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Jemini Venture

 

 Originals, bluegrass, jazz, blues, roots, Americana 

 

History

All of the members of Jemini Venture have been members of other bands of various genres including bluegrass, jazz, blues, rock, old time, classical, cajun and southern gospel.  In 2010 Marguerite brought them together into a band that would play acoustic instruments yet not be constrained by any certain style. The resulting band members and their instrumentation are:

Jim Bookter - Mandolin, guitar, vocals

Born and raised in the shadow of the iconic Louisiana Hayride, Jim paid his musical dues in the honky-tonks and gritty blues clubs between Shreveport and Baton Rouge.  Returning to his more rural roots and adding the mandolin to his repertoire, his instrumental stylings have been shaped by a variety of musicians ranging from Jethro Burns to Jimi Hendrix and everything in between.  Influenced by many types of music including Texas Blues, Country, Rock 'n' Roll and of course (given the proximity to New Orleans) Jazz, Jim brings an eclectic background of experiences to the sound that is Jemini Venture.

Kathryn Carlson - Bass, guitar, ukulele, vocals

Like a good southern girl, Kathryn began taking piano lessons at a young age and joined the church choir.  Rebellion started and she took up the ukulele. Modulating to the guitar, she joined the folk/Gospel group "The Goodnews Singers" and toured around the south for a summer after 9th grade. While in high school, she played the tuba in band and the banjo in a folk/bluegrass band and finally found the upright bass. Decades passed, and after losing her mind with having four children, the bass now occupies most of her time.

Marguerite Gravois - Fiddle, vocals, percussion

Marguerite grew up in the foothills of the Ozarks in a family of singers listening to all kinds of music.  After getting her nose out of the books, a move to Louisiana allowed experimentation with a variety of musical instruments.  She constructed her own mountain dulcimer, then explored playing guitar, whistle and mandolin until the fiddle chose her to be its primary player.  In 2008, Marguerite received a full scholarship from the Louisiana Folk Roots organization to study cajun fiddling at the Dewey Balfa Cajun & Creole Heritage Week.  She has enjoyed performing in vintage, gospel, bluegrass, celtic, cajun, rock, classical and vocal ensembles.

Paul Pittman - Resonator guitar, banjo, saxophone, vocals

Paul grew up in Forest Hill in central Louisiana.  He preferred mostly country music, but enjoyed listening to the rock of the 70's and 80's occasionally.  He played electric bass at church for the youth choir led by his mom and sang in choirs at church and school.  Bluegrass came into his life later when his parents gave him a banjo for his 40th birthday.  He instantly became addicted to the genre and played the banjo constantly.  After a couple of years he purchased a squareneck resonator guitar, attended a Pete Wernick jam camp and began jamming with groups in Baton Rouge.  Paul has focused on the resonator for the last couple of years and admires the work of current national talents such as Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall and Randy Kohrs.

Dan Williams - Guitar, vocals

Dan began playing bluegrass guitar in 1975 with the award-winning Lost Creek Ramblers.  Before moving to Baton Rouge in 2008, he played with the Dentville Fiddletune Society and Reliance.  He was also a member of the legendary east Tennesse bluegrass band Hiawassee Ridge who opened for the likes of Rhonda Vincent, The Grascals, Cherryholmes, IIIrd Tyme Out, Blue Highway, Lonesome River Band and Grasstown. 

Melissa Yarborough - Flute, percussion

Melissa has played flute since the 5th grade in Baton Rouge.  She played the notes on the page until she was 17 years old, then improvised for the first time on a Jethro Tull tune at her high school talent show.  While living for several years in Philadelphia, she played with singer-songwriters and in local jazz and Latin ensembles.  Making many Latin American friends in north and south Philly, she learned to play the congas, güiro, claves and native Mexican/Andean flutes and drums. She loves to play and listen to all kinds of music.  Melissa is currently on maternity leave, but will return to performing soon!

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Upcoming performances

  • Oct 7
    LSU Rural Life Museum,  Baton Rouge
     

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