Substantial Afro Cuban Quartet ‘Santiago Soul Stars’ breathe new life into some of the greatest Latin compositions of the last half century. Featuring music from artists as diverse as Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Palmieri, Mondo Grosso and Incognito, this group’s sound is contagious – the ‘Santiago Soul Stars’ will get you up and dancing!

Karl Benton (keyboards and musical director), Henrique Morales (bass and vocals) Edwin Westermeier (percussion and vocals) and drummer Lance Bentley are joined by Dixon Nacey on guitar, Finn Scholes on trumpet and Hadyn Godfrey on Trombone.

Santiago Soul Stars

4 to 7 PIECE Latin & Funk BAND

STYLE: Latin, Salsa, Samba, Brazilian, Funk
SIZE: 5-7 piece
LINEUP: Trumpet, Trombone, Vocals&Bass, Guitar, Keys, Drums, Percussion

Titirangi Festival Of Music 2015 were lucky enough to have Santiago Soul Stars perform... they opened for Nathan Haines and thrilled the audience with a group comprised of real heavyweights from the NZ music industry, playing a blazing set of Latin music covering Afro Cuban, Samba, Funk and Jazz... It was our pleasure to work with them and we look forward to a return visit.
— TFM Directors; David Parker & Howy Pritchard

Individual Bios 

Karl Benton (Keyboards and Musical Director)

Karl Benton is a keyboard player, arranger, session musician, musical director and music teacher with over 20 years experience in the NZ music industry. Karl has a diverse musical background and is currently the resident keyboard player for NZ Latin icons Kantuta and funk legends Ardijah. He has toured frequently with John Rowles as keyboardist and MD, and recently with Gerry and the Pacemakers throughout Australasia. He also produces live Groovadelic music events with DJ Jason Eli, which have featured artists such as King Kapisi, Tyra Hammond from Open Souls and Tama Waipara. He is also MD and pianist for Auckland-based Latin ensemble Manteca, and acts as a gun-for-hire for numerous other artists and bands.

HENRIQUE MORALES (Lead Vocals, Bass)

Originally from the South of Brazil, Henrique Morales' has lived in New Zealand since 2007, performing in many venues and festivals throughout Aotearoa. Former member of the kiwi band ‘Batucada Sound Machine’, Henrique played on their second album - “Don't Keep Silent” (2011) and toured extensively with them in Spain, Portugal, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia, Belgium, England, Austria, South Korea, Singapore and Australia (2008-2012). He currently performs and directs the “Henrique Morales Quartet” - a fusion of Brazilian, funk, Latin and Afro-Cuban repertoire - and is working on his first solo album, with an estimated 2016 release date.


Auckland based Chilean percussionist Edwin Westermeier (also known as ‘Tumbao’) began his music career in the 80’s when he helped create the Latin band “Kantuta” with whom he recorded two albums. Under the EMI label the group released their first single “Linda Señorita” which went to number 1 in the New Zealand charts – the first non traditional Kiwi band to do so in this country. Edwin then relocated to La Habana, Cuba, were he studied for a full year at the Institute of Superior Arts (‘ISA’) under renowned Cuban percussionist Abraham Mansfaroll. Upon his return he continued studying Jazz at Auckland University where he joined forces with local musicians and formed the fusion band Batucada Sound Machine, performing in an array of festivals locally and Internationally. He currently performs and records with a vast array of local musicians and holds a residency at the Spanish Restaurant ‘Bellota’ in Auckland’s Sky City.


Lance “Lagi” Bentley is of Samoan descent, from a family background steeped in music. He has been involved in the music industry for decades throughout New Zealand, playing with top local and international acts, and has worked internationally for shows and tours in Australia, Samoa, Hawaii, L.A. and Las Vegas with artists as diverse as Nathan Haines, the Yandall Sisters, Santiago All Stars and top jazz Kiwi expat Mark de Clive-Lowe. He is well regarded as one of tightest and funkiest drummers in the country, master of the different rhythmic understanding of varied genres and his musical journey has encompassed r&b, funk, Latin, and jazz, as well as Polynesian, Hindu and Middle Eastern musical and rhythmic forms. He is currently resident at Bellota Tapas Bar at Auckland’s Sky City every Sunday evening, playing a variety of Latin styles with the Henrique Morales Quartet.


Finn Scholes has been playing trumpet professionally in New Zealand and overseas for the past 10 years. Notable acts he has performed with include Batucada Sound Machine, The ACO, Kantuta, Tiny Ruins and the Auckland Jazz Orchestra. Currently he is more known for his work at a band leader and composer for Auckland based Carnivorous Plant Society.

Hadyn Godfrey (Trombone)

Hadyn is a freelance trombone player from Auckland that prides himself on his musical versatility. He regularly performs in a wide range of ensembles including Big Bands and Jazz combos, Musical Theatre pit bands, Orchestras, Chamber Ensembles and Stage Shows. Hadyn has toured with Michael Brecker, Dianne Schuur, & Steve Smith on their New Zealand Tours, and has also performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Rodger Fox Big Band. Hadyn has recently performed in the New Zealand seasons of Singin’ in the Rain, Annie, Mary Poppins & Wicked, and is a regular performer in Coca Cola Christmas in the Park and Lakeside Rotorua. He has also recorded on albums by Nathan Haines, Sola Rosa, Batucada Sound Machine, One Million Dollars, the Rodger Fox Big Band and the Auckland Jazz Orchestra.


Widely regarded as one of the best and most versatile guitarists in the country, Dixon‘s twenty-two year music career has seen him perform with New Zealand’s top jazz and pop musicians as a sideman and leader. He has recorded three albums (2008, 2011 and 2013) with the ‘Samsom Nacey Haines Trio’, the first of which was a finalist in the 2009 Jazz Tui of The Year Award. He also leads The John Scofield Project, plays jazz with The Alan Brown Trio, rock-reggae with ‘dDub’ and electronica / hip-hop with Sola Rosa. He has recently been through USA, Australia, Canada, New Caledonia, Singapore, Fiji, The Cook Islands and Thailand with his music.




Sample Song list 2015

Quizas Quizas (Oswaldo Farres)

Favela (Antonio Carlos Jobim)

Ai ai ai ai ai (Ivan Lins)

Soberana Rosa (Ivan Lins)

Maria Cervantes (Nono Morales)

Sabor (Joao Donato)

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing (Stevie Wonder)

Amazonas (Joao Donato)

La Enganadora (Ruben Gonzales)

Chan Chan (Buena Vista Social Club)

Can’t Help It (Michael Jackson)

Colibri (Incognito)

Tree, Air and Rain on the Earth (Mondo Grosso)

Oye Como Va / Guajira (Tito Puente)

Fragilidad (Buena Vista Social Club)

Mas que nada (Jorge Benjor)

Spain (Chick Corea - Al Jarreau's version)

Human Nature (by Michael Jackson, Miles Davis' version)

Carretero (Buena Vista Social Club)

Saint Agnes and the burning train (Sting)

Incompatibilidade (Joao Bosco)

It will be (Reel People)

Cravo e canela (Milton Nascimento)

Indestructible (Ray Barreto)

Chanchullo (Ruben Gonzales)

Que se sepa (Roberto Roena)

Dos Gardenias (Buena Vista Social Club)

La malanga (Eddie Palmieri)

Cada dia (Incognito)

El cuarto de Tula (Buena Vista Social Club)

Stepping with T.P. (Hilton Ruiz)

Midnight mambo (Daniel Ponce)

Lamento Borincano (Marc Anthony's version)

Vamanos pa'l monte (Eddie Palmieri)

Geneva (George Duke)