Raffi DerSimonian's new album: LEAP

Screenshot 2019-05-13 13.41.38.png
Screenshot 2019-05-13 13.41.38.png

Raffi DerSimonian's new album: LEAP


Raffi DerSimonian's newest album of original material featuring a blend of folk, rock, pop, reggae and Maine's finest musicians.

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The new release is called LEAP and is inspired by the notion of seizing the day, taking calculated risks, and having faith in your own center of gravity. It is also about not losing sight of what brings you the most joy.

Those of you who know me well know that music has played an important part in my life. I spent my teen years and most of my 20’s immersed in the music scene, released two albums, and had the good fortune of sharing the stage with nationally known performing artists Naughty By Nature, Toots & The Maytals, Rustic Overtones, Chad from Dispatch, Recycled Percussion, Howie Day, and others.

After more than a decade-long hiatus from producing original music and performing regularly, I made the decision to leap from my role as Director of Marketing & Communications at Maine College of Art to pursue my own creative and professional aspirations. The collection of tunes range from reggae to acoustic folk/rock, and represent a glimpse into various phases of my life since my last album release, Mind the Gap.

LEAP features an incredible collection of Maine’s most talented musicians, and a diverse instrumentation, including horns. Perhaps the greatest privilege in producing this project was the opportunity to collaborate with the late great Dave Noyes, Trombonist from Maine’s preeminent rock band, Rustic Overtones. Dave was a musician whom I have admired and looked up to since I was 14 years old, so working together on horn arrangements was a major highlight of this project for me. Dave’s untimely death last month has left a huge void in Maine’s music scene, but his kindness and grace will forever be imprinted on this project. 

LEAP features a diverse range of artists and instrumentation including the horn section from Rustic Overtones (the late Dave NoyesJason Ward , and Lucas Desmond), Emilia Dahlin(vocal harmonies), Chas Lester (percussion), Hannah Schroeder (cello), Emmett Harrity(keys), Adam Frederick (bass), and Joe Walsh (Mandolin). Other featured special guest musicians include Richard Houghton (bass), Adam Miller (bass), Bobby Queen (percussion), Jason Queen (lead guitar) and Justin Lindsay (lead guitar).

From conception to completion, this album is very much a Maine College of Art (MECA) made project. LEAP was recorded at the Bob Crewe Program in Art & Music recording studio at MECA in the heart Portland’s arts district. While serving as Director of Marketing and Communications on MECA’s leadership team, I helped to envision how a transformative $3 million gift from the Crewe Foundation to explore the intersection between visual art and music could add value to the Portland arts scene. The Crewe Foundation, was established by writer and producer for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Bob Crewe, and his brother, business partner, MECA trustee, and philanthropist, Dan Crewe.

Recorded and mixed by Steve Drown, Coordinator of MECA’s Bob Crewe Program in Art & Music, LEAP is a MECA-made project featuring cover art by Abbi Masso ‘16 with graphic design by Kristin DeVico ‘19, and photography by Kyle Dubay ‘18.