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Musician, lyricist, songwriter, and producer, Sean Michael Imler AKA Rhythma, traveled through Europe for over 6 months with his guitar and a 4-track machine-composing, singing, performing, and recording when he was just 21. He began the fusion of his artistic and musical talents in Santa Cruz, California, while he was an art student at UCSC and an African hand drum student of Arthur Hull’s. Heavily influenced by African traditions he became an mbira player, studying with every master from Zimbabwe that came thru the area. He also played marimba for five years with the Kuzanga ensemble. Sean Michael continued to compose music, all the while absorbing and integrating the rich and diverse rhythms of the Santa Cruz World Music scene.

Sean Michael’s influences spring from his youth in Hollywood, where he began playing classical piano at age 8 with the encouragement of his mother, who held band rehearsals in their living room and earned a living wage singing in LA nightclubs. As a teenager, he bought a nylon-string guitar on which he practiced classical music, and demonstrated an early aptitude for fusing diverse styles by learning songs by the Misfits and Minor Threat (and playing these same strings in a punk band). Sean Michael’s influences now range from classical Middle Eastern music to South American and Caribbean derived slave music to the 1980s gothic, punk, and ska that characterize his own Southern California roots.

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