In retrospect, Tom Frouge began his music career one Sunday night in 1964 in front of the television watching the Ed Sullivan show. He began his music business career in 1988 as a disc jockey at free-form radio station WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, CT, where he also served as music director for eight years. During his tenure at the station, Tom began working at Green Linnet Records where he served as Director of National Promotion for five years. He also oversaw the label’s Red Bird imprint, which specialized in American Roots music, and was A&R and Project Manager for many of the label’s world music acts on the Xenophile imprint. In 1998 Frouge joined Putumayo World Music as Senior VP of Promotion/Artist Label Manager, moving over to Triloka Records in 2000 as Senior Vice President and General Manager.
Tom has worked in most aspects of the music business (labels, management, promotion & marketing, publishing, record producing, presenting, songwriting). He is Executive Director, Avokado Artists, a 501(c)3, 360°arts organization dedicated to cross-cultural understanding through the arts and the cultivation, promotion, presentation and preservation of culturally significant artists and their work from around the globe. The organization’s activities include artist management, presenting and consultation and is home to, among others, Iraqi-American oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj, who is a NEA 2015 National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. In 2011 Avokado Artists launched an independent, in-house label (Avokado Artists Recordings), whose debut CD Aam Zameen by Kiran Ahluwalia was honored with a 2012 JUNO Award (Canadian “Grammy”).
Tom is also founder, curator and director of ¡Globalquerque! New Mexico’s Annual Celebration of World Music & Culture, a 2013 recipient of the Creative Bravos Award, entering its 18th year. He is co-founder and curator of Festival Eclectica of Angel Fire entering its 3rd year and is booking consultant for the venerable Lotus World Music & Arts Festival in Bloomington, IN now in its 29th year. He has been a consultant for a number of music labels and organizations and served for 5 years as Music Liaison for Economic Development, City of Albuquerque. Tom has served on and moderated numerous panels on Radio, Promotion, Marketing, Presenting, Festivals, Economics of Art, Labels and A & R at conferences around the world including WOMEX, APAP and SxSW, and has written articles for various publications including Billboard.com and Gavin. In his spare time he programs three internet radio streams for Slacker.com and hosts a weekly local radio program, The Strange Land, on KUPR-FM in Placitas, NM. A long time political and environmental activist, Tom holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. Tom is the proud father of and to Talis Chase Frouge, currently a senior at Maryland Institute College of Art (and designer of new Avokado Artists logo) and is madly in love with Mexican magical realist artist Jade Leyva, his wife of nearly 13 years.
Visual Artist, Environmentalist & Avokado Artists Board Member
Jade Leyva is an award-winning painter, potter and more. Hailing from Mexico City, Jade now calls New Mexico her home. Her work is at times whimsical, celebratory and reflective. Her medium is acrylics on masonite and pottery. Her work reflects Her positive hope for the future of the world combining influences from Magical Realism to Pre-Colombian and postmodern. The central themes of her works are: love, unity, and our fragile relationship to Mother Earth.
Leyva has been commissioned to create images for important events such as The New Mexico Wine Festival, ¡Globalquerque!, Contemporary Hispanic Market, Lotus Festival of World Musc and Art, National LULAC Convention, and more. Her work has been featured on the covers of many books and publications and she has participated in countless collective art exhibits in New Mexico, out of state and in old México. She has twice been awarded Best Painting recognition and the Contemporary Hispanic Market and in 2021 took Best of Show there.
In 2013 she funded an organization called Seeds: A Collective Voice/Community Seed Mural Project which promotes raising awareness about ancient seed preservation through multimedia arts. She has created several murals created entirely with seeds in which the community of New Mexico have participated. Her project has involved artists from all around the world and continues to grow. She is currently working on new original body of works to be displayed at upcoming art exhibits. To learn more look for her pages on Facebook: Jade Leyva Art and SEEDS: A Collective Voice.
She supports Avokado Artists during all their events including ¡Globalquerque! and Festival Eclectica, She has done organizing for ¡Globalquerque! fundraisers and acts as the festival's Volunteer Coordinator and all-around administrative assistant. She has donated many of her pieces to fundraisers for the festival and helps out with behind the scenes organizing, promotion and marketing of all other Avokado Artists events as well.
Owner: MacOnly & Avokado Artists Board Member
Jonathan started playing traditional American old time music as a young child, went on to study anthropology and dance at Reed College and at University of California at Riverside, completing a BA in Anthropology. He completed a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and has worked in the fields of travel, radio production. world music presentations and advanced technology over the past 40 years. He has technical certification with Apple Computer, but an enduring love for traditional music from all parts of the world, which has led to deep involvement with Avokado Artists over the past years, both with presenting and providing Avokado Artists technical resources and IT support.. Jonathan is owner and operator of MacOnly: Tech Support For The Arts
New Mexico State Historian, Musician and Author
State Historian Rob Martínez is a native New Mexican born and raised in Albuquerque. A graduate of the University of New Mexico with a B.B.A. in International Business Management, Rob then went on to pursue his interest in New Mexican culture and history at U.N.M., earning an M.A. in Latin American history, with an emphasis on church, cultural, and social practices of the Spanish Colonial period in New Mexico. This included studying witch beliefs in New Mexico and the Inquisition. Rob worked for 14 years as a research historian for the Sephardic Legacy Project, scouring civil and church archives analyzing documents for a research and publishing project about the Crypto-Jewish phenomenon in New Mexico and the Caribbean. He was deputy state historian of New Mexico for six years before becoming state historian in 2019.
As a musician, Rob has performed throughout New Mexico and the US, and has presented music and New Mexican culture at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C., the NEA’s National Heritage Fellowship Awards, and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Executive Director Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Office, Founder Emergence Productions, Event Producer at Rock Your Mocs
Melissa Sanchez is the Executive Director of the State of New Mexico's Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Office. She is also the founder of Emergence Productions, specializing in Native American & Indigenous performing arts through event production management, talent buying/booking & youth cultural empowerment. In 2011 she became event producer of Rock Your Mocs, best described as a worldwide Native American & Indigenous Peoples virtual unity event held annually and during November National Native American Heritage Month in the U.S.A. Melissa, who is from the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna, is an advocate of cultural empowerment through Native American contemporary and traditional performing arts. Melissa advises on Native American performers and educators and is key in our hopes of working more directly with and in Native American communities.