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Small Town World plays 1st big gig Thursday at Chief Theater

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today
Small Town World is Steamboat's newest band and it will play its first gig at the Chief Theater Thursday night. The band includes singer Solange Guenier Chambers,Willie Samuelson, on bass, Cary Kamperschroer, on percussion, and Randy Kelley, on guitar.
Courtesy Photo

If you go:

What: Small Town World

When: Doors/bar at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Tickets: $10 at chieftheater.com or All That

Some songs Small Town World will play:

"La Vie en Rose" (Edith Piaf)

"I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl" (Nina Simone)

"Gimme Shelter" (Rolling Stones)

"Ne me Quittes Pas" (Jacques Brel)

"Quiereme Mucho" (Gonzalo Roig)

— Solange Guenier Chambers has lived in Cuba, France, Switzerland, London and New York City, is trilingual and has spent much of her career on tour — a dance step or two down the stage from Tina Turner, Destiny’s Child and Cher. She’s won two gold medals in ballet and jazz at the Swiss national championships, appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres and performed at Super Bowl XXXIV.

Now, she’s living full time in Steamboat Springs with a husband and daughter and teaches at Elevation Dance Studio. Her new band is called Small Town World, and its first big gig is Thursday at the Chief.

“We don’t really like to call it world music, because it evokes a certain style,” Guenier Chambers said. “We like to describe it as retro, older songs of the world.”

For the Chief show, the band plans to cover Nina Simone, the Rolling Stones, Edith Piaf and Gonzalo Roig, among others.

Alongside Guenier Chambers will be local musicians Willie Samuelson, on bass, Cary Kamperschroer, on percussion, and Randy Kelley, on guitar.

Samuelson has played jazz, contemporary Christian rock, jam rock, classic rock and bluegrass, most often in Steamboat but as far as Zurich, Switzerland for the International Country Music Festival.

Kamperschroer has composed for, conducted and performed with percussion ensembles, rock bands and marching bands, has studied drumming — djembe, dununs and balafon — with master musicians across West Africa, studied the influence of African music on Latin America and has played with several salsa and Afro-Cuban bands.

Kelley has toured internationally with several groups and taught the Suzuki method of guitar and studied fiddle in Scotland.

“I feel very grateful to play with such gifted musicians,” Guenier Chambers said. “I’ve traveled the world before with the biggest names, and I am incredibly grateful to be sharing the stage with these guys.”

Before the start of Small Town World, Guenier Chambers, Kelley and Kampershroer had been part of a local seven-piece, Afro-Cuban jazz band called Caliente, which separated about a year and a half ago.

“We have a different focus than Caliente did,” Kelley said. “Small Town World is more focused on Solange’s vocals and pulls from a lot wider variety of cultures.”

Small Town World began forming early this year. The group’s name is representative of its location and its repertoire.

“We are trying to find a link between being in a small town in the middle of nowhere and playing music from everywhere,” Guenier Chambers said. “The main goal with this music is to bring the world to Steamboat, to bring world culture to this place that’s so beautiful and wonderful but isolated.

“It’s one way to travel,” she said. “It’s the idea of being taken on a journey.”

Guenier Chambers, who was born in Cuba and raised in France, noted that not traveling as much as she used to can be difficult.

“I really thought that this project would keep me closer to both homes,” she said.

When the musicians rehearse each week, the songs from across the planet take them on a journey across the planet as well.

“It’s really essential,” she said, “especially when it’s cold and snowing.”


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