world music ensemble

(photos by Alan Turkus, unless otherwise credited)

The Robert Everest Expedition is a Minneapolis-based Latin American and Mediterranean influenced world music ensemble whose music ranges from French blues to Brazilian funk, Spanish flamenco to Italian folk, Cuban Son to West African Agbadja, and several original compositions in many different musical styles and languages. This music cannot be classified, and therein lies the magic that the audience experiences. Bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Robert Everest has studied and performed in several countries including Brazil, Spain, Italy, Ecuador, France, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, and Ghana and Togo, West Africa. His degree work in linguistics and over 30 years of experience with foreign languages allow him to faithfully interpret a vast and multi-lingual international repertoire. The musicians who join him in this ensemble are united by their exploration into world music and their constant hunger to grow individually and as a group. All of them are involved in a wide variety of musical endeavors, and the Robert Everest Expedition is an attempt to integrate many of the far-reaching interests of these eclectic musicians into one ensemble. After an evening of music with this group many audience members feel they have been around the world and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride!

Pulitzer prize winning author/journalist Sonia Nazario, on a promotion visit for her bestseller Enrique's Journey:
"One of the aspects of the event that I was most pleased with was how well the musicians tailored their
performance to the book and how much the music added to the event." - April, 2015

Videos from the Twin Cities Jazz Festival - 2012

Original Salsa - Pensando en ti

Original North African - Leaving Morocco

Italian Swing - Via Con Me

German Jazz - Mackie Messer (Mack the Knife)

Robert Everest is a musician, singer, and songwriter whose ravenous appetite for the music of the world will never allow him to be confined to any one particular style. A native Minnesotan, he was first introduced to the piano at age 5, and at age 12 he acquired his first guitar, which remains his primary instrument, although he still composes and performs on piano, as well as many stringed instruments from around the world, including mandolin, Cuban tres, Andean charango, Brazilian cavaquinho, and Indian sitar. Robert has been a featured artist on many local radio and television stations, including KBEM, KFAI, MPR, KARE11, and WCCO Television.

Though mostly self-taught, Robert has studied jazz guitar in Minneapolis, classical guitar in Portugal, flamenco in Spain, Tango in Argentina, and many other styles of music throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. He has also toured extensively, performing in many cities/countries around the world including Budapest, Florence, Madrid, Togo, Rio De Janeiro, Nicaragua, Buenos Aires, Paris, Ghana, Ecuador, and the U.K. His vocal technique has developed through many years of singing and instruction, including four years with the University of Minnesota Jazz Singers. During the last 25 years Robert’s second life calling has been foreign language. With a degree in linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and many travels and studies in Latin America and Europe, Robert has become fluent in several romance languages, which he brings to the stage in the songs he performs.

Robert is a dedicated full-time musician, performing an average of 3-4 times per week, rehearsing, teaching, managing several ensembles, and recording. He has recorded three solo CDs of music from Latin America and around the world, which have received national radio play and taken him to many international tour destinations. He has also recorded with his Brazilian group, Beira Mar Brasil, with which he directs the biggest annual Brazilian Event in the Twin Cities - Carnaval Brasileiro. Robert has been dreaming of having a far-reaching original world music ensemble for many years, and upon meeting the other members in this group, this dream has become a reality.

Born in Hong Kong, Peter Shu has toured nationally as a performer, producer, educator, and clinician. He studied at the University of Minnesota and North Central University, where he graduated with a B.S. in music. His post-graduate studies were with piano greats Bobby Peterson, Adi Yeshaya, and Nachito Herrera.

photo by Robert Everest 
Peter has performed in every major venue in the Minneapolis / St.Paul metropolitan area including the Orpheum Theatre, the State Theatre, Orchestra Hall, the Walker Art Center, the Artist's Quarter, the Dakota Jazz Club, Target Center, and the Metrodome. He has shared the stage with Esther Godinez, Michael Bland and Sonny Thompson of Prince's New Power Generation, the Lettermen, the Ronny Loew Band, Steve Milar and the Diamondheads, Big Bob Skaggin, Gary Berg, Bobby Peterson, Billy Holloman, Doug Little, Jim Anton, and Dean Magraw. Peter has also performed in the Twin Cities Jazz Festival with Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera.
Peter's current and recent performance roster includes Dizzy (vocal jazz), Rubix (jazz/fusion), Charanga Tropical, Seven Steps to Havana, the Chino Latino Jazz Project (Latin jazz), Tropical Zone, K-Libre 24, La Gran Charanga (salsa), Sangre Común (salsa/merengue/cumbia/bachata), Sonora Café (cumbia), Heart of the City (world worship), Ryan Daniel and the Spirit of David (hip hop), Mick Sterling and the Irresistibles (R&B/soul), MVP (R&B/Pop), and we were very excited to welcome Peter in 2010 as the newest addition to the Robert Everest Expedition! 

  Michael Bissonnette, originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts, has been studying drum set and percussion for over 30 years. After receiving a music degree in 1983, he moved from Massachusetts to California, where he performed at Tibbies' Music Hall in Huntington Harbor from 1984 to 1990, and played drums at Knotts' Berry Farm's Can-Can Show for six and a half years. During this time Michael met Canyon Recording Artist Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, who taught him about the music and musical instruments of ancient Mexico. Subsequently, Michael learned how to make many different types of indigenous percussion instruments, began to collect instruments from all over the world, and energetically dove into many different styles of world music.

Other musical ventures in California included participation in the musical performances of the Orange County High School of the Arts, and two summers with the Starview Residential Facility in Torrance. During this time he worked with severely emotionally disturbed children ages 9 to 17. Through Michael’s facilitation of drum circles at Starview, the students developed team-working skills, and improved focusing abilities and self-esteem.

In 1999 Michael’s marriage brought him to Minneapolis, where he continues to perform, record, teach percussion and drum set lessons, and facilitate community drum circles in the Minneapolis area. He can be seen performing with Katie McMahon, the original voice of Riverdance, and other great local musicians such as Laura Mackenzie, Heart of the City, and Glen Helgeson. Some of the percussion instruments that Michael plays include the berimbau, cuica, and pandeiro from Brazil; the doumbec from the Middle East; the djembe, log drums and caxixi from Africa; the Irish bodhran; the Aztec Death Whistle, the American drum set, and spoons. Michael and Robert met in September 2002 while performing in the Latin Renaissance concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

photo by Robert Everest
During fifteen years of drumming, Andrew Artz has won numerous awards for both performance and composition. While still in high school, he won the prestigious Outstanding Soloist Award from the International Association of Jazz Educators at the 1995 Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival in Duluth, MN. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in both Electrical & Computer Engineering and Philosophy, Andrew was also very active in the Pittsburgh music scene. Soon after arriving to CMU, he established himself as the Fine Arts department's "first call" for musical productions, and by the end of his time in Pittsburgh he had played for nearly every local college, university, and theatre group.
He studied under Paul Evans, Eric Kloss, and Dave Pellow. After college, Andy worked as a show drummer and music director for Celebrity Cruises, and now resides in Saint Paul. He has worked as a guest artist and instructed jazz combo classes at Hamline University, and is a drum set clinician for area schools and churches. Andy is presently performing with world music artist Robert Everest, variety band Trish & The North Shore Drive (TNSD), jazz quartet Chill 7, and the acclaimed Stan Bann Big Band. Through his career on land and sea, he's backed up many national and international performing artists, including Claudia Acuna, Barry Danelian, Mark Preston, and Jack Walker. Locally, he has also worked with the Jerry O'Hagen Big Band, the Twin Cities Jazz Orchestra, and Robby Vee.

Pete Whitman, arranger, composer and saxophonist, has been an active member of the Minneapolis/St. Paul jazz scene for the past twenty years. He has performed with such distinguished ensembles and musicians as the Minnesota Orchestra, Jack McDuff, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the JazzMn Big Band, and is the leader of the Minneapolis based jazz sextet Departure Point. Whitman has recorded extensively as a sideman and has three CDs out under his name: Departure Point on Igmod Records, The Sound of Water and Where's When, both on Artegra. His latest CD, Where's When, features the X-tet, a ten piece ensemble led by Whitman which was named
among the top 20 best locally produced CDs by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune and received a four star rating by Downbeat Magazine. Pete has been playing with Robert for the last few years and helps out generously with some of the horn arrangements. He also teaches saxophone, improvisation and arranging at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Gus Lindquist was born back in February of 1976 in the beautiful city of Duluth, MN. He started his musical education at 6 with piano lessons. However, by 8th grade, he had picked up the trumpet, and has been hooked ever since. Gus went to college at Gustavus Adolphus College (no, not because of the name) and double majored in physics and music and studied with Dr. Stephen Wright. After college, he became a software developer, but freelanced on the trumpet more and more. In the spring of 2002, gus joined Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra. Ever since, when not on tour with Lorie, gus is in town freelancing and making music with many of the best groups and organizations in town. Below is a list of just a few of the groups you might catch him with!
Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra, Norman Leyden Big Band, Steve Wright Big Band, Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Steve Millar and Diamondhead, Klezmer And All That Jazz!, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Guthrie LAB, Children's Theater Company, Minnesota Valley Chorale Orchestra, Gloria Dei Brass, Mount Olivet Brass, St. Peter Sommerfest Orchestra, and of course, the Robert Everest Expedition!

photo by Robert Everest
Dan Arlig was born in Springfield, Missouri and started playing viola 9 years old. He studied Double bass performance at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Cecil McBee. Dan graduated with honors in String Instrument Repair from Minnesota State College - SE Technical; Red Wing, MN; studied with Lisbeth Nelson-Butler. He also has a degree in Violin Making and Restoration from North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA. Dan studied there with Kevin Kelly, David Polstein & Thomas Hummel. Dan currently lives and works in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and performs regularly as a multi-instrumentalist with several ensembles around the Twin Cities Area, playing various musical styles.
Dan is proud to be a member of The Violin Society of America, and has played with the Robert Everest Expedition since 2006.

photos by R. Everest

photos by Bryan Aaker
Other musicians who have performed with the Robert Everest Expedition include pianist Marco Sambrotta, bassists Jocko MacNelly and Tony Axtell, who, along with Peruvian percussionist, Chico Chávez, and Prairie Home Companion veteran violinist, Gary Schulte, are featured on the self-titled CD released in 2006.
Cellist Anna Vazquez, who has played with Robert in duo and trio settings, joined us for our January 2009 performance at the Dakota Jazz Club.
We are all very grateful for the wonderful musicians that have been so instrumental in the formation and development of this ensemble - Thank you!

The Robert Everest Expedition
can be hired for club dates, music festivals, wedding receptions,
restaurant entertainment, corporate events, and house parties. Go to the Contact page to inquire about
booking the Robert Everest Expedition.

Check the performance calendar for upcoming public shows.

click below for archived info about the CD Release - January, 2007

Sample tracks from the
Robert Everest Expedition
CD can be heard
at - please click on link below


The original Robert Everest Expedition in 2005: Tony Axtell, Marco Sambrotta, Michael Bissonnette, and Robert

Lyrics for all songs from CD

1. into you
music/lyrics ©2002 robert everest

sun on the river
magic on the mississippi
really makes you feel alive, child
a kiss from a lady
is more than I could ever hope for
it’s something I can only dream of

‘til it’s time

time to lose the chains
I’m lost inside my mind
open up my life
and take me into you
thinking I have been a safehouse
and wondering why I’m falling down
i can’t even see the morning 'til I’m looking back
and questioning the daylight
please tell me when you’re comin’ 'round

then it’s time

time to let the tears
flow right down my face
i’ll let them run like rain
‘cause rain it cleans the skies
making room for blue
tear off my disguise
and take me into you
‘cause that’s what makes me feel alive
really makes me feel alive
that’s what makes me feel alive
really makes me feel

like it’s time

time to say goodbye
to all that’s been a lie
yet none of it’s in vain
you needed to arrive
it’s where your life rings true
your heart is open wide
now take me into you
2. pensando en tí
music ©2003 marco sambrotta/robert everest
lyrics ©2003 robert everest

que decisión tuve que tomar
la noche que te dejé
tu sabes amor que fue por tu bien
pues no lograbas dejar me a mí
entonces yo me fuí al final
de tus brazos donde encontraba la paz
y tus manos tiernas que me acariciaban
ya no volverán a tocarme jamás

y así paso las noches
desde que yo me fuí
abrazado por ella
y pensando en tí

y tu mirada fue grabada
en mi mente para siempre
y me rogabas que te dejara
llorando lágrimas de pena
entonces yo me fui al final
de tus brazos donde encontraba la paz
y tus manos tiernas que me acariciaban
ya no volverán a tocarme jamás

y así paso las noches
desde que yo me fuí
abrazado por ella
y pensando en tí

tu eres la verdadera
mujer de mi vida
ya no puedo mas así
y no hay nadie
igual a tí

3. window in your wall
music /lyrics ©1996 robert everest

you could tell me things
that only one of us can understand
or you could try to get
beyond the things that make it feel that way
but I would have to say
i'd rather search for pebbles than for sand

in the end
why do these situations
come around again
i wonder how did i
ever get caught up in you
i try
to make a window in your wall

if it seems i'm trying to run away
it's only 'cause there's fear
for even though you mean the world to me
it's hard for me to see
when you'd rather be a world away
and when you must be here with me

it's so insane
how can these situations
bring back the pain
of something years away
you push the tears away
and try to find the window in your wall

i keep waiting for the day
when i can read your mind
until that day i'll be the minotaur
who's lost inside your maze
for all i've got to lose is time

when will that solution
come into view
it's just that i can't make
lightness out of dark
and in your blinded hall
there's got to be a window in your wall

4. morning glory
music/lyrics © 1998 robert k. everest

there was a wall of morning glory
blue as the bluest sky
and she said “tell me another story or i will die”
words of wisdom come and go
they buzz around like flies
but from the heart this story knows no lies

once there was a restless man
in spite of all his charms
for he was destined to be where the others could see
instead of in his lover’s arms

in the meantime
in the meantime he keeps changing his mind
in the meantime
in the meantime he keeps changing his mind

this love was warm and bright
just right at times
though troubled from the start
and it was cold and dark in matthews park
the night she finally lost his heart

through the following days he found himself in a bind
with no warning came the signs
the last thing on his mind was a romantic find
but romance doesn’t mind the time

in the meantime
in the meantime he keeps changing his mind
in the meantime
in the meantime he keeps changing his mind

on and on grew this new love
deep and wide
some day soon he’ll ride

in the meantime...

some day soon he’ll ride

5. eyes of a thousand dreams
music /lyrics ©1996 robert everest

if i told you how much you do for me would you still be carefree?

if i were to tell you that you've got me in a trance, that i love the way you move,
that i love the way you dance, that the fragrance of your hair is a wondrous thing to share
would you still confide in me that lovely breath of your fresh air?

only you fill me with hope for new life and i can't begin to understand yet i know there's something
i'm still searching for how to share with you the way my heart becomes a full moon bursting .
with the light of the sun. and you are the one who makes me melt like flaming ice .
inside the warmth of your embrace. i could never leave this place.

mas por que você não vem pra ca
e eu fico sozinho só porque eu não sei
como te contar que eu estou louco por você
como te contar que eu estou louco por você
mas por que você não vem pra ca
e eu fico sozinho só porque eu não...

say that you'll stay 'til the day breaks
smile and away fall all my heartaches
laugh and fill my life like only you can
with those eyes that make me dream of your love

6. the whales
music/lyrics ©1997 robert everest

three generations back in time
in a distant countryside
lived a family with a different mind
one that wandered far and wide
a thousand farmers had some troubling times
short of land and short of wine
so they joined the group with travelling signs
holding steadfast to their pride
eleven children lived their lives
of the original fourteen
these children had the fullest eyes
of everything they'd seen

and when they crossed the ocean blue it took a long time
to start a life anew and feel the sunshine
and now you think it's such a big deal when you sacrifice
something so small
offer me the whole and i'll just take a slice
the dealer takes all
pan for love in the stream of life
you try and try with all your might
you're only half way
open up your eyes and let that special someone realize
st. valentine's day
and the whales come...

look to the past - their wild imagination. you'll never last
living life this way. brush back the tears
this hopeless situation fades with the years
now make way for the whales
here come the whales...

when watching white whales we wade while we wait
wondering which way we'll wander
wanda's willowing westward watching waterfalls wilting
wallowing willy wonders why willy-nilly

7. sand (instrumental)
8. change of soul
music/lyrics ©1998 robert k. everest

life: it's like a rainbow - the rain reveals the dream
you stop to watch the sun glow, but sun can't stop the stream
looking through the old files, the closet holds the key
forgotten love and old smiles, come and set me free

big tears in this town for things that couldn't last
i move for a mistrial for all that's in the past

same thing as always - life laughs at me
i try to shake my tall ways, i'm living in a tree
and looking down on your house makes me feel a king
but losing sleep for your love just isn't happening

big tears from this clown - life laughs at me
i move for a mistrial for all i couldn't see

looking back on my life i put today on hold
'cause through a change in my life i'll find my pot o' gold
through a change of soul
9. five days in zurich (instrumental)
10. gifts
music/lyrics ©2004 robert k. everest

why do i hinge my well-being on a woman
when what i need is me for real?
seems i'm always falling in and out of loving
and it's about time i got to the heart of the deal
long ago i feared i would never know
the sheer dazzling story of the glory of the gifts i've received
i think of the precious angel in my arms
as i lay waiting for the monent i can share with her all i conceal

so i try to reach out when it's time to reach inside
and find the wise and peaceful man i long to be
and i don't know how long i can hold up
and be strong in this world without a girl
to make me feel real.

so sweet are the times when you feel you've
finally found the one who'll make you settle down
imagining a lifelong adventure of dreams
then somehow the feelings don't pan out
and you're reeling, thinking how, in love,
things are rarely as they seem

so you try to reach out when it's time to reach inside
and find your way to the peaceful life you long to lead
and you don't know how long you can hold up
and be strong in this world. in this whirlwind it's so hard to see
now i try...'cause now it's time...
11. woodland
music/lyrics ©1995 robert everest

twilight night unfolds and we dance through the fireflies
in our little woodland by the pond and i can't believe that
i'm here by your side it's too good to be true and yet
we two really hold the golden scroll they all want to look at

then we take a walk you take my hand i hold you close and yet i can't believe that you're mine
life's a lonely road then you appear and you come near please say you'll never leave and time

will show that this love is too strong to be here and gone
it's the kind of thing the angels bring when you're true to your dreams
times when you're by my side and times when you're miles away
have shown i can't doubt you live without you hang on for dear life

then we take a walk you take my hand i hold you close and yet i can't believe that you're mine
life's a lonely road then you appear and you come near please say you'll never leave my side

how much i love a woodland high
with you i touch the sky
and life is a dream a silver stream
with you floating by and off we fly

day breaks glowing sunrise check out all them dragonflies
in pairs never parting always starting some kind of new life
you fish break the surface two big frogs sink them lily pads
birds sing of our new love theis is true love what else could it be?
12. into you (reprise) (instrumental)