After nearly 15 years of touring together, well over 1000 shows in more than 25 countries, it was time to form our own band.
The Elevator Collective are Chris Church, Nicolas Hernandez, Chendy León and Dennis Mohammed.
We were the live band and featured performers for guitarist Jesse Cook. We toured throughout North America, playing concert venues like the Greek Theatre and Massey Hall, and at festivals around the world, from Montreal to Dubai, Mexico to Poland and Saudi Arabia. Through that experience, a musical brotherhood and chemistry formed between the four of us which continues in this new band. Our sound brings together our vastly different musical backgrounds into a cohesive meeting place. We choose not to put a name on our music. There are elements of flamenco, classical, electronic, rock, pop, folk, jazz, Afro-Cuban and funk. We are currently writing material for an upcoming release and developing our live show. This is a new chapter for us, and we look forward to sharing the journey.
Violin, Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Duduk,
I come from the east coast of Canada, a small city called Halifax in Nova Scotia. I grew up playing and singing in the public school system and decided at the end of high school to pursue a degree in classical music. I got my bachelors from Dalhousie University but also had studied extensively in New York, Boston and Cleveland during the spring and summer semesters. Halifax is a great city for an arts community as it is small enough that everyone knows everyone and you end up being a part of so many diverse projects. I played violin in Symphony Nova Scotia for a long time and was also an arranger for their pops concerts. I played in so many bands in Halifax, for musicals, dance shows, crazy medieval weddings – even did an evening of improvised music with beat poet Allen Ginsberg. I was a part of several avant-garde, jazz and new music projects as well. I really love that city, it had a huge influence on me. I moved to Toronto in 2000 and have played and recorded with many artists like Jesse Cook, Charlotte Church and The Tenors among others. I still arrange for orchestra, most recently for the Crash Test Dummies and Whitehorse. Music keeps me busy and I’ve been lucky to have written and played on lots of TV and movie soundtracks. I’ve had to work on the side during some lean times (see - musician, the dictionary) and I think my most favourite gig was being an ice cream scooper at a restaurant. I had the little hat and everything.
With over 30 years of experience under his fingers, Nicolas’ style has evolved into a distinctive, modern “voice” in the flamenco genre. His debut CD “Buscando mi voz” won a Just Plain Folks Award for Best Flamenco Album in 2009 and his second CD “Rupakerias” was released in 2018. The highlights of his career include sharing a Dora Mavor Moore Award (with Chuscales) for Outstanding Sound Design/Composition Dance in 2015 and sharing a total of 6 nominations in the same category for 6 different productions (with Chuscales and Oscar Lago) between 2007 and 2013. Another highlight was when one of the tunes from his Rupakerias album, “Mociones y Emociones”, was featured in a short film by RealD which was shown at film festivals in the USA and Europe and used as a promotion for RealD’s 3D capabilities for the film industry. Nicolas was the musical director for the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company for over 20 years and toured the world with the Jesse Cook band for 16 years.
ROSENDO CHENDY LEÓN AROCHA
DRUM KIT, PERCUSSION, VOCALS
I have been around music since I was inside my Mom’s belly.
I was born and raised in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba in 1973. I grew up watching and playing most Cuban percussion instruments with my father, Rosendo León Sanchez. I also danced a lot with my mother, Maria J. Arocha Martinez. These two incredible human beings are the most important influences I have had in my life. By age 18 I began my professional career, performing and recording with many Cuban artists such as: Yagrumas Jazz Band, Rodolfo Chacon, Melao Son, Roberto Javier, Rojitas & su Grupo and the Metropolis (band leader 94-98). In 1998 I was given the opportunity to participate in the production of the music for a Cuban documentary, Policlinico Infernal, which was nominated for an Oscar.
In 1999 I migrated to Toronto, Canada where I have collaborated and played with various artists such as: Havana Express, Nick Ali and Cruzao, Eliana Cuevas, Jane Bunnett, Luis Mario Ochoa and Cimarron, Son Ache, Roberto Occhipinti, Ricky Franco & P-Crew Orchestra, Alexis Baro, Amanda Martinez, Cane Fire, Hilario Duran Big Band and Trio, Sultans of String, EESDC, Chris Church, Nicolas Hernandez, Sophie Milman, Alex Cuba, Parachute Club, Jesse Cook, Patricia Cano, Rebecca Bennendyk, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Elmer Ferrer, Joy Lapps, Larnell Lewis and Dominic Mancuso Group. I have also collaborated and played with international artists Paquito D’Rivera and Angelique Kidjo.
I am endorsed by Moperc for percussion instruments and Headhunters for sticks.
Love and Music promoted by common sense and rational thinking is my pursuit in life.
BASS, PERCUSSION, VOCALS
I was born in Toronto to Trinidadian parents. As a child, I learned to appreciate the art of listening to music through my mother’s vinyl record collection. There were no boundaries. Pop hits from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, from Greek bouzouki to Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, disco, Motown, Elvis and calypso. In my early years I explored creativity through visual art, dance and theatre until picking up the bass guitar at 13.
My musical education consisted of countless garage, high school and eventually bar bands, as well as many hours composing and recording on 4-track cassette machines.
I started to tour at age 19 and eventually through word-of-mouth became a session/touring musician. I’m grateful to have worked with many artists both on stage and in the studio, including: Wild Strawberries, Carly Rae Jepsen, Howie Beck, Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), Jason Collett, Kathryn Rose, Spooky Ruben, Danny Michel, Kalan Porter, Chris Staig, Melanie Doane, Jeremy Fisher, Leslie Feist, Mike Evin and Sass Jordan.
Some of my major influences are John Bonham, Béla Bartók, Carlos Castaneda, Steve Reich, Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Vangelis.
“... Music is THE BEST” - Frank Zappa