2007 IMA nomination

Emily Alinder

The music group Lee Tomboulian and Circo received a 2007 Independent Music Award nomination for their song “Weather Ornette.”
Lee Tomboulian is an instructor of music at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and teaches jazz improvisation, jazz small group performance practice, and applied jazz piano. He is also a composer and a pianist.
IMA is an annual competition for artists and bands that have long recording histories as well as artists and bands that are new to the music industry. There are 27 categories in the four sections of competition for album, song, design and music video.
Lee Tomboulian and Circo was nominated in the “Best Song of World Fusion” category.
“It’s good to be heard by, among others, Peter Gabriel and David Byrne, two major promoters of world music,” said Lee.
Originally known as Circo, the group was based in Arkansas from 1985 to 1992 and then in Dallas, Texas from 1995 to the present.
Elizabeth Tomboulian, Lee’s wife and the group’s vocalist, said, “Lee’s musical cauldron is full to the brim with diverse treats from classical, impressionist, swing, bebop, jazz, pop, Brazilian popular music and other music from his vast listening experience.”
Part of the group’s unique sound comes from their inclusion of candombe music in their songs.
According to Lee, candombe is “the native parade music of Uruguay, particularly Montevideo.”
The music of Uruguay has interested Lee since 1980 when he heard “Fingers” preformed by Airto Moreira, a Brazilian percussionist, featuring the music of Hugo Fattoruso.
In 2003 Lee and Elizabeth went with the band’s percussionist Ricardo Bozas to Montevideo, Uruguay where he is from. While there they played together as a trio as well as with Rey Tambor and with Hugo Fattoruso.
Lee said, “Rey Tambor [is] an outstanding trio of young tambor — hand drums — players” and “Hugo Fattoruso [is] a genius musician who plays keyboards and accordion with every major artist in South America … He produced our first album in 2000, ‘North/South Convergence.'”
The group’s first album “North/South Convergence” is available from Amazon and iTunes under their original name, Circo. Their second album “Return to Whenever” is due to be released soon.
Though the group did not win in the world fusion song category for 2007, Lee Tomboulian and Circo will compete in IMA next year. They plan to submit their new CD “Return to Whenever” to the “Best Album of World Fusion” category.
To hear the nominated song, visit www.musiciansatlas.com/pages/IMAFinalist/. Visit the band’s website at www.circomusic.com to listen to other songs.