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Estamos Trio: People's Historia (Relative Pitch)

Taking song titles from the Arawak language, the Estamos Trio of Thollem McDonas (piano), Milo Tamez (drums) and Carmina Escobar (voice & electronics) brings together artists from the Mexican/U.S. border, creating beautiful creative works.

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product information:

Liner notes by William Parker

UPC: 616892146445

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1013
Squidco Product Code: 17524

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in Anahuac, Mexico City, Mexico; San Jeronimo, Cuernavace, Mexico; I-Park, The Devil's Hopyard, Connecticut, USA; and Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, California, CA. Recorded by Carmina Escobar.


Carmina Escobar-voice, electronics, field recordings

Milo Tamez-extended drumset

Thollem McDonas-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Carmina Escobar is an experimental vocalist from Mexico City who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She is on the Voice Arts faculty of California Institute of the Arts and is the co-founder and vocalist of "LIMINAR," a contemporary music ensemble based in Mexico City. Her work is shown regularly at Machine Project. Escobar is most widely known for her work on Massagem Sonora, which gained attention through its role in a large scale collaborative project of the Getty Museum in tangent with Machine Project. She has been awarded several grants and residencies including the Performer's Grant by the National Endowment of the Arts in Mexico twice, and the 2014 NFA Master Artist Grant."

-Wikipedia (

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"Milo Tamez. Born 1971 in an artistic family. San Luis Potosí, México.

An incessant researcher, Milo Tamez artistic envision urges for a renewed listening sensitivity on drumming and percussion music. He focuses on percussiveness phenomena in nature and reflects it on his inventive and creative approach to music. His study concentration relates to body-mind interwinding, and eukinetic and proprioceptive body-instrument interrelationship. Continuously exploring into new elements of compositional complexities of pure rhythm and sound in Nature. The psychophysical experiencing of energy in time space in human perception, as a system for a unique foundation for expression and evolution.

Tamez instrumental work evolves from an embodiment of organic integrative element sound organization, that nourishes his constructive imagination and inventiveness. He has been a major leading voice in new creative and experimental music for solo drumming and real time composition performance in México. From the minimal-silent reductionist environments to the more energetic, open space free improvising ones; covering multidisciplinary fields with poetry, painting and video art, dance and performance, audiovisual installations and space interventions.

His collaboration with other artists includes AvantJazz projects, New Chamber Music Ensembles, Free Improvisation, Contemporary Dance and Theater, Experimental Music, Film and Visual Arts. He has been active in festivals and art encounters, performing solo and in collaboration with many worldwide renown artists and musicians.

He lives in Mexico City since 2017, creating, developing and producing projects like POLLOCK tambores pintores, TALLER ABIERTO, FIELDS, COLLAGE ENSEMBLE, as participating with many other collaborative projects."

-Milo Tamez Website (

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"Thollem is a pianist, keyboardist, organist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He's spent his life skirting and erasing the edges of boundaries musically, culturally, geographically. His work is ever changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines. Though Thollem's widely known as an acoustic piano player, he's also the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti and has recently branched out significantly into the world of electronics through a multitude of projects.

Thollem was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying the standard classical piano repertoire, composing and improvising since he was a young child and absorbing the myriad of sounds of his culturally diverse upbringing. After dedicating his 20s and 30s to grassroots political activism, he's refocused his attention these last 15 years on a breadth of musics that incorporate his myriad experiences and curiosities. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. As leader or co-leader, he has released over 50 albums in that span on 22 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. "Thollem is an astounding pianist who understands the huge scope of the instrument" (Terry Riley) and who continues to delve into the furthest reaches and sub-genres of Post-Classical, Free Jazz, Noise, Punk, dance and film. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Stefano Scodanibbio, Nels Cline, Mike Watt, Rob Mazurek, Martha Colburn and ACVilla. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange as well as the lead singer of the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti. Presently Thollem is developing an audio/visual experience about America through an 8 month, 48 state odyssey with his partner the videographer ACVilla. He's also a published author about art, politics and his travels in The Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening, Full Moon Magazine (Prague) and First American Art Magazine."

-Thollem McDonas Website (

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track listing:

1. Aba 3:23

2. Bian 4:09

3. Kabun 3:14

4. Biti 4:05

5. Abadakabo 2:58

6. Abatian 4:20

7. Bianitian 3:34

8. Kabunitian 2:52

9. Bistian 3:15

10. Bianidakabo 2:43

11. Biandakhabo Diako Abaro 4:56

12. Biandakhabo Diako Kabyn 3:00
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Estamos Trio is a continuation of Estamos Ensemble, which Thollem began in 2009, bringing together musicians from both sides of the Mexican/U.S. border.The first album was a double disc release on Edgetone Records and features improvisations as wells premieres of works written specifically for the ensemble.The verb 'estamos' in Spanish means 'we are' in the non-permanent sense. This is intrinsic to the nature of every Estamos project: always changing and open to new and different kinds of involvement.

Carmina Escobar

Carmina Escobar is a vocalist, sound, and intermedia artist from Mexico City whose work focuses primarily on sound, the voice, the body, materials, images, technology and the interrelations of them all. She has collaborated in many different projects that explore a diversity of sonorous languages such as contemporary music, medieval music, opera, folk music, improvisation, electronic music, and experimental trends involving interdisciplinary collaborations, and new technologies.

In her personal work Carmina integrates interdisciplinary and multimedia elements such as video, body motion, abstract narrative, and the real-time processing of sound from organic and inorganic sources. She makes use of concrŹte elements through electronic media in order to cause situations and generate new routes to create dialogues and points of encounter through free improvisation, experimentation, and her experience with the academic study of different forms of music. All of this as a means to explore the areas in which intuition and consciousness appear as common elements in the individual's imagination.

Milo Tamez

Percussion artist Milo Tamez from San Luis Potosí, México, has been involved in the improvised and experimental music Mexican scene for the last decade. His openness to a diversity of art languages and his unique approach in music making, has given him the reputation as one of the leading voices in the Mexican improvisation and experimental music community. Strongly influenced by the contemporary percussion solo repertoire from the 20th century, his drumming and artistic development has evolved into a wide diverse vocabulary and creative musicianship. An innate composer, his approach to percussion overrides any tendency in vogue, always in the search of explorative unknown territories for emotional communication and genuine aesthetic construction. He’s actively performing in musical gatherings and music festivals worldwide as well as leading his own projects.

Thollem McDonas

Thollem, from the San Francisco Bay Area, has been a perpetually traveling musician since 2006. He shares his time between North America and Europe, performing/recording as a soloist, in collaboration with many other individuals and groups, as well as leading large ensemble improvisation/collaboration workshops. His music is diverse, approaching each concert and project uniquely, resulting in dramatically new and different outcomes. Not long after birth, Thollem began studying the keyboard repertoire from the medieval to the 20th century. With degrees in both piano performance and composition, he quit school to dedicate his time to grassroots political movements and ecological restoration projects. In 2005, he returned to music as his full focus, incorporating his experiences into his compositions, improvisations and teaching. Thollem has performed piano concertos with symphonies, played in West African drumming troupes, Javanese gamelan ensembles, punk bands, with many free improvisation groups, and as a “comproviser” for modern dance and film. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange. He is also the lead singer of the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti, as well as The Hand To Man Band with John Dieterich and Mike Watt. Last year he released 6 albums including a trio album with Nels Cline and William Parker."-Thollem McDonas website

"Composition is freedom and out of the woods comes this lonely melody that doesn't recognize itself in the mirror because every time it is played it looks and sounds different. The tradition was originally about individuality not preservation. It was each musician's job to find his or her own voice... Then acknowledge that each individual voice was part of a larger cosmic voice. So be healed by this music. Leap over tall buildings and bounce."-William Parker, from the liner notes

Liner notes by William Parker

Get additional information at Thollem McDonas EstamosProject page
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Unusual Vocal Forms
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Trio Recordings
South & Central American + Caribbean Improvisation
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