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Ernesto's Club

Ernesto’s Club is pianist Rob Curto and percussionist Gregg Mervine.

Read about their musical journeys below. 


Rob Curto

Rob Curto is a pianist and accordionist who grew up immersed in Swing Era jazz, but became fascinated with Brazilian music in 1998. He went on to become deeply involved in playing Choro and Forró music, living in Brazil from 2001 to 2005, perfecting his craft and performing with local musicians in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. During that time Rob played with players such Dudu Maia, Hamilton de Holanda, Daniel Santiago, Marcio Bahia, Chico Chagas and with the group Choro de Calango. He also had the opportunity to play with the legendary Dominguinhos, took private lessons with the great choro guitarist Alencar 7 Cordas, and spent time with accordionists such as Arlindo dos Oito Baixos, and Camarão. In 2004 Rob became a founding member of the group Forró in the Dark, and was essential in bringing Forró, the dance and social music of the Brazilian Northeast, to New York City and a broader international audience. Through weekly dance parties in Manhattan's East Village, he further honed his craft, developing skill in keeping folks dancing and “animando a festa.” Later his group “Rob Curto’s Forró for All” toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada.

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Gregg Mervine

Gregg Mervine primarily plays pandeiro (the Brazilian tambourine) in Ernesto’s Club. He first learned Brazilian percussion from Orlando Haddad and the band Minas. Then in 2007, Gregg and Jack Ohly formed Old Goats (‘Cabras Velhas’), a group dedicated to folk music from the interior of Bahia. Seeking to steep himself into vibrant folk traditions, Gregg moved to Monteiro, Paraíba in 2010, where he studied folkloric traditions including bandas de pifano, reisados, cantantadores and inselenças. While there, he worked with Sandra Belê, Chico Corrêa, Toninho Borbo, Fernanda Cabral, Totonho, Parahyba Art Ensemble, and Pife Perfumado. He produced Borbo’s Biplano and Belê’s Cantando para o Eterno albums, and toured throughout the country. He studied pandeiro with Bernardo Aguiar in Rio de Janeiro and Baixinho do Pandeiro in João Pessoa. He returned to the U.S. in 2016 with his family. Playing with Ernesto’s Club gives Mervine the chance to ‘matar a saudade dele’ - ‘satisfy his longing’ - for his family, friends and connections to Brazil.

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