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About

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The Recording Artist

Geraldine Espino has always lived life to different rhythm. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, her wanderlust would lead her around the world - from DC to NYC to Italy to Mexico to Argentina and so many places in between... She currently lives in Austin, TX. 

 

Espino was first introduced to Jack Kerouac in high school, which opened up her eyes to a different way of seeing the world. She longed to be a dharma bum, to roam from place to place, keeping everything sacred. 

 

While she strived on an intellectual level to understand these deep concepts rooted in zen buddhism, what struck her most was the authentic nature of the texts and the struggle of adopting eastern philosophy in the western world as one integrates it in the catholic faith. 

 

Over the years, Kerouac’s struggle was her struggle and she grew to understand the concepts of emptiness and awakedness. Kerouac served as a gateway to another way of explaining the events of the universe. 

 

From there, she expanded her world to include taoism, buddhism and stoicism, existing right alongside her catholic upbringing. These words are just words and some things are out of word reach. Every religion or philosophy has a language to describe the same world — all concepts are valid and exist intertwined with each other. 

 

So what is Espino now? It’s out of word reach … a little bit of this and a little bit of that because there is no one way to explain the world or one doctrine to follow. The idea of labeling oneself is more detrimental than helpful to the person self-identifying. There is no word to describe this — modern beatnik, at best.

 

The concepts of the void and no-thing also rang true, featured often in Kerouac’s work. The void is the space all around us, quite literally. It is empty space that we are cutting through… but the catch of it all is that we are mostly empty space. So this world is not as solid as we think, it’s not as objective. What is seen, heard, tasted, smelled and felt requires an observer. We are observers. We create this world through the perceptions of the body and filtered through the mind. There is only a sky because I am looking at the sky.  

Creating The Music

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The music of No Thanks, Man was borne out of nothingness…of silence. There was no goal, there was just an internal musical compass that wandered up and down the keys until there was sound. From that sound became music and every layer revealed itself after the one before. It was like following a road map where you can only see the next leg in front of you… you don’t know where you’re going or how long it will take… 

 

Instruments were selected like colors on palette. Using virtual instruments allowed Espino to select from an array of colors instead of relying on the same primary choices. Every song is a little bit different, but some common threads remain… pitched percussion, deep vocals and the form of popular music

 

It’s difficult to categorize this music… it’s little bit of this and a little bit of that…just like Espino herself. How do you capture every sound that one person has ever heard? There are times for taking in sounds and times for putting them out. For decades Espino took in music and sound until one day the cup spilled over and there was so much music inside that it would come out every single morning. 

 

In the mornings, she would just play freely… only listening to the voice or melody that just seemed to flow one note after the other. In many ways, she believes that it is God speaking through her. That when she sits down she has no goals or ideas for songs to hash out. It’s just flowing. Where else could this music appear from? 

 

At nighttime, she would sing whatever came into her mind to fill the void. And there’d always be this moment in which the tune from the night would somehow fit with the music of the morning. That’s when the real work came in — so perhaps that’s why in the afternoons the real work happened… in the afternoons when the morning and night were edges of reality and the detailed compositional work would be free. 

 

What followed is an authentic musical expression that transcends classification. No genre, no gender, no race… No thanks, Man.

Marimba &
Pitched Percussion

Playing the Marimba

The work of No Thanks, Man is rooted in pitched percussion, highlighting the marimba in particular, and is heavily influenced by the many years spent working as a lead sound engineer at PASIC.  

Espino studied Music Theory and Composition at the University of Maryland, where she first fell in love with pitched percussion. She spent countless hours playing her roommate’s marimba and really opened up her ears to what the instrument could do. 

 

This passion was later re-ignited when she found herself working as a lead sound engineer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Espino had the pleasure of working with many percussion ensembles and international artists, introducing her to other world instruments as well. 

 

As Espino worked with hundreds of artists over the years at PASIC, she deepened her understanding of dynamics, overtones and spatial imaging. Taking these musical ideas back home, she then created a sound that is both true to popular music and true to pitched percussion.

Instead of guitar and piano, expect to hear marimba, vibraphone, kalimba and other world percussion instruments. No Thanks, Man hopes to introduce the marimba to a mainstream audience by expanding the role of pitched percussion in popular music. 

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