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2011 Camp has been postponed, please check back later for the teacher line-up for 2013


2011 Golden Toad Camp special guest teachers:

Fishtank Ensemble

Fishtank Ensemble

 The LA Weekly calls them “cross pollinated gypsy music….one of the most thrilling young acts on the planet.” Formed in 2005 and playing everywhere from the hippest LA clubs to festivals, cultural centers, museums, parades, and even on the street, the band includes two explosive violins, the world's best slap bass player, musical saw, flamenco and gypsy jazz guitar, trombone, opera, jazz and gypsy vocals, accordion and one little banjolele. Tackling everything from French hot jazz to wild Serbian and Transylvanian gypsy anthems, Flamenco, and oddball originals, the band is a not to be missed event for world music lovers...and everyone will love this intoxicating mix of music!!

      The dynamic, virtuosic, fiery and peripatetic quartet that comprises Fishtank Ensemble take their roots both from their own varied musical and national backgrounds, as well as from their adventures and travels. The singer Ursula sang opera on the streets and town squares of Italy, until she found a love of gypsy music...their French violinist voyaged around all of Europe in a handmade mule-drawn caravan for ten years, collecting music and experiences.  Their Serbian bass player has spent time playing with gypsies as well as some of the rock and roll's legends, and aptly defends his reputation as the best slap bass player in the world... and the guitarist is a master of flamenco and gypsy jazz guitar who honed his craft in the gypsy caves of Granada, Spain... Whatever wild time you can expect from this band, it will never match their out of this world performance!!!

Fishtank Ensemble will be teaching an advanced "Gypsy jazz ensemble" style of music class at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Fabrice is a gifted fiddler who travels Europe in a mule-drawn caravan collecting and playing folk music with the group Croque Mule.

Originally from France before living in the caravan, his special love is Romanian folk music. He also plays Gypsy, Hungarian, Swedish, and many other kinds of music.

Fabrice Martinez will be teaching advanced "Romanian folk music" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Fabrice Martinez

Fabrice Martinez

Ursula Knudson

Ursula Knudson

Also traveling with the Croque Mule caravan, she is classically trained in voice and violin. Self-taught on the saw, she won 2nd place in the 2004 International Saw Festival.

She sings beautifully in Romanian, French, Japanese, and sometimes even in English, her native tongue.

Ursula Knudson will be teaching a class to be announced soon for Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Doug is an accomplished Flamenco guitarist, producer and composer. Performing as "el douje," his album Worlds Collide is a unique and bold mixture of traditional and modern styles, from 'jondo' flamenco to modern day world fusion/drum and bass/techno.

Douglas Smolens will be teaching advanced "Flamenco guitar" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Douglas Smolens

Doug Smolens

Djordje Stijepovic

Djordje Stijepovic

Djordje was a member of leading world music bands in Serbia like Shira Utfila (Sephardic), Kal (Balkan gypsy) and Marsya (Balkan). He finished classical music conservatory and department for jazz arrangement and bass.

Djordje performs solo (world music/jazz), provides his signature slap for rockabilly band Atomic Sunset, Deke Dickerson, Slim Jim Phantom (from Stray Cats), Lemmy (from Motorhead) etc and plays with other bluegrass, cajun, jazz, blues and other type of bands.

Djordje Stijepovic will be teaching advanced "bass" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.


Mikael Marin

Mikael Marin

Mikael is a violist who isn't satisfied with merely playing "second fiddle." His influences are literally unlimited in their scope, and oscillate between Schöenberg and the Beatles. He became a national fiddler in 1983, and was chosen to play in a world orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein in 1989.

When not performing with Väsen, he composes, produces, and arranges music for artists such as Mikael Samuelsson, Nordman, and Kronos Quartet. He composed (together with Mats Wester) the opening music to the World Police and Fire Games in Stockholm, 1999.

Mikael can be heard on several recordings, for example Nordman (with Nordman), Barfota (with Mikael Samuelsson), Ånon (with Ånon Egeland, released on NorthSide), and Flow my Tears (with The Forge Players).

Väsen, including Mikael, taught and performed at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Mikael Marin will be teaching "intermediate/advanced viola," and "Swedish Ensemble" with Mia Marin, at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Folk music has always been a natural part of Mia Marin’s life. First through her father who is a fiddler, and then through inspirational sources such as Mats Berglund, Ellika Frisell, Mikael Marin and Sven Ahlbäck.

Mia plays and tours in Sweden and abroad with other musicians including Mattias Pérez Trio, Bowing 9, Ni:d and Marin/Marin.  She also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and some other well established Swedish music schools.  When she is not touring or teaching, Mia composes and arranges music for her own bands and also for others.  

Mia Marin appears on several recordings with her own groups, and also as a guest or soloist on other musicians’ recordings.  
Mia’s discography includes the following:
 "Mot Hagsätra", Mikael Marin and Mia Gustafsson
 "[ni:d]", Mia Marin, Hanna Wiskari and Petter Berndalen
 "MP3", Mia Marin, Nina Pérez and Mattias Pérez
 "Sånger för vägen", Bengt Johansson (guest appearance)
 "Brev till en vän", Môra-Per (guest appearance)
 "Väsen Street", Väsen (guest appearance)

During 2010/2011 Mia Marin is touring in Sweden, Belgium, Holland, France, Denmark, Italy and the USA.

Mia Marin will be teaching "Swedish song" and "Swedish Ensemble" with Mikael Marin, at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.


Jason Adajian found his love for folk dancing during elementary school Square Dance afternoons. At age fifteen, while working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of California, he took up Scottish and Irish set dancing, realizing that this jolly activity was a brilliant way to have a dynamic physical interaction with equally jolly young women. In his late teens, Jason joined the Pipe & Bowl Morris Men and the Newcastle English Country Dancers, known worldwide for their athletic tempos and dynamic mating-dance attitudes, often considered unorthodox and bucking of more staid 'traditional' styles. He strongly believes that the earliest forms of these British ritual and social dances were along these lines, much as the other dances of Western and Eastern Europe remain to this day, and happily teaches in this style.

Still an active ritual dancer and accomplished dance musician himself, Jason is also well versed in the dances of Greece, France, Bulgaria and Galicia, to name but a few. He has taught Morris Dance, Long sword and English Country Dancing to adults and school children for over twenty years and has held long tenure at the Lark Camp of Mendocino, California. He is not currently wanted by the authorities.

Jason taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Jason Adajian will be teaching "Morris Sword Dance," and "English Folk Tunes" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Jason Adajian

Jason Adajian


Mark Bell

Mark Bell

Mark Bell started playing Middle Eastern percussion in 1972 and got his first gig that same year playing for Bal Anat. He performed many years in both Arabic and Persian nightclubs in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, as well as many California Renaissance Faires. Nightclubs include the Baghdad, the Casbah, Apadana, Cabaret Tehran and Delilah's where he worked on a regular basis. Mark has traveled and studied percussion extensively throughout the Arab world.

A partial listing of percussionists he has studied with include Mahmoud Hamouda in Egypt and Farhadman in Iran. This experience is reflected in his playing. This is why Arabs and Persians as well as American audiences appreciate his style.

Mark plays Arabic tabla (a hand drum also known as doumbek or darbukka), toumbak or zarb (a Persian hand drum), tabla beladi or davul (a type of bass drum usually played with sticks), and various instruments of the tambourine/ frame drum family.

He also performs with the Armenian group, Mirage, the Arabic/American fusion band, Light Rain, the Greek group, The Aegeans, the Turkish group, Tufan, and, occasionally, with the Balkan group, Panacea. Mark won a Grammy in 2005 for his tracks on Beautiful Dreamer - Songs of Stephen Foster Mark recorded the song Autumn Waltz with friends Henry Kaiser, Robin Petrie, and Paul Hostetter.

Mark taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Mark Bell will be teaching beginning and advanced Middle-Eastern drum at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Ling Shien Bell

Ling Shien Bell

Ling Shien's music studies began on piano at the age of five. Her formal training in western music continued at the Music Conservatory in Aix-en-Provence.

She has studied Arabic and Turkish disciplines at the source in Cairo and Istanbul. Ling Shien is the primary composer of Helm's original music. The songs convey both the life and soul of the folkloric and the accuracy of the classical so well that they are virtually indistinguishable from native compositions.

Ling Shien Bell will be teaching "zils" (finger cymbals) at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Toby Blome and Fred Bialy have been a part of the Bay Area Scandinavian Music and Dance Community for more than 20 years, participating in dozens of workshops across the U.S. and in Sweden and Norway.

Toby has taught Scandinavian couple dancing in numerous settings, including 4 yrs. at Mendocino's Lark Camp. She takes particular pleasure in helping beginners discover the joy of Scandinavian folk dancing. Fred has frequently partnered with Toby in teaching and his many years studying Scandinavian folk music has strengthened his skill at giving his partner clear leads.

Toby and Fred taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Toby will be teaching a class in Scandinavian Couple Dancing (Fred is unable to join us this year). So bring out those dance shoes and discover the joys of turning with your partner to the hypnotic pulse of the Swedish polska! (Leather soled shoes helpful).

Toby Blomewill be teaching Scandinavian couple dancing at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Toby Blome and Fred Bialy

Toby Blome and Fred Bialy

Jessica Bottomley

Jessica Bottomley

Jessica Bottomley has been involved in the performing arts since she was a child. she enjoyed participating in drama productions and art classes throughout school. When Jessica was 16 years old she began her alternative career path by working at the California Renaissance Faire on weekends where she got to create a character for herself, wear a costume, and use her imagination to explore the endless opportunities to express herself through the performing arts.

Following her bliss, Jessica soon found herself called to explore the realm of dance. At the age of 19 she began her studies in middle eastern dance while she was attending school at UCSC. Her debut performance as a bellydancer began on stage at Mullah’s Coffee House at the Northern California Renaissance Faire on weekends.

This opened the door for an exciting opportunity to tour a circuit of world music and dance camps where she continued to take classes in between working at the coffee house, eventually going on to teach the classes herself.

Jessica Bottomley will be teaching a class that will be announced along with co-teaching a couples dancing class that will also be announced soon for Golden Toad Camp 2011.


Isaac Rappaport

Isaac Rappaport

Isaac Rappaport grew up frequenting the backstage of Ringling Bros circus.  It was here where the idea of using the human form to expand our ideas of reality was planted in his mind.  Throughout his childhood he explored different types of circus arts, but it was not until he met Jessica that he began working with fire staff.  

Since the birth of this new passion he has studied the art of fire staff on his own which has led him to develop his own unique style. Isaac has also studied Flamenco dance, which has given him a deep sense of form, grace, and power which he weaves into his performances. Dancing with fire staff and double staff has become his truest form of personal expression.

Isaac Rappaport will be teaching fire staff along with co-teaching a couples dancing class that will also be announced soon for Golden Toad Camp 2011.


Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising

It was in 1999, When Jessica traveled to South America that she first picked up fire dancing as a new source of inspiration. This was a significant turning point in her life as this is when she decided that she wanted to listen to her deepest heart’s desire and pursue a career in fire dancing with her partner, Isaac. When Isaac and Jessica reunited after their solo journeys in South America, their combined creative fire gave birth to Phoenix Rising.

Jessica and Isaac lived together in Santa Cruz, California for 6 years where they honed their skills as fire dancers and explored new territory of where you could go with a fire dance duet. Self taught, they invented a unique style of graceful and concise partner choreography that merges seamlessly with the intricate patterns created by fire in motion.

Phoenix Rising began performing professionally in 1999. After one of their shows, they were approached by a long-time professional stilt dancer named Betty Stiltz who offered to pass her stilting skills on to Jessica and Isaac as a way to preserve an art form she was passionate about. Gladly, they accepted and within the year they were performing professionally as character stilt dancers on stilts that Betty taught them how to build.

Phoenix Rising has been traveling the world, sharing their art and inspiration with audiences everywhere.  As Phoenix Rising has followed their dreams they have explored many artistic expressions including music, dance, sacred theater, circus arts, costume design and construction,
handcrafted jewelry, and clothing design.

It is the highest hope of Phoenix Rising to serve as an inspiration to spark the flame of true passion within everyone so we may all be sharing in the highest quality of our potential as humans in this lifetime.

Phoenix Rising (Jessica and Isaac) will be co-teaching a couples dance class that will be announced soon for Golden Toad Camp 2011. They will also be selling their wares along with Jill Bottomley (Jessica's sister) at Golden Toad Camp 2011.

Shirleigh Brannon

Shirleigh Brannon


Shirleigh "Fearless Leader" Brannon was a border collie in a previous life, and behaves accordingly. She is a talented and creative choreographer, in spite of possessing advanced degrees in theater and history. She likes cats, rats, memento mori, dancing with ghosts, and her heroes are Eugene Debs, Harpo Marx, and Fat Freddie's Cat. She is most controversial for her claim that the Five Major Food Groups are Ginger, Cardamom, Whiskey, Garlic and Chocolate. Her life's ambitions include learning the long versions of at least ten traditional Irish hardshoe set dances, and choreographing a Siamsa le Cheile revue to the tunes of Ry Cooder, David Lindley and Jerry Garcia.

Shirleigh Brannon will be teaching Irish step dance and another class to be announced for Golden Toad Camp 2011.

Dan Cantrell began composing at age 11.  Since that time he has continued performing and writing music of all kinds featuring his main instruments, the accordion, piano and musical saw.  In recent years his attention has been focused on the study of music from Eastern Europe as well as composing for film, dance, and theatre. 

He has composed music for over thirty films, several plays, a variety of dance groups and pieces as well as other eclectic performances and events.  His rich arrangements are known for their acoustic instrumentation and creative experimentation. His extensive jazz, classical, and modern musical training, paired with years of work and study of folk music and tradition give him the ability to compose original music that humbly outshines traditional forms. 

In recent years, Dan received an Emmy award as well as the Golden Gate award for his work on documentary films.  He also recently had the honor of recording with one of his personal musical heroes Tom Waits.

Dan taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Dan Cantrell will be teaching beginning piano accordion, and Balkan accordion at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Dan Cantrell

Dan Cantrell


Chris Caswell

Chris Caswell at Golden Toad Camp

Chris Caswell teaching at 2010 Golden Toad Camp
Photo by Brennan LaShever

Chris Caswell is a Renaissance man of the Celtic Arts. He plays tin whistle, Irish flute, highland bagpipes, English concertina, chromatic button accordion, bodhran, Scottish snare and he sings. But first and foremost he plays the Celtic Harp.

He appears on nearly 30 recordings, with production credits on many. He has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, and frequently directs music for Scottish and Irish shows. He's the co-founder of the highly regarded Sebastopol Celtic Festival, and his company, Caswell Harps (, has built over 650 harps and can be counted among the world's premiere harp makers.

Chris taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Chris Caswell will be teaching harp, penny whistle and holistic music theory at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Kevin Cloud came out of his mama singing and basically never stopped. After years of  lessons he realized it was amusing but ultimately unreasonable to try to sing "Okie from Muskogee" while accompanying himself on the flute, and began to teach himself guitar
vocal-accompaniment in his early teens, eventually becoming a moderately competent player quite by accident (if you don't count the years of classical-guitar lessons in college).

    Kevin is one of the most versatile musicians around, having at one
time or another played almost every instrument and style of music known to earthlings, and studied with dozens of extraordinary teachers, including about half the other instructors at Golden Toad and half the camp Gurus, too.  Some highlights include a BA in Music Theory and Composition, as well as studies with Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, Slavko Silic, Ross Daly, Ali Sinan Erdemsel, Maestro Omar Ait-Vimoun Mokhtari.

From one week to the next you might catch him playing kaval with the Berber band, sax with the Blues band, guitar with the waltz band, flutes and mandos with the Morris band, oud with the Middle-Eastern band, double-bass, banjo and blues-harp with the Jug band, and/or singing in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Tamazight, Farsi, Turkish, Hawaiian, Armenian, and made-up languages. He has anchored hundreds of all-styles music sessions at his Bay Area studio, and is an insightful and patient natural-born teacher who has never ever beaten a student with a stick.

He has sung the part of MacHeath in a thrash-jazz adaptation of "The
Threepenny Opera" and composed music for numerous plays and short films. He also occasionally builds Celtic harps with Chris Caswell, makes the finest modern-style cajónes available at his own company , and thinks Vasen is pretty much the best band in the world, unless it's Ross Daly's current outfit.

Kevin taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Kevin Cloud's classes will be announced soon for Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Kevin Cloud

Kevin Cloud


Ron Collins

Ron Collins

Ron taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Ron Collins will be teaching "beginning to intermediate Morris Dance," at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Alan Davidson

Alan Davidson


Alan Davidson plays violin and the Grecian Lute.

Al grew up as a child in a small farming community in California's Central Valley.  Although his father disliked all forms of music, and his family had no money to pay for a school band instrument, Al had a passion for music.  Instrument-less, he decided to try out for his third-grade pre-chorus... only to be rejected.  Through tears of bitterness, Al vowed to one day become a great musician, one that other musician's would search out for knowledge and inspiration (and if not that, then he would at least become a drummer)!

Al's passion eventually led him to the motherland of music--Greece!  He spent several years there, tracking down fine musicians, drinking ouzo, attending celebrations, drinking retsina, hanging out in music taverns, drinking metaxa, always on the lookout for other musicians... and a free drink.  Al eventually learned the secrets of the Greek modes and harmonies, and now, some thirty-odd years later, he wants to share those secrets with you.

In his spare time, Al raises children, apricots, and long dogs with short legs.

Alan taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Alan Davidson will be teaching "Greek music," and "backing Greek music" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Debra Dawson

Debra Dawson

Debra Dawson lived in rural France for three years in the 1970's, but became aquainted with French folk music in Mendocino, California, after meeting the hurdy-gurdy player Arrigo D'Albert. She plays hurdy-gurdy, and also plays French dance tunes on violin in the Correze style. She has appeared as support musician and teacher for French dance workshops at Lark in the Morning Festival since its beginning in 1980. She has lived and studied in France, and performed widely in California and the Northwest as a musician and dancer.

In addition to her musician talents, Debra is also a wonderful French chef who runs her own catering business in Mendocino, California.

Debra Dawson will be teaching hurdy gurdy and another class to be announced for Golden Toad Camp 2011.

Tony Elman is the creator of Mokalé Rhythm Training  and the founder/director of the Bay Area Polyrhythm Choir. He is a prolific composer of songs, rounds & fiddle tunes, as well as a passionate and nurturing teacher. 

Tony is also an award-winning music producer with over a dozen releases on his Acorn Music label, including his own classic “Shakin’ Down the Acorns,” which became the most popular hammered dulcimer recording ever made.

"A musical pioneer" -The Washington Post

Tony Elman taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Tony will be directing the first-ever Golden Toad Choir and teaching the Mokalé Polyrhythm workshop at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Tony Elman

Tony Elman

David Feldthouse is a drummer/percussionist from Santa Cruz who grew up in a musical family.  David has taught and performed in a variety of settings all over the country.  He is well known in the belly dance community.

David currently performs with the Feldthouse Family Band, and accompanies some of the Bay Area’s finest artists.  David is eager to bring the rhythms and songs of the world to you.

David taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

David Feldthouse will be teaching general drum and rhythm (with belly dance class practicum) at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

David Feldthouse

David Feldthouse


Malaika Finkelstein was raised by the strange and fascinating wild
ferrets of Folkalandia. In 1996, when she was found by an American
surveying party, she could communicate only through dance.

Since then, she has lived in San Francisco, where she has been dancing, teaching, and performing swing dance, learning to speak human language, and earning an MA in education.

Malaika taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Malaika Finkelstein will be teaching beginning swing dance, and intermediate swing dance at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Malaika Finkelstein

Malaika Finkelstein

Heather Frankly-Arent

Heather Frankly-Arent


Heather Frankly-Arent has an extensive dance background, with roots in ballet, belly, salsa, tango, swing and contemporary jazz.

She has founded and co-directer her own cabaret dance troupe for the past 2 years, as well as solo directing a dance project for six months in 2008.

Heather also has an early childhood education certificate, and is CPR and first aid trained. She is currently working of curriculum for her own children's dance classes in Oakland and the greater bay area.

Heather Frankly-Arent will be teaching two childrens dance classes called "Rhythm and Movement, the Foundations of Dance," and "Around the World through Dance, a Children's Cultural Experience" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011. Adults are also welcome to participate in these classes.

Steve Gardner is a fiddle player, music educator, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has toured America and Europe many times, performed with Grammy Award winning band Blues Traveler, recorded for Grammy Award winning producer Bobby Ozuna, played with Decca/Sony artist Danni Leigh and is a founding member of Culann's Hounds. He studied Viola performance at SFSU with the Alexander String Quartet's Paul Yarbrough and at the Aaron Copeland School of Music with Danny Phllips of The Orion String Quartet.

Steve has recorded for artists as diverse as Culann's Hounds, Freeway (Rockafella), Goapale (Skyblaze), Jake One and The Darktown Rounders. His experience in Irish, Country, Blues and Classical music has been earned on on some of the biggest stages around. Steve is the artistic director and co-founder of Roots Music.

Steve taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Steve Gardner will be teaching classes that are to be announced soon, at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

George Grasso

George Grasso

 George started playing traditional music in the mid 90's. Playing in his high school music program lead to apprenticing at a woodwind repair shop & taking the music major classes at his local junior college. After purchasing his first "good" keyed Irish flute in '98 Irish music became more than a hobby.

Craving more playing time with others, he began backing tunes as well. What started in the early 00's as a way to get more playing time, grew into a love of guitar/bouzouki and backing tunes.

 In 2007 after bartending about 4 years, George spent his savings on instruments and a 7 month trip to Ireland. In 2009 he competed at the mid-west fleadh in Detroit, taking 2nd in senior flute. That qualified him to compete at the All-Ireland competition in Tullamore and was a great excuse to head back to Ireland.

 He has taught privately in Santa Cruz for years, and at a summer music camp for teens for most of the 00's. Teaching by ear or with music, technically or simply, he does so with patience & encouragement.

George taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

George Grasso will be teaching "backing Irish tunes " with a focus on the Irish Bouzouki, and Irish Flute at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Sean taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Sean Hathorn will be teaching beginning to intermediate level "Flamenco Guitar" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Sean Hathorn

Sean Hathorn


Kevin Hughes

Kevin Hughes

Kevin Hughes has being playing music since the third grade when he convinced his parents to buy him a recorder so he could play in the recorder group.

He has taught English Country dance since 1992, and has worked with the Newcastle Country Dancers for 20 years as a dancer, musician, and director.

He plays mandolin, fiddle, bagpipes & hurdy-gurdy.  He continues to perform with The Brunos and spent the last two years touring with the medieval band Wolgemut.

Kevin taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Kevin Hughes will be teaching English country dance and beginning mandolin at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Peter Jaques

Peter Jaques

Peter Jaques has been a fixture of the Bay Area Near Eastern music scene since 1995. His style combines traditional Turkish, Greek, & Balkan Rom styles with his own, deeply soulful approach. He performs principally on the Bb clarinet & trumpet, as well as alto saxophone, Egyptian nay (reed flute), & Turkish G clarinet.

Currently Peter directs the Brass Menažeri Balkan Brass Band, and plays with Rumen Shopov's Orkestar Sali; former Kitka director Juliana Graffagna's Black Olive Babes; Stellamara, a Middle-eastern/ Balkan/ world fusion ensemble led by Sonja Drakulich; and Gamelan X, a hybrid processional gamelan orchestra based on traditional Balinese baleganjur.

Peter taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Peter Jaques will be teaching Balkan Brass Band*, and Turkish music theory (Maqam) at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp2011.

*New Class for 2011!

Myra Joy figured out how to open her sister’s violin case at the age
of three, and demanded (politely, I'm sure) a cello once she reached
the ripe old age of six; she has been playing and performing ever

In 2004, she completed her B.M. in cello performance with
Jean-Michel Fonteneau at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Myra is a founding member of Elameno Quintet and has collaborated with musicians including The Black Brothers, Hans York, KITKA, Dan
, Hamed Nikpay and the pickPocket Ensemble. She leads strings
and cello classes for SFCM outreach and CSMA in Mountain View as well
as teaching privately.

Myra Joy taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Myra Joy will be teaching beginning violin/viola/cello, and kid's violin/viola/cello at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp2011.

Myra Joy

Myra Joy

Larry Klein

Larry Klein

Larry Klein has been playing music since he got his first guitar at age seven. He has played just about every genre of music over the years. In the last ten years, he has studied Turkish oud with Ustad Necati Celik & Ali Sinan Erdemsel; Persian Tar with Mohammed Nejad, Ashkan Qafari & Mohammed Reza Lotfi; and Afghan Rebab with Ustad Rahim Khoshnavaz of Herat. Larry has also studied the Andaluse Music of North Africa from Maestro Omar Ait-Vimoun.

In addition to having a deep love and appreciation of Middle Eastern music, Larry has become fluent in Farsi and is currently studying Turkish.

He continues performing with a variety of other groups including The Brunos and Azidan Andaluse Music Ensemble when in the USA. He is currently studying music and language extensively in Turkey where he is begining the third year of his residency in Istanbul.

Larry taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Larry Klein will be teaching Turkish Bağlama Saz, and oud at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Ric first picked up the guitar in the early sixties and began playing folk music.  Songwriting entered into the mix as well as some rock n’ roll, boogie, finger styles, and a foray into open tunings. He is said by some to be one of the last of the great…

Whoa…!   This writing about myself in the third person is just a bit too weird for me.

Acoustic guitar has been a constant in my life for almost fifty years.  The trumpet was my childhood instrument but I soon found that it didn’t work out so well at the beach, so…

Somewhere back down the line I began to noodle with some blues licks and have been unsuccessfully trying to noodle my way back out ever since.  I took it to heart when I was told that the only way out is through, so I have delved deeper and tend to write my own lyrics – I can get just so far on “woke up this mornin’” or “my baby’s left me” and the like – although in actuality I did and she has.

At Golden Toad camp, it is my intention to combine some instruction with some jamming, as playing with others can  not only be fun but instructional in itself – so I intend to encourage all skill levels and instruments.

Ric taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Ric LaShever will be teaching blues guitar at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Ric LaShever

Ric LaShever


Nada Lewis

Nada Lewis

More info coming soon!

Nada Lewis will be teaching a class to be announced for Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

info coming soon!

Alwyn L'hoir will be teaching "voice" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Alwyn L'hoir

photo coming soon!

Armando Mafufo &

Melinda Velasco

Armando Mafufo and Melinda Velasco

Armando Mafufo has been a force in the California Middle Eastern music and dance scene for decades. A long time music camp participant, Armando has, in the last ten years, also performed and recorded Latin music. Armando’s crisp hits and solid sense of pulse on the bongo, clave or guiro create quintessentially danceable music. His vast familiarity with Latin American music and his authentic approach to vocal improvisation and harmony are invaluable resources for the local folk music community. Armando has performed Latin music with Melinda Velasco for over eight years. They worked together in their Santa Cruz band, Dulce, and recorded an album together. They continue to explore musical paths as fellow musicians and dear friends.

Melinda Velasco has performed as a lead singer in several Latin bands throughout the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. She is featured on two recordings: “Algo Dulce” and “Agua.” She has two degrees in Music and twelve years experience as a teacher.  Melinda’s interest in individual expression supports a dynamic musical experience for her students. She grounds vocal texture and flexibility within classical technique. Melinda plays rhythm guitar and composes material for all of her projects. Recently she has begun branching out by writing songs in English.  Nonetheless, her loyal students of Latin American music promise to return to her classes when she comes back to Santa Cruz after a three-year hiatus.

Armando Mafufo and Melinda Velasco will be teaching "Latin American Music," including: Bolero, Son cubano, Waltz/ Huapamgo, Bomba and Rumba at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Michael Riemer has been learning and performing Irish set, step and ceili dancing in the Bay Area for nearly 15 years, with groups including Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the Celtic Dance Ensemble, and Siamsa le Cheile.  He has been fortunate to learn from a wide range of teachers, including Larry Lynch, Janis Reynolds, Jim Belcher, Brian Cleary, and Patrick O’Dea.  For about seven years now he has also been teaching, both through regular classes and at dance camps and workshops.

As a musician who frequently plays for Irish dancing as well, Michael likes to emphasize the strong connections between traditional Irish dance music and the style and footwork of the relevant dances. 

Michael taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Michael Riemer will be teaching "Irish set dance," and "Irish Ceili dance" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Michael Riemer

Michael Riemer

WB Reid & Frannie Leopold

photo coming soon

info coming soon!

WB Reid and Frannie Leopold will be giving instruction in music for ragtime, waltzes and two-step at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Rumen Sali Shopov

Rumen Shopov

Born in the Turkish/Muslim Romani (“Gypsy”) mahala (neighborhood) of Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria, Rumen was the pride and joy of a Romani family that loved to have relatives and neighbors over to sing all night. Rumen thus learned many traditional songs by ear. Rumen was a working musician on doumbek and guitar by the time he was in his teens, playing in the popular band “Biljana.” In 1978, Rumen joined Gotse Delchev’s state folk ensemble. In this group, the “Nevrokopski Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances” (the first state ensemble in Bulgaria, est. 1946), Rumen’s talent and discipline earned him the advanced positions first of tambura (long necked folk lute) soloist and then of concertmaster. Rumen was able to travel abroad with the ensemble, a rare privilege during the Cold War, and he toured Western and Eastern Europe as well as Canada. At the same time, Rumen continued to play with the bands of the mahala, taking up the very important role of tapan (double-headed bass drum) player for three-day weddings.

In 2002, Rumen began to play and teach in the United States, where his career has flourished amid increasing demand for both traditional Bulgarian music and traditional Romani music. He has served on the faculty of the East European Folklife Center’s Balkan Music and Dance Workshops, given workshops at other music camps and festivals, and taught at the Jazz School of Berkeley, CA.

Among his many American collaborators are the ensembles Kitka, Edessa, Anoush, Ziyia, Habiru, Trio Slavej, Romani Routes, Peter Jacques Klezmer Trio, Shuvani, Yuri Yunakov Romani Wedding Band, and his own band Orkestar Sali. In March, 2006 Rumen celebrated the release of “Soul of the Mahala” a disc of traditional and original music featuring performances by Rumen, his son Angel “Acho” Shopov, and Romani musicians from Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria on the Voice of Roma/Romani Routes label. Profits from sales of this CD will benefit Voice of Roma’s humanitarian aid work in the Balkans.

Rumen Shopove will be teaching 2 classes to be announced for Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

A trans-stylistic performer with an insatiable passion for movement.

Danielle Smith, a contemporary American dancer since age 7 with a background in jazz, classical ballet, and modern, is a practitioner of ethnologically diverse dance from Middle Eastern/Bellydance to Japanese inspired Butoh and many others.  Diversity, celebration, interpretation of music, the world at large, and focused energy inspire the core of her movement practice.  

After attending Alfred University for Fine Arts in New York, Danielle moved to Portland Oregon to explore her multi-faceted artistic passion.  

She now dances with RevelMe! and The Underscore Orkestra.  Both groups showcase live music and dance inspired by Balkan, Klezmer, Gypsy Jazz and Swing both traditional and original.  Danielle is a member of Znama Dance Company and Mizu Desierto Butoh Theater; and is also a founding member of the non-profit World Folk Traditons. When not on tour, performing around the globe, Danielle teaches fine arts and crafts as well as dance to students of all ages.

Danielle taught children's rhythm and dance classes at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Danielle Smith will be teaching "belly dance for kids and beginners" this year at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Elizabeth Strong

Elizabeth Strong

Elizabeth Strong is one of the top belly dance fusion artists on the dance scene in San Francisco.  She performs as a soloist as well as a collaborator with other great dancers including Rachel Brice, Zoe JakesJill Parker and Mira Betz.
 In over a decade studying and performing, Elizabeth Strong has traveled frequently to Turkey and Eastern Europe to study dance and culture, always returning to her home in the San Francisco Bay Area for further inspiration. Elizabeth works with local artists and musicians, participating in everything from very traditional Rom and Jewish events, to absurd circus, and cutting edge performance art.

Elizabeth’s recent works include: choreographing and performing in Ultra Gypsy’s 2006 Undulation, collaborating and performing with Rachel Brice, Mardi Love and the Toids in the Pogonometric Revue Tour in 2006, performing at California’s Herdeljezi Festival presented by Voice of Roma in 2006 and 2007, and a recent tour with the Belly Dance Superstars. Elizabeth Strong has performed and taught throughout the United States and Europe independently and at the top tribal festivals.

Elizabeth taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Elizabeth Strong will be teaching "Upper Egyptian belly dance," and "Folkloric belly dance" at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Holly Tannen sings traditional songs of England, Scotland, France, and the United States. She also channels Entities from the Half-Astral Plane who are responsible for creations in dubious taste such as "Online Romance", "Lily of the Net", "Song of the Suburban Shaman", "Humboldt Wassail", and "Victim of Them."

Holly studied folklore with Alan Dundes at U.C. Berkeley. She is now a professor of Ethnosleaziology, the cross-cultural study of bad taste, at the Mendocino Institute for Sustainable Voyance, and edits the prestigious Journal of Anomalistic Phenomenology.

Holly Tannen will be teaching dulcimer and song crafting at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Holly Tannen

Holly Tannen

These virtuoso roots musicians specialize in the down-home sounds of the American South. Their musical palette includes Appalachian story-songs and bluegrass breakdowns, classic country blues, Louisiana Cajun dance music, and paso dobles from Puerto Rico.

Eric's flatpicking on guitar and mandolin is exceptional for its purity of tone, speed, and soulfulness; Suzy is a powerful singer, an award-winning fiddler and Cajun accordion player who has apprenticed with older generation Louisiana Cajun musicians under an NEA Fellowship.

Founding members of many influential roots music groups including the Black Mountain Boys, Any Old Time, the Klezmorim, and the California Cajun Orchestra, Eric and Suzy have also worked with Jerry Garcia, Maria Muldaur, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, the Savoy Doucet Cajun Trio, the Texas Sheiks and many other fine musicians.

Eric and Suzy taught at the first Golden Toad Camp in 2010.

Suzy Thompson will be teaching old-time harmony singing, and Cajun music. Eric Thompson will be teaching flatpicking guitar and Mandolin (intermediate to advanced) at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp 2011.

Eric and Suzy Thompson

Eric and Suzy Thompson

LaLinda Vecchiarelli

La Linda Vecchiarelli

La Linda lived in Spain for most of 10 years studying & performing Flamenco & Middle Eastern dance with maestros Mercedes y Albano, Ciro, & La Tati in Madrid, Manolo Marin in Triana, Jose de la Vega in Barcelona, touring professionally with premier Moorish music ensemble "Al-Fatiha" & Gypsy Cuadro Juan del Gastor.
She is founder & artistic director of "Las Ramas", a collaboration of performing artists & teachers dedicated to bringing the finest traditional & contemporary Flamenco to the Bay area, for years receiving City & Cultural Council Grants for continually sold out presentations at venues such as Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz Art Center, First Nights Santa Cruz & Monterey, & the Cabrillo Music Festival Ethnic Fair.
La Linda has served as Santa Cruz Cultural Council  Spectra Artist-in-Residence teaching Flamenco dance & culture to children in public schools, and is the recipient of the Ethnic Arts Network award for Artistic Excellence in Dance & Performance.
In the North Bay where she currently resides, La Linda has taught & performed with Aire Flamenco, for the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, the Healdsburg Arts Council, Ballet California, Mendocino Ballet, Sirens Studio for Youth & the Arts, Troupe Joweh, and is a frequent participant in Tribal Fests, where her specialty is teaching & performing Zambra - Flamenco/Moorish fusion. She is greatly looking forward to sharing the spirit "en famillia" at Golden Toad Camp 2011 - Ole!

LaLinda Vecchiarelli will be teaching Flamenco dance for beginners and children; and Flamenco dance (beginner to intermediate level) at Golden Toad Music & Dance Camp.

Derek Wright has been a musician all of his life. Growing up in New Orleans, he was a jazz bassist, saxophonist, and percussionist. He began learning Afghan music from David Brown, Brian Steeger, and Ernie Fischbach in the mid 1990s. Other Afghani music teachers have included Tameem Afzali, Zia Khawaja, and Bizmillah Iqbal. Derek started playing the oud in 1997. His teachers have included Solomon Feldthouse and Ali Sinan Erdemsel. In 2002, he moved to the Bay Area and began studying North Indian classical music (both vocal and instrumental) with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He has continued to study at the Ali Akbar College of Music, using the oud to imitate the style of the sarode.

Derek is also a passionate student, performer, and teacher of
Brazilian music (mostly percussion and vocal). He has studied
numerous styles from the vast musical heritage of Brazil, has traveled there many times to learn, and regularly trains and performs with Brazilian masters who live in the Bay Area.

Derek Wright will be teaching a class on North Indian classical music theory and practice, and another class to be announced at Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp. Both classes are open to students with any instrument, and no prior experience with either genre is required.

Derek Wright

Derek Wright Golden Toad Camp


Matt Wright

Matt Wright

More info coming soon!

Matt Wright will be teaching "Afghani Kiliwali" (Afghani folk music) and another class to be announced for Golden Toad Music and Dance Camp.