Mirta’s Art Gallery and Coffeehouse Menu says”Come For The Art, Stay For The Atmosphere”

Lorien Mattiacci

More than 30 people were in Mirta’s Gallery and Coffeehouse on Hyde Park Ave. last week to enjoy the “funky and acoustic” musical sounds of Justin Kline and Mike Copper.

Some were there with their laptops, making good use of the wireless internet provided, while others enjoyed delicious coffee, but it was clear that everyone there wanted to experience the unique sounds of the two.

Kline sings and plays the guitar while Copper accompanies him on the djembe, a type of drum from West Africa. When the venue allows it Mike Melton joins them on the piano. Sophomore Music Major Tommy Becker acted as their “sound guy.”

Kline said that he is inspired by the Beatles and Sublime. While Copper said that he feels that Tito Puente, a Latin percussionist, had an influence on his style, Copper also cited Santana as an influence saying his music is “good stuff.”

The audience members learned of this event from a variety of sources. Victoria Alt, a junior at UT said she first heard the group perform at the Quilt’s Open Mic night. She described the music as laid back and sort of like indie rock. “This is great music to study to,” Alt said.

Christina Sarmiento, a sophomore, said she noticed flyers up around campus. Since she’d seen Kline perform before, she knew that he was good. “I guess I’d say they’re alternative,” Sarmiento declared.

Anastasiya Sepikova, a freshman at Eckerd, who is also Becker’s girlfriend, came with her friends Tiffany Ponte and Carolyn Kenney to support him.

This was Ponte’s first time hearing the group. She said they were really amazing. “The music is very relaxing,” Ponte observed.

Copper said he recalled the night he met his singing companion. “We met at a party, and I thought [Kline] was extremely talented,” admitted Copper.

Kline seems to attract people in general. The senior marketing Major has accumulated an entire entourage including Ryan Louvain, a junior Chemistry major who promotes the group and Advertising junior David Streisand who handles merchandising.

Ashleigh Addison, one of Mirta’s managers, is glad that Kline approached the coffee shop for permission to play. Addison believes this helps the establishment in their mission to get the community involved in art and music.

This is because there is almost always something happening there. Mondays are open mic nights. Tuesdays are for jazz jams. Kline and Copper anticipate performing on Wednesday evenings. Saturday nights belong to Addison’s band Sweetwater Revolver, and a drum circle meets there on Sundays.

In addition to the regular gig at Mirta’s, Kline and Copper play around campus and hope to find more jobs. They are open to parties or events of any kind. “Have drum and guitar and will travel,” Copper proclaimed.

For more information on Kline and Copper, as well as Mirta’s Gallery and Coffeehouse, visit their sites on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/justinkline and http://www.myspace.com/mirtas.

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