Shore Local Talent: Originaire

Valerie Vuolo, Ken Shiles & CiBon Jackson for the Atlantic City based trio Originaire. Photo by Paul Dempsey Photography

Local Talent: Originaire

By Cindy Fertsch

“Everything is exactly where it is supposed to be,” says Ken Shiles. Ken has been playing music most of his life, but when he met CiBon Jackson in the summer of 2015, everything changed. Remarkably, they had no face to face contact before taking the stage to perform together. The instant their voices blended, they knew they had stumbled upon something very special. Shortly afterwards, in a similarly fateful fashion, violinist Valerie Vuolo joined Ken and CiBon in a performance, creating a synergy as Ken and CiBon’s voices blended with Valerie’s soulful strings. The trio, Originaire, was formed.

Their connection is so strong it is nearly tangible, both on and off the stage. Talking with them was very much like chatting with a family. There was a lot of laughs, joking and one could easily finish the others sentence or complement their point with a related story or example. “We are like a family,” they say, almost in unison.

They spent their Thanksgiving touring Nashville and playing several different venues. When they were not on stage, they were writing original music and lyrics, often spending 14-hour-days together. “We are playing New York City in December, Philly in January and plan on touring California in February,” says Ken. Releasing a single and album are definitely in their near future, but “You don’t want it to be premature. It’s a process and it has to be exactly where it’s supposed to be. CiBon and Val are teaching me patience with that,” says Ken.

Valerie Vuolo on violin, Ken Shiles on guitar and Ken and CiBon Jackson on vocals in a recent performance. Photo by Annie Hubbs

Originaire’s music focuses on a raw stripped down acoustic guitar, violin and vocal harmonies with a variety of genres including Bluegrass, Indie, Folk and Americana. “It invokes emotion and will make you feel something for sure,” says CiBon.

Ken adds that sometimes the deep personal meaning of the lyrics makes him feel vulnerable.  All three were performing musicians prior to forming their trio and feel very comfortable on the stage. CiBon reflects “If there is one thing I never doubt in this world, the formation of their trio is it, and that is priceless.”

If you would like to learn more about Originaire or see them perform go to

If you know someone you think should be highlighted for their talent, we would love to hear from you. Email Shore Local Newsmagazine at


  1. Ken and Ci Bons vocals blend and dance so effortlessly together that it is one of the closest things to perfection I have recently heard in terms of off-the-grid acts. I have yet to hear them with Valerie as an addition but I’ll hope to be seeing them if they can only find time to stop by Chapel Hill, NC. Cats Cradle and Local 506 await them. Bless..

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