The band Estrada Branca was formed in 2009 by a group of musicians with a shared love of Jazz, American Popular Song, Afro-Cuban and World Music, Brazilian Music and, in particular, the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
The members of the band comprise: Yolanda Digrius (vocals), Ken Lipman (Sax and Flute), Jaq Keenan (Guitar), Jerry Otero(Bass), Bob Ramos (drums) and Michael Lawton (keyboard), who also serves as musical director.
Estrada Branca have played at the Highland Park 2010 Arts-In-The Park Street Fair, the 2010 Rutgers Day Festival and the 2010 Highland Park 5K Run/Street Fair. Prior to forming Estrada Branca, Band members have played in various combinations at the Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, Rahway Public Library, Trumpets in Montclair, Ballet Hispanico and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City and as far and wide as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, The Caribbean, Brazil, England and South Africa.
Estrada Branca will be recording their 1st CD this November. The CD will comprise a mixture of Jobim, MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), Jazz Standards and Pop Songs.
Estrada Branca has close ties to the Highland Park and New Brunswick music scene. All of the band members live in Central New Jersey, three are Highland Park residents and several are graduates of Rutgers University or are involved in teaching and research at Rutgers. Band members are also regulars at the Jazz Jam Session held every Sunday afternoon at PJ’s in Highland Park, while the Mike Lawton Jazz Genome Project plays every 1st and 3rd Thursdays at Nighthawks Books in Highland Park.
Estrada Branca –Arts-in-the-Park, Highland Park, Oct 2010