Fools In Paradise
Home Performances About Us Recordings Press Kit / Contact

Fools In Paradise (photo by John Klicker)
Photo by John Klicker. Click for full-size photo (856K)
Back row: Kevin, Shoehorn & Erin. Front row: Saffire, Kite & TJ.

Fools In Paradise was founded by Kite in 2001. Current personnel:
TJ Arko (marimba, guitar, vocals)
Saffire Bouchelion (djembe, dundun, congas, vocals)
Kevin Finkle (marimba, bass kalimba, vocals)
Kite Giedraitis (marimba, mbira dzavadzimu, vocals)
Christy Kuiken (marimba, hosho, dundun, vocals)
Shoehorn (saxophone, pennywhistle, hosho, vocals)


The mbira dzavadzimu is a three-octave kalimba with 22 keys, played by the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Its name means the "mbira of the spirits" and it is traditionally used in spiritual ceremonies, often lasting all day and all night for several days.

Our bass kalimba was made by Kite. It has 14 keys and an electric pickup. (You can get one from David Bellinger at

Our marimbas are also made by Kite and decorated with horns and tails for an authentic African look. The gourd resonators are inspired by the West African balafon.

Our percussion section features hosho (Zimbabwean gourd shakers), conga drums, and the djembe and dundun from West Africa.


Fools In Paradise is a 6-piece ensemble that has been performing at festivals, schools and events since 2001. The band's founder, Kite Giedraitis, has been studying and playing marimba and mbira music of Africa since 1987. Since his travels in Zimbabwe and Ghana in 1990-92, he has been a full-time marimba teacher and performer. Drummer and vocalist Saffire Bouchelion has collaborated and performed on over 35 CDs. Erin Middleton has been performing for children since 1995 with various marimba bands. She makes regular trips to Nigeria to visit her husband's family. Saxophonist Shoehorn has been leading jazz and blues bands professionally for more than 18 years. Kevin Finkle has been performing Zimbabwean music since 1995. TJ Arko holds a percussion degree from PSU and brings a deep knowledge of classical and contemporary marimba to the group. Together the ensemble creates a fun, high-energy musical experience that gets audiences of all ages participating.

Fools In Paradise with Mayor Tom Potter, at the Children's Museum, May 2006

HOMEPerformancesAbout UsRecordingsPress Kit / Contact