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Teenage blues

Minors in a Major Key play for music scholarships in the name of Candye Kane

Minors in a Major Key (left to right: Wesley Biafi, Angelica Yume Pruitt, Serena Geroe, Benji Davis) will play their part in the Candye Kane music scholarship fundraiser.
Minors in a Major Key (left to right: Wesley Biafi, Angelica Yume Pruitt, Serena Geroe, Benji Davis) will play their part in the Candye Kane music scholarship fundraiser.

“Candye Kane was a great musician.” Guitarist Serena Geroe, age 15, admits she never saw the late blues diva perform live but says she follows her on YouTube. In July, the band that Geroe fronts, a quartet of teenaged bluesers who call themselves Minors in a Major Key, will take the stage as part of a fundraiser to help underwrite the Blues Lovers United of San Diego Summer Blues Camp. Organizers Ric Lee (of the Bayou Brothers band) and Spring Valley–based Wicked Harem Productions’ Rosa Lea Schiavone also hope to raise money enough to get their Candye Kane Memorial Scholarship fund up and rolling.

Video:

Minors in a Major Key

...live at the 2016 Gator by the Bay music festival

...live at the 2016 Gator by the Bay music festival

“Ric Lee was helpful in getting us together and rehearsing us,” Geroe tells me by phone. “He helps us get gigs.” Minors includes Geroe’s classmate Wesley Biafi on drums, 17-year-old bassist Angelica Yume Pruitt, and a 12-year-old lead guitarist named Benji Davis. She says the Minors are sometimes joined by 14-year-old guitarist Anthony Cullins, aka the Fallbrook Kid. “But it really comes down to the four of us. Anthony has his own band, and it keeps him busy.”

Geroe was gifted with a guitar on her eighth birthday. “The way I started, my mom was playing ‘Europa’ on her guitar, by Carlos Santana. So I picked it up when she was done, and I made it happen, too. I guess my mom saw potential. People don’t always expect to see young girls playing rock and blues.”

Fellow Minor Benji Davis, meanwhile, is in perfect contrast to Geroe’s cooler blues; his guitar solos are scorchers. The Davis clan lives in Clairemont; in recent months, Benji has become a regular at local blues jams that allow minors, sporting a sunburst Fender Strat and a cowboy hat with a fox tail affixed to it.

Place

Tio Leo's

5302 Napa Street, San Diego

“About four years ago, my dad taught me how to play a couple of notes and some standards on his guitar.” Jimmy Buffett, for example. “I picked it up from there,” says Benji, who then taught himself some Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan licks. “I started out slow. Eventually, I took those licks and put them into my own playing, and that’s what got me into Proud Mary’s.” (The Clairemont eatery hosts a blues jam on Wednesday nights.) “I’m always gonna play guitar,” Benji says. “Whether I go anywhere with it, I don’t know. But I’ll always play.”

Blues Lover’s United San Diego benefit and kickoff for the Candye Kane Memorial Scholarship Fund is Tuesday, July 12 at Tio Leo’s Lounge on Napa Street in Bay Park.

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Minors in a Major Key (left to right: Wesley Biafi, Angelica Yume Pruitt, Serena Geroe, Benji Davis) will play their part in the Candye Kane music scholarship fundraiser.
Minors in a Major Key (left to right: Wesley Biafi, Angelica Yume Pruitt, Serena Geroe, Benji Davis) will play their part in the Candye Kane music scholarship fundraiser.

“Candye Kane was a great musician.” Guitarist Serena Geroe, age 15, admits she never saw the late blues diva perform live but says she follows her on YouTube. In July, the band that Geroe fronts, a quartet of teenaged bluesers who call themselves Minors in a Major Key, will take the stage as part of a fundraiser to help underwrite the Blues Lovers United of San Diego Summer Blues Camp. Organizers Ric Lee (of the Bayou Brothers band) and Spring Valley–based Wicked Harem Productions’ Rosa Lea Schiavone also hope to raise money enough to get their Candye Kane Memorial Scholarship fund up and rolling.

Video:

Minors in a Major Key

...live at the 2016 Gator by the Bay music festival

...live at the 2016 Gator by the Bay music festival

“Ric Lee was helpful in getting us together and rehearsing us,” Geroe tells me by phone. “He helps us get gigs.” Minors includes Geroe’s classmate Wesley Biafi on drums, 17-year-old bassist Angelica Yume Pruitt, and a 12-year-old lead guitarist named Benji Davis. She says the Minors are sometimes joined by 14-year-old guitarist Anthony Cullins, aka the Fallbrook Kid. “But it really comes down to the four of us. Anthony has his own band, and it keeps him busy.”

Geroe was gifted with a guitar on her eighth birthday. “The way I started, my mom was playing ‘Europa’ on her guitar, by Carlos Santana. So I picked it up when she was done, and I made it happen, too. I guess my mom saw potential. People don’t always expect to see young girls playing rock and blues.”

Fellow Minor Benji Davis, meanwhile, is in perfect contrast to Geroe’s cooler blues; his guitar solos are scorchers. The Davis clan lives in Clairemont; in recent months, Benji has become a regular at local blues jams that allow minors, sporting a sunburst Fender Strat and a cowboy hat with a fox tail affixed to it.

Place

Tio Leo's

5302 Napa Street, San Diego

“About four years ago, my dad taught me how to play a couple of notes and some standards on his guitar.” Jimmy Buffett, for example. “I picked it up from there,” says Benji, who then taught himself some Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan licks. “I started out slow. Eventually, I took those licks and put them into my own playing, and that’s what got me into Proud Mary’s.” (The Clairemont eatery hosts a blues jam on Wednesday nights.) “I’m always gonna play guitar,” Benji says. “Whether I go anywhere with it, I don’t know. But I’ll always play.”

Blues Lover’s United San Diego benefit and kickoff for the Candye Kane Memorial Scholarship Fund is Tuesday, July 12 at Tio Leo’s Lounge on Napa Street in Bay Park.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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