Ylli brekofca

Accordion / Vocals

Ylli is a true Renaissance man who always found ways of living an exciting, creative and courageous life! During decades living in communist Albania under one of the hardest dictatorships (think North Korea: So hard-core even the USSR had to cut ties with them for fear of what it would do to their image) He survived as a jack of all trades and spent his spare time traveling the country collecting folk songs... when he came to the US he had over 400 Albanian songs written down!
He always used his imagination and incredibly skilled hands to push the envelope of what could be done under a regime so strict that it even outlawed dancing!! ...Making vocal mics out of telephones taken from government offices to building the first electric guitar the country had ever seen! (A 10-string bouzouki)
Last but not least of his impressive feats was coming to live a life in the USA in his late 60s even though he couldn’t speak a word of English!
In fact he didn’t even bring his accordion thinking nobody would want to hear his Albanian repertoire in this country…
But we knew he was so wrong and found him one thanks to Jenny Van West and her organization: Immigrant Music Connection!
To Bondeko, Ylli contributes his decades of knowledge of one of the most intricate folk catalogues, his good humor and unparalleled stamina! 

namory keita


Namory Keita, Master Drummer, is a sought after teacher and performer with a unique style and a wealth of traditional knowledge very rare to find outside the villages of Guinea! 

Namory Keita was born in 1982 in the village of Sangbarala, Guinea. At age 7 he began drumming, becoming the lead drummer for his village in 2006.

Members of his family are well-known drummers. His brothers, Solo Keita, living in Japan, and Nansady Keita, in England, grew up drumming with Namory under the tutelage of his uncle, Famoudou Konate, one of the most famous West African drummers in the world.

He is a featured artist on recordings by Solo Keita, Billy Konate and Diarra Konate to name a few.

As an international teacher and performing artist, Namory has been invited to many places to share his culture including Germany, Poland, France, Canada, and Portugal. Since coming to America in 2010, he has played with Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Bolokada Conde, Moussa Traore, Mamady Kourouma and the list goes on.

Namory plays for the world renowned West African dance teacher Youssouf Koumbassa, the Kouraba Festival in Canada, Cirque Zuma Zuma, ILAP, and many other noted musicians and venues throughout New England and the US and abroad.


Ray Sapirstein

euphonium, cornet and trombone

Ray was born in NYC and moved to Maine in 2001 from Austin, TX. He has been a session and touring player, writing horn arrangements on trumpet, baritone, and valve trombone, for more than 40 years. He has played in a great variety of genres, including latin, jazz, and indie pop as a member of The Wayfarers, A Don Piper Situation, The Poison Tree, Balthrop, Alabama, The Hadacol Bouncers, and El Malo, among others. He is also a historian, professor, and writer.

His mom was an unaccompanied child refugee from Nazi Germany via Houston, Texas, and his father was born the son of an undocumented migrant. All of his grandparents were immigrants. The majority of his relatives live in Mexico City, where his great grandparents settled. He identifies with the immigrant experience and with Jewish and Mexican American cultures.