Bassist and composer Alan Lewine originally founded Owlsong Productions in 1982 in connection with his production of a memorial concert honoring Thelonious Monk. OWLSONG went on to produce several concerts of Lewine’s original music and manage his musical affairs through the 1980s and ‘90s. Owlsong Productions also released several records covering styles ranging from Lewine’s original modern jazz compositions, to Dixieland and traditional jazz, swing and vocal renditions from the Great American Songbook era, up to material from the avant garde, often with Lewine as leader and sometimes as sideman. During this period, Owlsong Productions operated from bases in New Mexico, Oregon and Washington D.C. In 2013, Alan relaunched OWLSONG with his wife, Ana María Ruimonte, The Spanish Mezzo&Soprano.
OWLSONG presents three strands of music: Ana María’s classical vocal music, Alan’s jazz, and their joint projects combining their backgrounds and interest in Latin music and music from diverse cultures into a unique world music style with ensembles known as OWLSONG. The reconstituted OWLSONG label released its first two albums in 2014. Ana María Diaz: Arded Corazón Arded (Burn, Heart, Burn) was recorded in Madrid in 2013, then mixed and mastered in Philadelphia, and features Ana María (then known as Ana María Díaz) singing baroque romanzas from 17th Century Spain accompanied by baroque guitar and cello. This album commemorates the 400th anniversaries of the births of Juan Hidalgo, the composer of the first Spanish Opera, and the portrait painter Juan Carreño. Both born in 1614, they represent the sound and image of what is known as Spain’s Golden Century (Siglo de Oro). That same year, OWLSONG also released OWLSONG: Sampler featuring a variety of material including classical songs performed by Ana María, the first recordings by OWLSONG as a duo (then known as Soprano Meets Contrabass), and rereleases of samples from Lewine's earlier jazz records. In 2015, they released another classical music project on the OWLSONG label, Ana María Ruimonte: Alma y Vida de Mujer (The Soul and Life of a Woman), which features Ana María singing art songs and arias from opera and zarzuela in several languages, material spanning the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries.
OWLSONG plans a big splash in 2017, with three new releases planned. In January 2017 in Havana, Cuba, Ana María worked with 87-year-old Cuban piano maestro Huberal Herrera to record Ana María Ruimonte with Huberal Herrera: Roses for Lecuona (Rosas para Ernesto Lecuona). Produced by Alan, Roses is in the running for a Cubadisco award (the Cuban Grammys) and set for US release later this year. In February, their joint musical ensemble, OWLSONG, gathered famed Spanish flamenco guitarist Julián Vaquero, Israeli percussionist Shai Wetzer, and American jazz trumpeter Duane Eubanks in Brooklyn to record a new album of music, OWLSONG: Sephardic Treasures (Tesoros Sefardíes), featuring songs originating in the medieval Spanish Jewish community with Alan Lewine’s unique arrangements reflecting jazz, medieval, Spanish and Middle Eastern influences. Also, Alan is working up arrangements for a companion album to Roses For Lecuona featuring some tunes from Roses and others by Ernesto Lecuona arranged for a straight-ahead jazz combo supplemented with Afro-Cuban percussion and with the working title Alan Lewine Xtet: Jazzes for Lecuona.
ANA MARÍA RUIMONTE Alma y Vida de Mujer (Soul and Life of a Woman). Art songs and arias of the 19th – 21st Centuries, accompanied by piano. Owlsong. OWL15111. 2015.
OWLSONG, Owlsong Sampler. Baroque songs, Arias, Soprano Meets Contrabass. Owlsong. OWL14022. 2014.
ANA MARÍA DÍAZ, Arded, Corazón, Arded (Burn, Heart, Burn). Love Songs of the Spanish Baroque, accompanied by baroque guitar and cello. Owlsong. OWL14011. 2014.
COMING SOON IN 2017:
ANA MARÍA RUIMONTE WITH HUBERAL HERRERA, Roses for Lecuona (Rosas Para Ernesto Lecuona). Classic songs by Cuba’s greatest composer of the early 20th Century. Owlsong. 2017.
OWLSONG, Sephardic Treasures (Tesoros Sefardíes). Songs originating in medieval Spain performed by an international ensemble in Alan’s original world music arrangements. Owlsong. 2017.
ANA MARIA RUIMONTE
Ana María Ruimonte known as The Spanish Mezzo&Soprano, trained and worked for many years as a classical and opera singer and now continues to sing while serving as President of Owlsong Productions. Currently based in Philadelphia, Ana María was born and raised in Madrid, Spain where she studied at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música and then obtained her advanced degree in music at Spain’s leading vocal conservatory, the Escuela Superior de Canto. She later obtained the coveted title of “Titulada Superior de Actividades Artísticas - Cantante Contralto” from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
While in Spain, Ana María worked as a mezzosoprano for several years at the Royal Opera at the Teatro Real in Madrid where she performed with many of the world’s biggest stars including Plácido Domingo, Raina Kabaivanska, Edita Gruberova, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Renato Bruson, Dolora Zajick and Luan de Voll. She then performed for several seasons as part of Spain’s National Orchestra and Chorus (OCNE), touring the world under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jesús López Cobos and other conducting luminaries, including notable performances in Nuremburg and at New York’s Lincoln Center. She regularly performed solo recitals around Spain to great acclaim, usually with American pianist Mack Sawyer, then resident pianist at the Teatro Real. During her career in Spain, Ana María maintained a busy recording schedule, being featured on several opera DVDs, frequently appearing on Spanish National Radio (RNE) and television (RTVE) and on several CDs released by Deutsche Grammophon and other European labels. In February 2013, Ana María was a finalist in the XV Concorso Lirico Internazionale Umberto Giordano competition in Lucera, Foggia, Italy, hometown of Umberto Giordano.
While visiting the US on vacation in 2012, Ana María met jazz bassist and composer Alan Lewine when she stopped at a jam session where he held the house bass chair. The pair soon married, Ana María moved to the US, and they continue to make music individually as well as together. As a couple, Ana María and Alan lead an ensemble known as OWLSONG that has developed a unique fusion of jazz, classical, flamenco and other world music traditions and has already performed throughout the US, Europe, Israel and in Cuba. They plan to release their first record together on the Owlsong Productions label in 2017. Ana María has performed throughout Europe, the U.S., Central America, the Caribbean and Israel. Her European tours have included performances in Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. In the US, she has performed locally in notable venues in Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. as well as other venues along the East coast, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. She has also performed in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel, while there further exploring the traditions of Sephardic music which helped inspire the project Sephardic Treasures.
Alan and Ana María toured Europe together in 2015 (then known as Mezzo Meets Bass) developing their unique sound. In 2016, they were invited to perform at Cuba’s international music festival, Cubadisco, and presented three concerts with special guest Cuban musicians, two together as OWLSONG and one of Ana María with Cuba’s piano maestro Huberal Herrera.
In early 2017, Ana María and Alan returned to Cuba to preview Sephardic Treasures (Tesoros Sefardíes) and recorded their upcoming album, Roses for Lecuona (Rosas Para Ernesto Lecuona) with Huberal Herrera in Havana’s Estudio PM Records, with the album set for release in Cuba in May 2017, and the rest of the world soon after. In 2016, Ana María produced and starred in a monthly series of concerts at the National Opera Center of Opera America in New York, known as “Ana María Ruimonte’s Manhattan Series” with the generous collaboration of Asociación de Artistas, Intérpretes y Ejecutantes de España, AIE. Also that year, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. presented Ana María’s The Cart of Love (El Carro de Amor), a multimedia spectacular theatrical production based on the songs of Arded Corazón Arded (Burn, Heart, Burn) as part of the Library of Congress Hispanic Festival. The performance features scripted stories set in various locations in 17th Century Spain enacted by elaborately-constructed puppets, projected art of the period, with supertitled translations and a live baroque ensemble including Alan Lewine playing the cello parts on his bass.
2013 Finalist in the XV Concorso Lirico Internazionale Umberto Giordano competition in Lucera, Foggia, Italy, hometown of Umberto Giordano.
Alan Lewine is a bassist and composer currently living in the Philadelphia region. He founded Owlsong Productions Inc. Lewine has performed and recorded all over the world, besides the U.S., in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Israel, Cuba and Mexico. His musical efforts have explored a wide range of styles, that have included straight-ahead and modern jazz, bebop, swing, dixie, avant garde, blues, bolero, afropop, salsa, samba, as well as contemporary classical, baroque, Balinese gamelan and flamenco-influenced music. His jazz group Red Hot Peppers was the top traditional jazz group in the Southwest US during the latter half of the 80s. He has also recently embarked on explorations of Cuban music and the Spanish medieval Sephardic music tradition with Ana María Ruimonte through their OWLSONG project Sephardic Treasures (Tesoros Sefardíes).
Alan first took up the string bass in 1978. Though he began musical studies on piano at age 6, and later studied composition and arranging with Bill Wood, Scott Wilkinson, Darrell Randall and others, he was never formally trained on the bass but learned primarily by playing. “Most of my early lessons were from pianists or guitarists who would yell at me when I played a wrong chord or drummers like the one who actually once threw his sticks at me when I messed up the beat.”
Alan has worked with many of the great names in jazz over the years, in all styles. Alan met Milt “the Judge” Hinton in 1982, and the Judge became an early principal teacher and mentor. Leroy Vinnegar was also a great mentor and inspiration when they frequently crossed paths through the jazz scene in Portland, Oregon in the early 90s. Lewine has received “green room” lessons, counsel and encouragement from the likes of Ray Brown, Harvie S, Major Holley, Lynn Seaton, John Clayton and Bruce Gertz. Alan made numerous appearances with “alto madness” saxophonist Richie Cole in the 1980s. He has also performed with clarinetists Eddie Daniels and Kenny Davern, sax masters Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan, Les McCann to Henry Threadgill, Jim Pepper and Vinnie Golia, vocalists such as Anita O'Day, Sheila Jordan and Mose Allison, pianists including Ronnie Matthews and George Cables, drummers Gus Johnson, Mickey Roker and Butch Miles, guitarists such as Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis, young turk Roy Hargrove, and old masters like Sweets Edison, Stephane Grapelli and Carl Fontana and many others. Once in the 80s he played duets with Charlie Haden, an experience that made a deep and lasting impression. He composed and performed around Washington D.C., including with the Alan Lewine Xtet, the Afro-Jazz Explosion, Gamelan Mitra Kusuma and as a side man.
Alan’s interest in all forms of musical and cultural expression has also led him to study traditional Ghanaian (Ewe) percussion with Obo Addy in Portland, OR, and Balinese gamelan with I Nyoman Suadin in Washington, D.C. Lewine performed in Suadin's Gamelan Mitra Kusuma playing the jegogan, a midbass xylophone-like instrument around Washington D.C. from 1999 through 2007. He has also worked the last several years with and recorded Never Home, an album of traditional delta and Piedmont blues, with Johnny Never in 2011.
After 16 years as a full-time journeyman jazz bassist, Alan ”dropped out” of the music scene in 1994 to attend law school, and later worked as a technology transactional and policy attorney with one of the world's major cable companies. He recently retired from that sideline and returned his focus to his music from his current base in the Philadelphia region but reaching around the world.
Over a dozen NM-MIC (New Mexico Music Industry Coalition) nominations in the late 1980s for best album (jazz), best composition (jazz), album of the year, best producer (jazz), best cover (jazz), etc.