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New Orleans International Sound Exchange (N.O.I.S.E.) Presents HIP Fest

Media Contact:
Emily Reimsnyder or Kelsey Hyde


New Orleans International Sound Exchange (N.O.I.S.E.) Presents HIP Fest

Inaugural festival dedicated to improvised music hits Frenchmen Street November 5th and 6th


September 30, 2013 (New Orleans, La.)- The New Orleans International Sound Exchange (N.O.I.S.E.) is making its musical mark on New Orleans with the announcement of HIP Fest (Hosting Improvising Performers Festival), a two-night festival featuring improvised music at The Blue Nile, New Orleans' premiere music venue. HIP Fest invites great musicians from around the world to play with local improvisers, helping to foster dialog between New Orleans' creative music community and the broader international creative music community. The inaugural fest will feature three international guests: drummer Hamid Drake, flutist Nicole Mitchell and vibraphonist Pasquale Mirra.

Musical improvisation is the creative activity of conveying emotion and responding to other musicians simultaneously through immediate musical composition. The love of improvised music and idea for HIP Fest derives from drummer Marcello Benetti, co-founder and president of N.O.I.S.E. A successful drummer and composer himself, Benetti lives to make music and help artists. Benetti created HIP Fest as an opportunity for New Orleans audiences to experience world-renowned artists without having to travel. Bridging these two avenues of talent will enrich music culture worldwide and in New Orleans' backyard, as well as educate and inspire audiences.

"I fell in love with the town and the people," says Benetti, an Italian native who currently resides in New Orleans. "This city is filled with rich culture-reflected through its art, food and music-that brings the most diverse people together to celebrate a place unlike any other. New Orleans respects and appreciates all forms of music, and I'm looking forward to expanding upon that with improvised music."

On Tuesday, November 5th, two local musicians are paired to perform with each of the three international guests. On the following night, established New Orleans groups will open the concert and the international guest artists will perform collectively for the HIP Fest finale.

HIP Fest Featured Guests

Hamid Drake, a drummer and percussionist, resides in Chicago, IL., but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. He frequently plays without sticks, using his hands to develop subtly commanding undertones. Drake's questing nature and interest in Caribbean percussion led to his deep involvement with reggae. Widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music, HIP Fest is excited to host Drake.

Nicole Mitchell first started playing the piano and viola in the fourth grade. Classically trained in flute, Mitchell went on to start her own group, which she called the Black Earth Ensemble. In 2010 and 2011, Mitchell won first place in both the "Established" Flute and the "Rising Star" flute categories in the "Down Beat International Critics Poll." After serving as AACM president, Mitchell was appointed Assistant Professor in music at the University of California Irvine in 2011.

Pasquale Mirra is among the most active Italian and international jazz vibraphonists. In 2005, Mirra became a member of the association "Bassesfere," a collection of musicians committed to developing and disseminating improvised music, performing in Bologna. Mirra has performed and recorded with Drake and Mitchell along with many other greats.

HIP Fest artists will have "home field advantage" playing downstairs of the newly renovated Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street. HIP Fest is excited to bring together loyal audience members of the Open Ears Music Series and other music fans. The Open Ears Music series performances take place every Tuesday night at the Blue Nile. N.O.I.S.E. works in conjunction with the Open Ears Music Series and is now thrilled to bring the inauguration of HIP Fest to Frenchmen Street. HIP Fest is supported in part by a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Community Partnership Grant.

HIP Fest 2013

When:   Tuesday, November 5th, 9:00 p.m.
                 Wednesday, November 6th, 9:00 p.m.

Tickets: Available only at the door

$15/day, $25 two-day ticket


November 5

§  Pasquale Mirra, Vibraphone; Aurora Nealand, Sax; Doug Garrison, Drums

§  Nicole Mitchell, Flute; Helen Gillet, Cello; Rex Gregory, Sax/Clarinets

§  Hamid Drake, Drums; Dan Oestreicher, Baritone sax; Jesse Morrow, Doublebass

November 6

§  Jeff Albert Quartet: Jeff Albert, Trombone; Ray Moore, Alto Sax; Jesse Morrow, Doublebass; Dave Cappello, Drums

§  Trapper Keeper: Rick Trolsen, Trombone; Will Thompson, Keys; Chris Alford, Guitar; Marcello Benetti- Drums

§  Hamid Drake, drums, Nicole Mitchell, flute, Pasquale Mirra, vibraphone

Where: The Blue Nile
532 Frenchmen St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 948-2583  

For more information on HIP Fest 2013, please visit or visit our Facebook page

About New Orleans International Sound Exchange (N.O.I.S.E.)
Marcello Benetti and Jeff Albert founded N.O.I.S.E. in 2012 as a non-profit corporation dedicated to presenting concerts in New Orleans featuring visiting national and international music artists alongside New Orleans artists.