Eve Monzingo and George Lawler are a married couple who have been playing music and teaching together since they met in 2004. Both are experienced in a wide variety of styles of folk music from Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Middle East. They have presented many educational workshops at Chicago area schools and universities, directed music programs for youths, and performed with a wide variety of music groups.
George Lawler is an accomplished percussionist and music producer who has been involved in the Chicago music scene for over 20 yrs. He has been playing drum set for 33 years, and is adept at many genres of percussion, from ancient to electronic, with an emphasis on styles from the Middle East and Mediterranean region. George began learning the art of Middle Eastern percussion in 1995 through a 12 year mentorship with Tunisian master percussionist Najib Bhari.
George has performed music in 23 countries, and most recently he was awarded a DCASE grant to tour India with the group “East Meets Middle East.”
His experience in various genres is as follows:
Arabic/Middle Eastern music: George has toured the U.S. with Egyptian pop star Natacha Atlas; Performed 3 times at Arabic music festival in Milwaukee; Performed at the Jaipur Literature Festival with East Meets Middle East; Performed at the The Festival International de Louisiane and Chicago Arabesque Festival with the Arabic fusion group Lamajamal; Played percussion with legendary Egyptian Jazz drummer Yehya Khalil; Presented a seminar with Lamajamal at Georgetown University’s Center for Arab Studies; Taught Middle Eastern rhythms at the Old Town School of Folk Music; Presented Middle Eastern percussion workshops and residencies at 8 Chicago Public Schools; Presented Palestinian music with the Turath Ensemble.
Turkish Music: George has played percussion for Turkish clarinet virtuoso Selim Sesler, played Chicago Turkish Fest 5 times with Lamajamal and worked closely with TACA (Turkish American Cultural Alliance) when the band provided the music for their 20 piece choir. George has performed in Istanbul with A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Lamajamal; he has studied in Istanbul under a student of the great master Misirli Ahmet.
Greek/Balkan Music: From 2007-2017 George and his wife Eve were musical directors for the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, providing instruction for their student music group and performing folk music from the many regions of Greece as well as the Balkans. The two have toured Greece as backing musicians for a greek folk music choir, and performed in the USA at many festivals and weddings with bands such as Hellas 2000 and the Linardakis Orchestra; They have performed in Bulgaria with the group Lamajamal, as well as in Chicago at Balkan Music Fest; George has performed Balkan music with Chicago’s Mucca Pazza, and Black Bear Combo.
“Ethno-Fusion” and other genres: George understands that electronic music is today’s “folk music” and has been combining elements of House music, Trap, Drum n Bass, and Techno with folk music from cultures around the world. His group Byzantine Time Machine has been picked up by the label Outtallectuals, London UK, and this partnership has spawned many cross-cultural collaborations fusing electronic music with folk genres. George has taught private workshops showing how to use ethnic percussion instruments such as a Persian Tombak to trigger MIDI and electronic sounds. George has also produced 2 albums of Kashmiri folk music for Funkar International, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the culture of Kashmir. He is currently recording an album of Afghani folk music for Intercultural Music Production.
Other genres George has performed extensively include: Afro-Cuban percussion (L’Orchestre Super Vitesse, Occidental Brothers, Roccambu jazz), Chinese surf-pop (Red Chamber), electronic music (Frequency Lab, Tranquility Bass), reggae (DaDa Do, Family of Souls), and indie rock (Dan Wallace, Bobby Conn), along with his hobbies, ragtime piano and Spanish guitar.
Eve Monzingo is a talented multi-instrumentalist who specializes in folk music of the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. She has performed in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Germany, England and France with the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, Die Naye Kaplye, (both Jewish folk music groups) and Lamajamal (mid-eastern/balkan music).
Eve plays Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern style clarinet, and has studied with several virtuoso teachers including Jim Stoynoff, Selim Sessler, and Richard Corpolongo. Eve is an expert on the Sandouri, (hammered dulcimer), and has used it in many genres including, Klezmer, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and Balkan. She also plays saxophone, (specializing in Balkan styles), flute, and piano, and sings folk songs in Greek and Turkish.
Eve has played with the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble since 1995 and in 2010 the group was invited to perform at Amsterdam’s famous Concertgebouw. In 2008 she was part of the musical cast in the Goodman Theatre’s production of “Mirror to the Invisible World.” With Lamajamal, Eve has played many festivals including Chicago Balkan Fest, Blues Fest, Festival International de Louisiane, and Global Union in Milwaukee. She has performed on the Conan Obrien show, and at Lollapalooza Chicago with the group Mucca Pazza.
Eve is passionate about music education and has presented music workshops and assemblies at many schools around Chicago. From 2007-2017, she was the musical director for the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society‘s youth and adult Greek folk music groups. Eve has taught group ensembles and workshops at the Old Town School of Music, KlezKanada in Montreal, the University of Chicago and Roosevelt University.
Eve began her journey into folk music by earning the Ethnic Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Illinois Art Council to study Greek clarinet music under Jim Stoynoff when she was still a teenager. She then went on to earn scholarships to attend various folk music conferences, including the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Culture, the Eastern European Folklife Group’s Balkan Music and Dance Camps, and Simon Shaheen’s Arabic Music Retreat.
Eve received her degree from Roosevelt University where she studied classical composition and music theory with Dr. Robert Lombardo. Her composition credits include 1st prize in the American Jewish Song Festival (1994), 2nd prize in the Midwest American Chapter of Women Composers competition (1996), and 2nd prize for her string quartet in the Virginia and Seymour LaRock Composition Competition (2001). Her compositions are featured on the recordings “Sweet Home Bukovina” by the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble (1996) and “Trumpets” by the Amsterdam based klezmer group, DiFidl-Kapelye(2006).
Please contact us with any inquiries:
These programs are available with additional musicians and can be customized to focus on specific areas. These services and more are available through our parent company, Intercultural Music Production.