Lili Anel- To The Point

Originally published 9/11/10

Philadelphia has been home to  Lili Anel for the past six years. The guitarist in Anel reflects a deep understanding of how the instrument and the voice mix to create a moment in time for the listener. That moment is evident in her fifth CD, Every Second In Between. “This recording is from a very creative time for me” Lili reveals.  Lili was born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx but Philly is lucky to have her now. Lili has Seven CD’s to her credit.

Coming from a Cuban-Africian American background Anel listened to everything that came her way through both cultures. Her influences vary and admits that Joan Armatrading, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Richie Havens have had a huge influence on her playing. When compared to some of the people that have had an impact Anel takes it as a complement. On her  European release Life or Death CD Anel was given permission by the publisher to cover the Joan Armatrading song Down to Zero  having the fee’s waved for the use of the song because they loved her rendition.

Lili went right to the Point in Bryn Mawr when she started to gig in Philadelphia. She knew that Joni, Bruce, and even Joan Armatrding played there in their early days, back when it was The Main Point.  Sadly she was informed that were closing in a few weeks. She was able to play at one of their last open mics. Lili is a power and a name that easily can be placed next to the greats that she admires and has been influenced by.

Anel is currently a finalist in the Mountain Stage New Song contest with her song, Supposed To Be. “There is so much talent in the North East region of this country, just that I am in the top ten is an honor for me” states Lili. The winners of this contest will be announced in September with shows following in New York. Lili has gigs coming up at World Cafe Live, Kennett Flash and The Birchmere in Alexandria VA. To keep up with Lili Anel check out her website at

Phil Romeo – Guitarcity

Guitarcity is the first release from native Philadelphian Phil Romeo. Born and raised in South Phily, Masters in music education from Temple University, Guitarcity will hopefully bring well deserved recognition to this musician.

Romeo’s first release has eleven tracks of which Penn’s Landing opens the CD. The tune was also the initial inspiration behind this first CD. “I love riding my bike through the city at night, I was walking with my bike on Penn’s landing one night and there was a really cool vibe going on and the  melody started running through my head. I couldn’t get home fast enough to write it down” Phil recalls. Romeo’s spoken thoughts about his music are organized as well as his music, each line bringing the perfect transition into the next note culminating in a perfect cadence.

Sitting down with Phillip and his wife Barbara in their south Philadelphia home to talk about his CD over cappuccino and Barbra’s biscotti gives this witness a visual image behind the inspirations for Guitarcity. The kindness and love in the lyrics on the 7th track, For my Girl is exhibited as I watch both Phil and Barbra interact. The personal side of Romeo’s life are the notes played on his guitar for us to hear.

Lyrics aside, the skill, technique and ideas in his playing are flawless. When asked why he never went out to try to “make it in music” Phil points to a family portrait next to his piano and proudly states, “because I always wanted to have a family”.

Romeo plays guitar, bass, percussion, harmonica, soprano recorder, and vocals. Backing Phil is Steve Tanzer on flute. While the commercial use of his music isn’t what Phil is striving for, the track that inspired the CD would be a perfect soundtrack for an advertising campaign for Philadelphia tourism with the closing line, I’m Mayor Michael Nutter and this is Philadelphia.

Christopher Farrell-Rit Mo Collective

Working as the Artist in Residence for Temple University’s School of Dance has given Rit Mo Collective founder Christopher Farrell another outlook and approach for his compositions.  Farrell an adjunct professor at Temple University founded Rit Mo Collective in 2005 and released their first CD Arianna’s Thread in 2008.  Farrell is currently working on a new CD.

Farrell explained that in addition to his newly developed understanding of rhythm for dance adaptation, a large influence on his music has also been guitarist Robert Fripp’s, new standard tuning. Rit Mo Collective’s shows are a mixture of material from Farrell’s first CD, which the composer describes as Avante Garde Americana and of course his new material. Farrell further states that the first CD is reflective of his influences from chamber music. His newer material is more cinematic and funky with a lot of time signature changes in the compositions.

While his arsenal of strings includes: banjo, bass, Chinese Ruan, Zhong and the mandolin, Farrell’s compositions are written on the guitar. The mandolin is particularly close to his heart owing to the fact that the strings are tuned in fifths, which is close to the new standard tuning that he loves to work within.

Rit Mo Collective will perform at Silk City on Wednesday August 18, 2010. The doors open at 8:00PM. Silk City is located on the corner of 5th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia.  Joining  Rit Mo for the evening will be Hang Drummer Dante Bucci.