Trinidelphia has been pleasing audiences with their distinct combination of Caribbean and American styles for over a decade, after meeting in Philadelphia in 2005. Fusing Trinidadian Soca and Calypso with Latin Jazz, Reggae, Salsa, and American top-40, they have developed a sound all their own. Their unique and rhythmic arrangements of jazz and popular songs cast the steelpan in fresh new light, pushing the stylistic and artistic boundaries of an often type-cast instrument. Fronted by Steel Drummer/Trumpeter Chris Aschman and Lead Vocalist/Percussionist Shawn Hennessey, they are complemented by the dynamic rhythm section of Ian Rafalak on bass and Matt Chenery on drumset/vocals. As freelance musicians in their own right, they have performed with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, Paquito D'Rivera, Bill Withers, Stanley Clarke, Guster, Teena Marie, Joe Piscopo, Jeffry Iqbar, Andy Narell, Lotus, The O'Jays, Wayne Brady, Justin Guarani, and Melody Gardot, and at venues ranging from Philadelphia's Verizon Hall, the Blue Note in New York, and the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain Trinidad. Through the years, Trinidelphia has performed over 750 times at festivals, concerts, restaurants, jazz clubs, beach bars, private events, weddings, and other functions across 8 US states.
Their 2013 self-titled release captures their unique blend of Caribbean/American fusion. From their mixing of neo-soul, jazz, and afro-beat on D'Angelo's "Spanish Joint," their playful ska rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire," to more traditional arrangements of classic Trini songs like "Pan Rising" and "Pan in A Minor," their debut album summarized the group's mission in 9 polished tracks.
Since this release, the band has delved deeper into the folkloric traditions behind their instruments. In 2015 Chris made the switch from the common C tenor pan to a low G tenor pan, and has twice ventured to Trinidad for Carnival to perform at Panorama with the Supernovas Steel Orchestra of Surrey Village. These journeys spurred a new set of original songs and arrangements, influenced by the steel orchestra "engine rooms," or rhythm sections. He also began to incorporate influences beyond his experiences with jazz, adding notes of bluegrass and folk music to their sound from his experience with this music as a child. Shawn has made musical pilgrimages to Ghana, Cuba, and Brazil, deepening his spiritual growth and further developing his sense of clave. Through his study of Afro-Cuban styles coupled with his love for American folk writers like Paul Simon and Neil Young, he has been fine tuning a truly unique songwriting style that further adds to the group's blend.
Trinidelphia released its second full-length record, "Color Wheel," during the Summer of 2019. This dynamic album featured half originals and half interpretations of popular songs, and stylistically touches the genres of salsa, bluegrass, steelband, latin jazz, calypso, and American folk, all while using Trinidad's steelpan art form as a foundation. Since it's release, the band has continued through the Covid era with a series of intricate remote music videos and arrangements, and is excited to discover what 2021 has to offer!