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Krystle Ahmadyar

Summer/Fall 2015 Performance Artist-in-Residence


Krystle Ahmadyar

Summer/Fall 2015 Performance Artist-in-Residence



Through the Artist Residency Program, Studio Grand seeks to be a lab for artist to explore, develop, and share their creative work. During this dedicated time, artists are given time and space at Studio Grand along with several opportunities to share their work with the public.

What we’ve learned is that the Residency period allows artists the support and resource of time and space which inspires a deeper engagement with their practice. We’ve been told by participating artists that the investment on the part of the Studio is a very uplifting process that results in a reinvigorated relationship with their craft and the production of new work.


It is with the spirit of supporting an invigorated creative practice that we welcome Krystle Ahmadyar to the Studio for a summer/fall 2015 artist residency. We first learned about Krystle when her solo project Ruby Mountain opened for an EFFT record release party, earlier this year. After talking with Krystle, we learned that she is a vocalist, performance artist, and composer who has her hands in several genres of music. She is in the midst of developing different bodies of work including an exploration of new and electronic music, composing for her Ruby Mountain project, collaborations with Los Sirenas, and an exploration of her Afghan and Mexican heritage.

While at the Studio, Krystle will be developing several bodies of work while engaging with other artists, including her father who is a singer and harmonium player. We hope you will join us to experience Krystle’s creative work. Each performance will have a distinct style and approach. You might just want to come to every one! Dates will be announced throughout the residency period which starts in August and extends through December 2015.



Sound resonates and shifts the mood of a room, rallies people together, helps one grieve, and fills people with pleasure. During her residency, Krystle will honor this dynamic through a series of multimedia concerts and collaborations incorporating jazz, Afghan, blues, and experimental music styles and dance that explore her connection to the Oakland community, her family in Afghanistan, and her roots in Mexico.


Krystle Ahmadyar is a vocalist, songwriter, and artist. Her music is rooted in her Afghan and Mexican ancestral traditions of storytelling and song. She shares stories of love, resiliency, and oppression through music and movement. She studies Afghan music with her father, jazz vocals with Molly Holm, and studied experimental music at Mills College.

Her current solo music project is Ruby Mountain and her new band is Los Sirenas.

Ruby Mountain SoundCloud


Cover photo by Ramses Rodstein.



María José Montijo

Spring 2015 Performance Artist in Residence

María José Montijo

Spring 2015 Performance Artist in Residence

María José started performing at the Studio last year. Since then, she’s performed alongside Diana Gameros, María del Pilar, and Alejandro y Maria Laura. Upon hearing and, more so, experiencing her music, it became evident that there was a lot at play lyrically, musically, and spiritually. We began to learn about her work as a student of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the interplay and inspiration she pulls from her frequent visits into nature. Over the past year, we often found María José making her way back to the Studio to see other performances and take classes.

With the Studio’s goal of supporting the exploration of transdisciplinary practices, our curiosity brought us to María José Montijo’s work. In this Residency, we’ve invited Montijo to explore all aspects of herself and her work. What was of interest to her was to explore her work as a musician and healer; her experience as a Puerto Rican woman living in diaspora; and her values with respect to how she builds community and interacts with the world through her music and healing work.

We’re eager to witness the work she’ll share and create at Studio Grand. The Residency will be comprised of a series of performances and workshops, commencing with her Sunday, March 8th, performance on International Women’s Day where she'll be joined by Laura Ashley Brown. We hope you’ll join us for this experience. The sweet and thoughtful spirit of María José is equivalent to that of sitting in a forest where trees speak gently and the wind refreshes.

Artist Statement

The intent of this Residency is to build connections between music performance, creativity, meditation, and healing. There will be a series of concerts starting March 8th, International Women's Day, and continuing through the month of May. I will be collaborating with artists that preserve Latin American folkloric musical traditions, represent the Caribbean Diaspora, and/or focus their musical practice around community building, storytelling, and healing.

This Residency, with its educational and social objectives, is an outgrowth and extension of my current artistic practice which is primarily musical but with extra-musical elements. My approach, which could be described as "La Musica es Medicina" or "Music is Medicine," is the marriage of many years of practicing different healing modalities while also developing the healing power of music. When I perform on stage, I bring with me my experience as a Puerto Rican woman in diaspora, my connections to a cosmic experience, and, with a clear heart and mind, I transmit love and light.



María José Montijo’s life changed in 2009 on a beach in her native Puerto Rico, where a friend gave her a used Celtic harp. She began writing hypnotic, haunting songs for harp and voice that incorporate her eclectic musical interests.

María José’s songs grow out of an intuitive process of deep listening and the condition of being fully human in a confusing world. Her lyrics speak of paradoxes: mystery and certainty; doubt and faith; love and solitude; sorrow and connection; exile and feeling at home. Her music is informed by the images and rhythms of the natural world in all its vastness.

Her music is also informed and nurtured by her healing path. María José is a Traditional Chinese Medicine student, biodynamic cranial touch practitioner, and bodyworker that has been immersed in the healing arts for over thirteen years. María José is extremely passionate about the body’s capacity to heal. This inherent intelligence that every body possesses the foundation from where true healing and health can be made manifest.

María José regularly performs throughout the Bay Area, both as a solo artist and with her band. In 2013, she was a featured new artist at Acción Latina’s 32nd Annual Encuentro del Canto Popular at the Brava Theater. In 2014, on the strength of her song “Estrellas” her band played Oakland’s Mayhem Festival, a juried music competition and performance series at the Awaken Cafe. She has headlined at the Red Poppy Art House, been a consistent presence at the Mission Arts Peformance Project (MAPP), and played at venues ranging from the Mission Cultural Center to the Hemlock Tavern to the Art in Nature Festival in the Oakland redwoods.

Facebook  |  SoundCloud



Antique Naked Soul

Antique Naked Soul




Studio Grand is honored to announce a three-month artist residency with Antique Naked Soul. During her residency, Antique and collaborating musicians will be working on 'The Naked Soul: A Soundscape of Black Shame' explores the question “What does Black Shame sound like?”. In this work, Antique Naked Soul leads the audience on an all-vocal mission to reclaim and heal the physical symptoms of suffering resulting from a history of enslavement and institutional oppression. Created to encourage dialogue, the theatrical piece will be produced in 2015 by playwright, director, and poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph.


About Antique

Antique Edutainment was founded in 2011 by Candice “Antique” Wicks, M.A.Ed., a singer, songwriter, educator, personal and professional coach and professional development specialist with an emphasis on education. Antique Edutainment blends the science of music as a tool for healing and educating. Antique Edutainment encompasses beatbox-sing soul band Antique Naked Soul, Antique's solo project coming fall 2014 and professional development consulting.

Antique has been an artist for as long as she can remember and an educator for fourteen years. She has had extensive experience blending music and education. She was selected as artist-in-residence at the University of Malta's International Institute for Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Leadership in 2013. She is also the current artist in residence for Young Gifted and Black of Oakland, a youth performance group aimed at instilling identity and pride in Black youth. She was commissioned by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to write a song for their “Women in African History” curriculum. This summer toured Ghana and performed at Emancipation Day to support the healing of the relationship between Ghanaians and Black Americans. For more information about Antique Edutainment go to



Saturday, September 20
Friday, October 24
Friday, November 21


To learn more about Antique, please visit her website and follow her on social media: //website
antiquenakdsoul //Twitter
antiquenaked //Twitter
antiquenakedsoul //Instagram
antique_music //Instagram


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Artist in Residence: Valerie Troutt

Artist in Residence: Valerie Troutt



Studio Grand is honored to announce a four-month residency with Oakland musician, educator, and activist, Valerie Troutt.


Bay-area born and bred, Valerie Troutt is a musical collagist, borrowing from ancestral centuries of sound, channeling spirits, and delivering the stories of our love, loss, and lives. There’s a light in this unapologetically unconventional vocalist for whom art and activism are intertwined. Within this spiritual and social justice-driven performer is a lifelong hunger for craft, for connection, for cultural narratives and an indefatigable thirst to serve as an agape griot to a waiting and hurting people.


In the East Bay, Troutt has established herself as more than an artist, but as a leader in the area’s famed creative community. Partnering on Bay area projects with East Bay Performance Art Center, the Museum of African Diaspora, Higher Ground Neighborhood Corp., and the Embodiment Project (where Troutt is Music Director).  The latter project served as the genesis for MoonCandy live house music ensemble, a band Valerie Troutt composes for while still gigging with another band, trumpeter Marcus Cohen’s fronted group, The Congress. Collectively, these varied and disparate influences inform her recordings as much as Bjork, Dianne Reeves, Carmen McRae, Joni Mitchell and Cassandra Wilson. 


Troutt’s latest project, The Sound of Peace, borrows from the past and gives to the future. Half jazz standards innovatively re-imagined for contemporary audiences and half truthtelling originals penned by the lady herself, the Troutt-produced project is an overture to her fans for not only social change, but also their own selfacceptance. 


Beginning Thursday, March 13th, through June 2014, Valerie Troutt will perform one Thursday per month at Oakland’s Studio Grand.  Each performance will feature a different ensemble to highlight the diversity of Valerie’s influences, community, and artistic vision.   All performances begin at 9:30pm.  Door is by sliding suggested donation of $10 -$15.  Dates and ensembles are listed below.

To learn more about Valerie Troutt, please visit her website at:





Thursday, March 13th

A band of duets featuring Valerie Troutt

 Thursday, April 17th

Valerie’s birthday celebration & jazz tribute w/ trio

Thursday, May 22nd

Valerie with a group of up-and-coming, youth musicians performing originals and covers

Thursday, June 19th

Juneteenth featuring Valerie Troutt and harpist, Destiny Muhammad