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Tone Irie is Tony Sauza- a musician born and raised in Northeast Los Angeles- makes music that feels like a far-off adventure, while simultaneously sounding like home. Afro-Caribbean music became his go-to early on- fascinated by it both musically and from an academic perspective. He’s had his hand in performing with various groups around LA, constantly using his musical endeavors as tools for community building and social justice. In 2018 he started his solo project- Tone Irie.

Tone Irie is where Northeast LA Chicano culture meets the Caribbean- and he will assure you that yes, that musical space does exist. Weaving seamlessly between English and Spanish, incorporating references of dancehall, dub, and reggae, over an urban sound that is uniquely Los Angeles in its nature.  Many roads led Sauza to Tone Irie. Music, to him, has always been more than just something to listen to- it’s been a way to connect to history and a tool for social justice. He studied it in depth for many years, holding a degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA where he studied percussion with Francisco Aguabella. He also holds a Masters in Afro-Latin Music from California State University Los Angeles. On top of all of that, he studied voice in Santiago de Cuba with members of an Afro-Cuban folkloric group called Cutumba. For ten years, he shared his knowledge by teaching music in public schools in LA. Leaving the classroom for Sauza simply meant creating a different kind- he became (and continues to be) Regional Program Director for the national nonprofit Little Kids Rock, builds programs to provide kids with a musical education who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. 

Sauza’s also had quite a ride as a performer. For over 20 years, he’s played on numerous stages from New York to China to Mexico. He currently plays (and tours and records) with the urban Cumbia outfit, Viento Callejero. On top of performing, he’s also begun dipping his toes into the world of music production for many of LA’s prized acts. Tone Irie is a project that’s been growing for decades. From Los Angeles to the Caribbean, from the classroom to the streets of downtown LA.- it’s finally ready to bloom. Tone Irie’s currently working on new music that’ll be ready for the airwaves this 2019 and beyond. Catch him there, and on stages around the world.

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