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We recently spent the afternoon enjoying a great musical performance by the band that has Woodinville ties.
The band was Global Heat. The event was the Festival Sundiata and it took place on June 17th at the Seattle Center on the Mural Stage.
The weather was sunny and beautiful so it was the perfect opportunity to see the band in action. The backdrop couldn’t have been more iconic with the Space Needle jutting up behind the stage.
We settled into a spot on the lawn in front of the stage just in time for the start of the first song and instantly started to bop and chair dance. The band performs original music as well as a cover or two, and their sound includes elements of funk, rap, and rhythm & blues all wrapped into one tight package.
Every song during the set had us moving to the music with big smiles while enjoying the beautiful day. Not only did it seem as though the crowd was enjoying the music, but the band seemed to be in sync and having a good time as well. My only regret was that the set didn’t last longer!
Following the performance, which concluded with a stellar rendition of Sly & the Family Stones’ “I Want to Take You Higher,” I had the opportunity to meet the band.
Global Heat’s founder and manager, Rob Pastorok, is a keyboardist, percussionist, PhD ecologist, and owner of Deep Well Studio in Woodinville. He has led band tours to perform at major music festivals throughout the Northwest U.S and all the way to Shanghai, China. In April 2017, he led Global Heat for a weeklong tour during which they performed for more than 5,000 youth at 16 venues. He received an Artist Trust award and has received grant support from 4Culture, Seattle Next 50, and Theatre Puget Sound. I asked Pastorok if he were to buy a ticket to see a live performance, who would it be? He said, “For music, Herbie Hancock & the Head Hunters. But since they are not touring, I get a second choice and have to say I will be buying tickets for my grandkids to see The Lion King.”
Since 2005, Marvin Shields Jr. has been a bassist, guitarist, vocalist, and musical director for Global Heat. At age 12, he began his musical career as a guitarist and drummer. Shields toured internationally performing with the world-class U.S. Air Force band Tops in Blue, including opening for the incomparable Al Green. His recording discography includes work on more than 12 albums. Shields is endorsed by the French guitar manufacturer Paul Lairat, who designed a signature bass for him. I asked him when people listen to him play is there is a musician that he’s been compared to? Shields replied, “They often mention how much they like my brand! However, on occasion I have gotten a Marcus Miller reference, I believe that’s more of how we love to wear our hats.”
Justin Murta, MC, DJ & Producer, is the one who really got the crowd started. His energy is infectious and his rap style vocals were clear and easy to understand. Murta is a professional musician in every sense of the word. Over the past 10+ years, he has performed in 34 countries at over 2,500 shows at festivals, schools, and venues. Whether performing as a soloist or with a group, he will surely rock the house. I asked Murta who has inspired him the most in his career. He replied, “Marvin Shields Jr. our Bass Player. He is naturally talented, a free spirit and is a role model in his work and personal life as well.”
Roz aka Rosalyn McCommon, Vocals, hails from the Kansas City area and grew up singing gospel music. In spite of spraining her ankle just before going on stage she was a trooper and sounded great with a large vocal range. Classically trained, she is a vocal coach, singer/songwriter, and plays keyboard, violin, light percussion and cajón. Roz said her “songwriting styles have ranged from orchestral arrangements to hip hop and country songs.” She performs regularly but also enjoys recording her own music in her home studio or recording background vocals. Roz’s love for music has allowed her to work with many styles of music and a wide range of professional artists like her fellow bandmates in Global Heat.
Michael Coble, Guitar, Flute and Vocals, joined the band in 2017. He earned a music performance degree in woodwinds then his post bachelor degree in music education. Coble toured the world as bandleader for six-piece show band aboard Holland America Line/Seabourn cruise ships from 2008-2013. He relocated to Seattle in 2013 after falling in love with the city and geography as well as the thriving music scene. Since then, he has been a public school music elementary teacher. I asked Coble what has been his favorite performance with Global Heat. He said, “...at Safeco Field for the graduation ceremony for Seattle colleges. It was amazing being on the jumbotron screen and hearing our songs over the massive sound system. Very appreciative and celebratory crowd!”
Drummer Nia Dupri Neal creates musical ‘in-the-pocket’ grooves by blending elements of funk, jazz, R&B, and pop. Nia began her professional journey in music as a teenager while attending the award-winning School of The Arts in Tacoma. She became a drummer for multiple church bands as well as cover bands on both the East and West coasts of the U.S. She also began co-composing songs with Crystal Aiken, winner of the first BET Sunday’s Best gospel competition. She has played with Dove Award Nominee Norman Hutchins, Anson Dawkins of Dawkins & Dawkins, Derek S. Clark, winner of the 2014 Stellar Award for Producer of the Year, Latin-pop band The Pazific, and reggae artist Toyin Adekale.
To see an upcoming Global Heat performance, visit their website at www.global-heat.com or on Facebook search GlobalHeat.