The Olga Watkins Band Pittsburgh PA

Band Bio


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The Olga Watkins Band has been performing together since 2003. Their original music combines influences of  blues, funk, soul, jazz, reggae and rock into a truly unique sound. They have been voted the Best Blues/Jazz Band of the year in the Pittsburgh City Paper on multiple occasions. They perform throughout the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas at clubs, events, fundraisers and festivals.


Olga Watkins, Vocals, Songwriting

Olga Watkins has been performing in public since before she was two years old. She studied classical piano, violin and then voice and attended Chatham University on a music performance scholarship. She initially pursued a singing career in the world of opera and musical theater. After a ten year hiatus from music she began getting her pipes back together with pick up jazz gigs then formed her own band when she again started writing songs. She lives in Pittsburgh's East End with her husband and daughter, also a vocalist and her two giant dogs. When she's not singing she works as a food features writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, a culinary instructor at Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley, PA  and as a consulting chef at Hollywood Gardens in Rochester, PA.


Jay Weaver, Guitarist, Composer, Arranger, Back Up Vocals

Jay Weaver
Jay Weaver is a guitarist who is originally from Cumberland, Maryland.  Jay had been earning a B.A. degree in music from Shepherd University as well as performing in the mid-atlantic region before moving to Pittsburgh, PA to obtain a Master of Music degree in guitar from Duquesne University.  Since moving to Pittsburgh Jay has continued to work throughout the U.S. with many local and national acts as a freelance guitarist and/or sound engineer and is currently performing with the Olga Watkins Band.  Also, Jay has extensive teaching experience.  He has been a private music instructor for twenty-five years, taught college classes in guitar for many years, and was the assistant director of the internationally known Duquesne Guitar and Bass Workshop.  Jay is currently working on a guitar instruction book entitled: “The Eight Tools to Becoming a Great Guitar Player”.   Jay currently owns and operates SoundColor Productions, which is a music production and audio recording company.  SoundColor Productions offers
artist development consultation, state of the art multi-track recording studio, and live sound production.


Willy Franklin, Bassists

Willy started playing music in the 4th grade and started playing bass at the age of 13 when his parents bought him his first bass guitar. He then went on to perform in his schools marching band, jazz band, and wind ensembles. After high school, he attended Ohio University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania pursuing a degree in Music Education. College exposed him to many styles of music which was a major part of the player he has become today.  At IUP he was part of the Jazz Ensemble (The Mellowmen) and won the “Best Soloist Award” at the Villanova Jazz Festival.
After college, Willy started performing on Pittsburgh’s thriving music scene. Playing 5 to 8 shows a week with various bands in the greater Pittsburgh area including Billy Price,
Barbara Blue, Tony Janflone Jr., After Dark, Cityscape, In the Mood, No Bad Juju, Dante’s Inferno, Jack Rabbit Slim, and others.
During his career he has shared the stage with notable artists such as: Vital Information (with Steve Smith and Tom Coster), Reb Beach (Winger), Ashley Alexander (North Texas State University), Jim Walker (Free Flight), Ted Piltzecker (New York session artist), Dave Samuels (Spyro Gyra), Steve Tavaglione, Otis Clay, Billy Price, and Barbara Blue. Guaranteed, they had a much larger impact on me than I had on them…
Willy has also performed in the opening acts for such greats as: Santana, Jeff Beck, Outlaws, Little River Band, Woody Herman Band, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton, and Spyro Gyra.
He spends his spare time being a husband/father, recording in his home studio, playing in his church band, and petting cats.


Subha Das, Drummer, Percussionist

Subha Das
Subha Das is a professional percussionist/music educator in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . He attended the Duquesne University School of Music from 1994-1999, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Music in Percussion Performance. During his tenure at Duquesne, Subha was fortunate to study orchestral percussion with Gerry Unger (former member, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra ) and Stanley Leonard (former timpanist, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra ). As part of the well-rounded education he received, Subha also studied jazz with the legendary Dr. John Wilson, Mike Tomaro , Lenny Rodgers and Jay Ashby ( Paul Simon ). For a brief period in 1996, he was able to study world percussion with Rolando Morales ( Disney's Lion King on Broadway). Some highlights from music school were performances with Mike Stern , The New York Voices , and Michael Abene (
GRP Big Band arranger ), and being awarded outstanding soloist at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival in 1999. Since graduating, Mr. Das has built a very successful career for himself, being one of the most in-demand percussionists and private instructors in the Pittsburgh area. In 1998, he joined the staff of the award-winning Mount Lebanon Percussion program, where he holds the title of principal assistant director. Aside from teaching, Subha maintains an active career in performing with the following groups: The Olga Watkins Group- Soul / Blues / R&B Quartet, Cadillac Jazz- this group specializes in providing cool, hip jazz, Donna Bailey- Vocal Jazz Quartet and Resonance- this group uses the distinctive sound of the steel drums to draw audiences into a compelling mix of Caribbean jazz and global fusion music. In addition, Subha is and will always remain a student of his instrument.  Over the past few years, he has been studying drum set with Steve Rucker (Bee Gees) at the University of Miami.  And of recently, he has also been studying Brazilian Percussion with master drummer Marcus Santos in Boston.

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