artists’ I’ve produced. Their playing is very precise, yet passionate, and the fact that they’ve studied both classical and popular music makes them very versatile players. They are perfect for studio sessions as they sound like a true ensemble, and not individually hired musicians. I look forward to working with them in the future”..
– Ryuichi Sakamoto, Academy Awards/ Grammy/ Golden
“I had the pleasure of hearing Sweet Plantain perform this September. What an amazing experience. Blending jazz, Latin and classical styles, this virtuoso quartet brings a freshness and inventiveness to every note they play. The audience was enthralled, and I was simply blown away.”..
– Stuart Malina, Tony Award winning conductor
“One of the most exciting and interesting project I have heard in years…”
– Daniel Phillips, Orion String Quartet
Highlights of a recent season
Russia tour with renowned cellist Borislav Strulev, to include a performance in Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow.
European engagements with virtuoso pianist & composer, Matt Herskowitz, who was featured on Barry Manilow’s Grammy nominated album The Swing of Christmas and whose playing can be heard on the acclaimed Academy Award nominated film The Triplets of Belleville.
North America performances including Northeastern University, The University of Maryland, The Reston Center in Reston VA, The Carver Center in San Antonio TX, The 92nd Street Y Tribecca, The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Sun Valley ID and The Amanyara resort in the Turks and Caicos.
The group’s commitment to musical education, and its particular commitment to the musical education of New York’s urban youth, has additionally found Sweet Plaintain designing and running a new string program at the St. Ignatius School located in the Hunts Point area of the South Bronx, one of the most underserved neighborhoods nationwide. They have designed the curricula to empower the students through musical forms representative of their community’s cultural heritage, while at the same time exposing them to classic Western forms. Continuing its education work, Sweet Plaintain completed a week long residency in San Antonio, TX sponsored by The Carver Community Center exposing students from middle school through high school and college to the possibilities of improvisation and composition through workshops, classes and performances.
.Sweet Plantain at Brooklyn Public Library
Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center
This video has excerpts from a couple of Sweet Plantain’s own arrangements. The first is Romulo Benavides’ arrangement of the Cole Porter tune “Love for Sale.” The second is a mashup of Kill Bill 2 and Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue” called “Afro Samurai” and arranged by Sweet Plantain founding member Eddie Venegas.
Presenters and the press: Click the thumbnail below to view and download a copy of the image.