Bio

Mystic Ya Ya Band Members

Mystic Ya Ya is a true musical festival and revue of soul, pop, jazz, zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll all rounded into one live audio entertainment package. This musical performance group presents an exciting and modern blend of musical sounds, roots rock and current flavorful folk standards. Whether on the stage or in the recording studio their “Soulful Southern Charm” give Mystic Ya Ya their attitude and lifestyle.

Rita Clarke – Vocalist,  Fender Stratocaster guitar

Rita is lovingly referred to as “The Soulful Heata” and has earned that nickname by spending years performing classic R&B, Blues, Folk, Rock standards and her own compositions to enthusiastic audiences. Rita started performing as a solo folk musician and transitioned to Roots Rock with her own group The Prowlers. Rita left The Prowlers to perform vocals and percussion with Little Red and the Renegades which opened up a whole new genre of musical styles best suited for her soulful vocal talents. Rita  departed Red’s band to form Krewe Of Renegades with drummer and life partner Richard “RC” Clarke. Rita’s soulful vocal renditions always express enthusiasm and energy and together Rita and RC have continued on in that musical style of music to the present group Mystic Ya Ya. Rita’s beautiful voice and  trademark natural soulful delivery are the Hallmarks of a entertaining professional.

Richard RC Clarke – drums, congas, cajon, rub board, harmonies

RC is a veteran drummer who has performed as a sideman with Junior Wells, Joey Dee, Dr. John, Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, Mitch Ryder, Bobby Comstock, Lightnin'” Hopkins and  John Lee Hooker. RC led his own New York based bands Clarksdale Revival and Second Line and worked as a session drummer for the Sweethearts of Soul. RC also had a very long successful run with Tom Corradino and Harold Rado in the bands Bad Medicine and Little Red and the Renegades. For the past 30 years Rita and RC have been performing as a working couple, both in the studio and in live performances. Mystic Ya Ya is their current group doing both live and studio work keeping that Soulful tradition alive and well.

Rick Arenz (The Professor)  – Hammond organ, piano, Nord, harmonies  & recording engineer guru

Rick is the groups resident keyboard genius and brings years of road and studio experience to the group. Rick grew up with training in both classical music and Jazz. Rick spent much of the 70’s recording in the studios in the Miami area and toured with several up and coming supergroups. His well rounded musical background on keyboards is what makes Mystic Ya Ya music distinctive and special. Rick is equally at home on Jazz, Funk, R&R or Soul and delivers that magic sound to every groove he touches. Rick is also the resident studio engineer at Mystic Ya Ya Recording Services and has a PHD in mixology.

Leo “The Scatman” Aspiras – electric bass guitar, harmonies

Leo is one of the founding members of the Krewe Of Renegades and has been working with Rita and RC for more than 25 years as a Professional musician. Leo also spent time in the 70’s working out of the Miami area in the Criterion Music Studios with the group The Bad Boys. Leo has also performed with many other groups since relocating to the DMV and is a well respected member of the local music community. Leo has toured and worked with Cathy Ponton King and David Sherman. Leo can always be counted on to supply that funky bass sound that keeps the band on solid footing.

Contributing working musicians and very special Mystic Ya Ya guests:

Chris Watling – baritone Saxophone, accordion

Keith Grimes – guitar

Jon “Ace” Combs – guitar, piano, sousaphone

Howie Feinstein – accordion, piano

Vincent McCool – trumpet, cornet

Curtis Pope – trumpet, cornet

Tommy Lepson – guitar, organ, harmonies