Ophelia Handberry
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Ophelia Handberry

Bethel, CT | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | SELF

Bethel, CT | SELF
Established on Jan, 1996
Band Jazz World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"~The Chicago Star~"

"This expressive pianist can go from the hot and jazzy to the tranquil, contemplative
tracks. Ophelia marries the sounds of Jazz, Classical, New-Age and Contemporary music.
Ophelia is a wiz at the piano." -The Chicago Star-

- ~The Chicago Star~

"Wind and Wire"

Wind and Wire


One thing that's instantly apparent on Rhythmic Jubilee (well, by the first minute of the first track at least) is that Ophelia can play some mean piano! She really lights it up, folks. This is no George Winston CD, so don't come looking for a laid-back relaxing musical excursion. Despite the presence of palm trees on the cover of the album, this is high octane passionate jazz fusion music, literally exploding at times with energy and fire. I was reminded of albums such as McCoy Tyner's Trident more than once. On almost every track, Ophelia is joined by drummer Jo Tan Afanador and bassist Stevestyles Rodriguez, and on some tracks by violinist Larry Deming with additional keys and piano on one song from Paula Handberry, who I assume is the artist's sister since Ophelia last name is the same. The rhythm section on this album is among the strongest and tightest I've heard in a while. Afanador and Rodriguez stay with Ophelia's high-spirited pyrotechnics on, e.g. the opening title track, as well as providing appropriate support on the more relaxed (relatively speaking as nothing here is actually THAT relaxed) vibe on songs like "Pale Golden Moon."

Besides playing piano, Ophelia also handles some synth strings on the song "Island Beat" and some synth and marimba on the title track. But, of course, it's her piano playing that dominates this CD. Dominates is actually too mild a word. Her fiercely dramatic keyboard artistry literally grabs your attention and seldom lets you go. Violinist Deming gives her a run for the money, though. He can obviously play too as evidenced on "Sun Screams" where the two of them go back and forth, lighting up the skies with their talent.

Probably the slowest cut on the album, and the one that comes the closest to approaching a new age music sensibility, is "Crossroads," although the song still features plenty of kinetic drum work by Afanador, but at a lower energy level than other selections. "Travelin' " which fires up immediately after it, resets to zero and gets the blood pumping and feet tapping with Ophelia's rapid runs on the piano as well as plenty of pumping bass and a jazzy funky rhythm laid down on the drums. "Tropical Moon" closes out the album with its slowly evolving eight and half minutes, starting off with introspective solo piano as the notes sparkle like moonlight off the surface of the ocean. Soon enough, all the players gather in and the tune heads into cheery and funky territory, with everyone seeming to have a great time playing together. The other longer than usual song on the album is the piano duet (plus rhythm accompaniment) "Island Beat" which (not surprisingly) has the strongest element of world fusion running through its seven and a half minutes, evoking the sun-drenched party atmosphere of the Caribbean (although the use of tropical-sounding percussion instruments throughout the album lends most cuts at least a partial "island" feel).

Rhythmic Jubilee is appropriately titled, since the word jubilee is synonymous with "festival" or "celebration" which this album assuredly is, i.e. festive and celebratory. When you want to dance around your house feeling glad to be alive, this is the CD to reach for. In the hands of Ophelia and company, your cares should be chased away and replaced by smiles and laughter, along with the desire to visit a sandy beach or two, I'd warrant. Recommended, especially to fans of jazz piano (and not smooth jazz...this is the real deal!).
- Review by Bill Binkelman

"Mainly Piano Publications"

Rhythmic Jubilee
Ophelia Handberry

“Rhythmic Jubilee” is quite a change from Ophelia’s previous releases. Big, bold, and jazzy, it is subtitled “An Eclectic Vision of Tropical Splendor.” All of the music was composed and produced by Ophelia Handberry, and she performs on acoustic piano and keyboards, joined by Paula Handberry on additional keyboards, JoTan Afanador on drums, Larry Deming on violin, and Stevestyles Rodriguez on bass guitar. This is Ophelia’s first release with “live” musicians, and the energy is infectious. Much more celebratory than soothing, this is music for fun times or just to feel good. On a couple of the tracks, the drums are a bit overbearing, but emphasize the party spirit of the music. “Island Beat” is listed as a piano duet, but percussion and synth strings accompany this lively, joyous bit of merriment. “Crossroads” is more of a ballad or even a slow dance with violin and drums backing up Ophelia’s melodic piano. “Travelin’” brings a bit of funk to the mix, adding to the fun. “Sun Screams” first appeared on Ophelia’s 1998 release, “Native Ground,” with keyboards. This “live” version really jumps, illustrating once again what a difference “real” musicians make over synthesizers. “Tropical Moon” begins as a gorgeous piano solo; about three minutes into it, the drums enter and the mood and tempo both change to a more upbeat and energetic jazz mode. As the piece evolves, the full band is onhand, having a blast making music together, with the various musicians taking solos.

For joyous tropically-influenced music, it doesn’t get much better than this! With “Rhythmic Jubilee,” Ophelia reveals another side of her very eclectic musical self, and it’s a joy to behold! - Reviewed by Kathy Parsons

"Music Choice"

"What a marvelous musician and composer. The jazz and classical influences combined with earthy undertones are stirring..." - Music Choice

"WVPE- Elkhart, IN."

"Ophelia is truly a gifted person. Not only is she technically sound in her playing, but the feeling she conveys through her music is deep, passionate, and inspiring."
- Review by C. Russell

"-The Bethel News"

"Ms. Handberry released some abundant energy that powers her creativity..
Her body kept time with the lively melody while her piston-like fingers raced
across the keyboard.

- Reviewed by F. Sikorski

"Indie Music Review"

In a word: Gorgeous! That describes Ophelia Handberry's 13-song release on Ohklectic Records. It could be called music to relax by, listen to by candlelight or be inspired by, because it is all of that and more.

Ophelia is an accomplished, talented musician and producer who plays inspired piano in dramatic fashion. Her sound is full, rich and sparkling.

The keyboard virtuoso can caress the instrument lightly or punch with vigor and energy -- whatever is necessary to make the mood. The opening two tunes, " Again," and "New Beginnings," are highlights of the CD and are so stirring you want them to go on past the four-minute standard.

A bit later into the list, her textured sounds give way to a bit of Enyaesque spirit, or possibly even Yanni.....

Another cool tune is "Exotic Spice," a neat combo of flute and piano which shows off the light, elegant and very quick touch Ophelia is capable of.

The next tune, "Jump!" has a Calypso flavor and the finale, "Ice 2000," rises and falls, building to a pulsing beat driven by electric keyboards and light percussion.
Ophelia´s press kit contains these words, and they are so appropriate: "Escape your everyday routine with Ophelia´s eclectic mix of captivating, upbeat melodies and smooth, passionate compositions that will inspire you to echo your own dreams."

Nuf sed...

- Review L. Reynolds


Rhythmic Jubilee -Nov. 2003
Echoes...Under The Sun -July 2000
Native Ground... Stand My Ground -Mar. 1998
AEAAF -Feb. 1997
April Storm -Aug. 1996



OPHELIA: OHKLECTIC RECORDS Award Winning Concert Pianist, Composer and Vocalist: is  known for her "outstanding keyboard artistry, interwoven melodies, rich bass lines, unique percussive touches and dreamy vocals"... Ophelia's innovation marks her as a Rare, passionate artist, well before her time.

"This Graceful dancing pianist plays her heart out, while her performances take you into another world."
Please feel free to visit our web site at: www.opheliahandberry.com for more info.

Her music carries a stirring, modern, earthy undertone with a uniqueness that appeals to diverse audiences.
Listening to her distinct sound you embrace styles ranging from Jazz, New Age, Classical, Native fusion, African, Latin, and Jigs. Her very identifiable, "Contemporary Eclectic Sounds" or what her Fans call, "Ophelia Music", have been featured on National Public Radio- National PBS programs, numerous national and syndicated radio stations. All of her recordings are individual projects, based on very specific themes that define her eclectic style. Producing five titles to her name: April Storm, AEAAF, Native Ground.. Stand My Ground, Echoes... Under The Sun and the Rhythmic Jubilee CD, all authenticate Ophelia's eclectic ability. They have become timeless pieces and her music has garnered her successful career which continues to grow by word of mouth.

Ophelia is respected for her integrity, authenticity and remaining true to herself. Her beauty, flare and radiance are contagious and her Headliner shows leave you wanting more which is evident by her audience's consistently giving standing ovations in response to her keyboard artistry.

Ophelia has successfully managed tours across the country as well as internationally. Incredibly, she averaged four to six shows a weekend as a solo artist! She was also the featured performer for three years with African American Women on Tour, with renowned artists such as Terry McFadden, Debbie Allen and Lorraine Toussaint. She also gives Benefit Concerts for organizations to assist the homeless, abused children and others in need.

Ophelia's Duo, Trio, Quartet or Quintet of contemporary musicians have played from Hartford to Hong Kong, in a variety of venues and setting and with audiences of all sizes.

Ophelia, a native of California, was raised in Connecticut where she studied classical piano, often adding her own improvisations to her teachers surprise. She is a Self-Taught Composer and the Executive Producer of all of her recordings, tours and concerts productions.

Although quiet and shy, this multitalented musician has always had a gifted ear for music which was very apparent at very young age of three when she was playing chords up and down the piano. She gave her first recital when she was five. By eight years of age, she had already started to develop her own style and composed her first full length orchestrated piece entitled,"Aye Yo Cha Gae Yo". Years later she re-recorded it for her Native Ground CD and it has been featured on radio stations as a Native Fusion piece. She also taught herself the drums, flute, guitar and other instruments however continued to return to her roots- the piano and her voice, which are her main instruments to this day.

In 1996 Ophelia launched her own independent record label and family business, Ohklectic Records, and released her debut CD, April Storm, to share her joy and gift of music with a variety of people. Ophelia's influences are numerous, ranging from classical masters such as Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Mendelhsohn to Jazz genius' Art Tatum, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis and Erroll Garner. She grew up in a musical family where her parents nurtured her abilities.

"What I love is when I look out into the audience and see a child jumping up and down dancing, and at the same time I see someone who could very well be my grandparent who is smiling, tapping or clapping along to the beat. I am absolutely overjoyed to be sharing this gift of music. What a wonderful feeling to touch different generations and also to touch a cross culture of people! Creating these experiences aren't something you can just copy or fake and I am extremely grateful and even more motivated to do my best and be my best!" -Ophelia

Ophelia has been Recipient of The ASCAP Special Popular Music Awards every year since 1999! 

Ophelia is a warm, modest and spiritually directed woman, as is reflected in her music. She believes in a positive attitude, an open mind, working with focus and intention as well as and persistence.

Band Members