Performing at home a high note for touring musician


By Rick Morwick

Joe Filipow is a professional musician who performs internationally, composes original music, has his own jazz trio and is a resident artist at a luxury hotel in China.

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Professional musician Joe Filipow has performed at neighborhood Yard-Fests in Carmel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet as glamorous as it sounds, the 1998 Carmel High School graduate is having just as much fun performing in his own backyard as he does playing abroad. He returned to Carmel shortly before the COVID-19 outbreak gripped China and has performed at private events and neighborhood gatherings, dubbed Yard-Fests, since returning to his hometown.

He’s enjoyed each and wants to do more.

“‘Special’ is the perfect word for it,” said Filipow, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who composes jazz and fusion music. “I rarely get time off enough to schedule any performance dates when I’m home. The Yard-Fests have been an amazing opportunity to share music with folks that normally wouldn’t come to China or visit a nightclub.”

Patterned after Carmel’s annual PorchFest music festival, Yard-Fests are substantially smaller events for friends and neighbors to bring their own chairs, face masks and refreshments and enjoy live music while maintaining social distancing.

“Family friend (and Carmel resident) Paul Ash invited me over to play for his neighbors,” Filipow said. “It was around the time everyone was getting squirrelly from the lockdown. The businesses had yet to reopen. Since then, a few other opportunities have sprung up with people requesting the same thing in their yards.

“I have played a few other dates since I have been home, but they have been private. I’m hoping other people will decide they need music in their neighborhood this summer.”

When travel restrictions are lifted, Filipow plans to return to Hangzhou, China, where he has been a resident performer for the past three years at the Park Hyatt hotel. He has played extensively throughout the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean and performs with his own jazz trio overseas. He normally tours 50 weeks per year with the El-Live Productions company in Asia.

“I love to make people happy and to bring people together through music,” Filipow said. “More specifically, I love to create communities within the venues I perform.”

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