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bio journal

Brandon Aly

As a third generation musician, music has always been a part of Brandon’s life.  His grandmother, an  accomplished pianist and published composer and his mother a talented pianist and singer.  It was with his mother that Brandon first performed at the age of six.  Attendance at the Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts continued Mr. Aly’s education.  Noted alumni of “The Arts Magnet” include Edie Brickell, John Bush, Kenny Withrow (of the New Bohemians), as well as Grammy award winning artists such as Erykah Badku and Nora Jones.

After graduating from high school, Brandon continued to study music theory and composition at  Richland college.  It was during this time that Brandon combined efforts with fellow music student Brad Houser to form the band New Bohemians.  This initial union began a collaboration that would come to include his high school classmates and result ultimately with the platinum release of “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars” on Geffen Records.

After leaving the New Bohemians in 1989, Brandon worked briefly with singer/songwriter Rhett Miller before joining with Jamaican born singer, Leroy Shakespeare to form the band, Ship of Vibes.  During the five years of touring and a subsequent CD release entitled “Jubilation” on Carpe Diem Records, Brandon began exploring different cultures of music and began studying the styles of African, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music.  Brandon performed with various drum and dance ensembles and even accompanied the Dallas Black Dance Theatre in piece choreographed by Chuck Davis.

Mr. Aly moved to the Texas Hill Country in 1995with his wife to start a family.  He continued to study the African style of drumming by studying with Master Drummer Alseny Sylla from Boke, Guinea as well as various Master Drummers and teachers such as Yamoussa Camara (Les Ballet Merveilles) and Mohamed Camara (Percussion de Guinea).  Performing for a short time with the Austin based Lannaya, West African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

In 1998, the members of the New Bohemians reunited to write and record two songs for a “Best Of” CD release on Hippo Records.  The two songs were not initially released, but the project prompted the reformation of the band.  In 1999, the original members of New Bohemians went to Montauk, New York to write and record the independently released “Live Montauk Sessions”.  October 2004 had the New Bohemians collaborating again on new material that was later recorded in Spring of 2005.

Brandon continues to reside in the Hill Country and performs with local band Zydeco Blanco, comprised of members all living in the same “small town”.  The band’s self-titled CD was recorded and produced by Aly in Blanco at Brandon’s home-based studio.   Brandon often accompanies other local musicians such as Patsy Thompson and works as an Assistant Band Director of the percussion section of the local high school’s marching band.  Brandon also teaches local youth who are interested in studying drum set and hand drumming, including his daughter who is now the drummer for her own band!