“Hei” from the winter wonderland of Helsinki, Finland! I’m here with three Berklee students who are making the most of their experience as part of the Close Encounters Festival this week. The Samantha Schultz Trio, led by Samantha Schultz (vocals, guitar) with Alexander Toth (bass) and Charles “Trey” Macias (hand percussion) represent Canada and the US for this week-long event promoting international musical exchange. They are joined by bands from our Berklee International Network partner schools the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory (who are hosting and producing the event), Helsinki Metropolia University, and France’s Music Academy International, along with student bands from the Helsinki Conservatory, Sibelius Academy, and the Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg.
Monday night was the trio’s first gig, during which they performed a five-song set of Samantha’s originals to an enthusiastic audience of over 100 people at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory’s Arabia Hall. Here they are performing “On the Sidelines”:
Up next for our Berklee crew? A gig tonight at the Caisa cultural center (where the program also includes fellow Berklee student and Pop & Jazz alum Anni Mattila), and then we head to St. Petersburg tomorrow for a gig at the JFC jazz club. More to come! In the meantime, you can check out additional footage of the Samantha Schultz Trio and the rest of the artists at the Close Encounters Youtube page.