Mateo Monk is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, adept at many styles of world roots music. With twenty years of performing experience, his live shows are an exciting musical journey around the globe, exploring the rhythms of jazz, bossa nova, reggae, hindustani raga, bluegrass, soul and funk. Performing solo on the guitar, flute, melodica, and vocals, Mateo utilizes a "looper" pedal to create fully textured rhythms, adorned with virtuosic melodic musings, all seamlessly woven into the song form in real time. It's a modern spin on the iconic idea of the "one man band", executed by a one-of-a-kind artist with deep emotional sensibility and dazzling instrumental finesse.
Mateo spent six years in Boulder leading an original reggae/soul fusion band called Natural Kingdom with some success. While opening for the legendary reggae band Culture, he was “discovered” by acclaimed reggae producer Georges Kouakou and proceeded to record his first solo release entitled “Guidance and Protection” at Lion and Fox Studios in Washington DC. Georges co-produced several of African reggae superstar Alpha Blondy’s groundbreaking records, including the “Jerusalem” album, and he has toured with many reggae greats including Culture, Burning Spear and the Wailers. While recording the record, Mateo also had the pleasure of working with Junior Marvin of Bob Marley and the Wailers. “Guidance and Protection” was picked up by the French record label Sankofa Blackstar and has received international airplay as well as frequent rotation on XM Radio in the US. In the fall of 2004, Mateo played a two week, multi-city tour throughout France with The Viceroys and Clinton Fearon of the Gladiators to promote the disc.
After the tour, Mateo decided to settle in the Washington DC area to take advantage of the new set of connections and opportunities that recording the album had brought about. Since being in DC, he has been a member of four bands, One Night Stand featuring Walter Tate on sax (8/03 to 8/04), THC featuring Dezzy Hyson of Culture and Mojanya (8/04 to 12/05), The Kleen Kut Reggae Band from Liberia (12/05 to 10/9 with gaps), and currently, The Archives. He has also done plenty of freelance gigs, working in the studio and/or onstage with several notable artists, including Alpha Blondy, Junior Marvin, Thievery Corporation, and Ruth A. Brown. He is currently recording an album with the Archives that is being produced by Eric Hilton of the Thievery Corporation to be released under ESL Record’s new ESL Dub-plate label. He is also in the process of producing two solo albums, one acoustic and one fully arranged electric disc. Lastly, Mateo regularly performs solo utilizing looping technology and blending together a wide variety of genres and influences.