A broad take on jazz, a fascination with rhythmic sequences, and abstract vocals: Zabelov Group is the musical dialogue between Roman Zabelov, accordionist from Belarus, and Jan Šikl, Czech drumer and multi-instrumentalist. Their original acoustic puritanism gradually transformed into complex cinematic music accompanied by samples and acoustic instruments enhanced by electronics. Zabelov Group’s musical endeavour is permeated by the effort to maintain live contact with the instrument but provide the entire spectrum of club sounds while performing as a duo. They released a must-hear album titled “Eg” on Minority Records in October 2018.
Since the album release the band performed at several important festivals like Colours of Ostrava, Eurosonic Norderslag Groningen, MENT Ljubljana, Spring Break Poznan, Live Rock Toscana, JazzFest Brno, Space X Prague etc. and received very good reviews from international media.
Their unique interpretations fused ambient textures, freeform jazz, cinematic dance and even post rock into just under forty-five minutes, and for the most part was a revelation. Zabelov’s pained facial expressions throughout coupled with Sikl’s rhythmic accompaniments bore all the hallmarks of two craftsmen deep in concentration, fully focused on the task at hand. Gigwise.com
Unexpected, intrinsic music. Blending together sparse electronics with jazz flourishes, this duo manage to be both complex and effortless all at once. DIY magazine
It takes a little while to wrap your head around the quirks and offshoots embedded within Zabelov and Šikl’s music, but once it clicks you’ll have a hard time ignoring it. Allthingsloud.com
It is jazz, and it is not jazz. It is modernism, but full of tradition at the same time. It is a semi-improvised, complex musical structure thats swirls with a perfectionistic care about every sound and every detail. Beehy.pe
A bright flash on the alternative music scene. Reflex magazine
The potential of the sound possibilities and the interplay of the all-electronic modulated sound of accordion and percussion, functionally complemented by a host of other instrumental and vocal tracks and samples, is tightened to its full shape. This music defies the description. All the more colorful are the feelings it evokes. UNI cultural magazine
After passing the bless on latest album, in 2019 Darla Smoking presened their new album “Extinct”, dedicated to all the wanishing live on our planet. “Extinct” will try to awake and remind again that the battles against extinction from some decades ago are still there and haven’t been getting any attention and help in solving the situations. We still have Native Americans without their prairie, Tibetian people being forced to become Chinese, Maori and Aborigini tribes drowning in the big city’s slums, massacre in Amazonia and the last sheppard in Bulgaria who is being sucked into globalisation. It goes all the way to the plastic soundscape under the Arctic sea. All in all the new album will spit out the dying screams and helpless anger while we all quietly watch the world blow in our faces. Extinct is the new dead.
Darla Smoking is a Slovenian duo of crazed cats, Brgs and Nac, who seriously shook the Slovenian grounds with the release of “Big Bug” on Kapa Records in 2017. Darla mixes various influences and sounds, including field recordings from various parts of the world, which Nac then carefully electronically processes. Brgs on the other hand provides a constant drum drive, combined with extensive use of modular synthesizers. Their sound is therefore extremely multifaceted, with the most dominant elements of world or ethno music, dub and psychedelia, but their music reaches and goes far beyond just these genres. Album Extinct is supported with live visuals on concerts by Atlas Skull who is part of Darla’s visual message from the beginning.
“A post-everything cacophony of brilliance that barges into your brain and forces your limbs to dance. It’s dub music for rockers, punk music for the electro generation, world music for the outcasts and night owls. Few bands ever get close to creating such a hedonistic, seductive racket, but that’s because few bands are like Darla Smoking.” Europavox.com
“Incredibly interesting, unusual, challenging and fresh album” Rockline.si
“The Big Bug album is proof that people who rush through life often overlook the unique moments which make this world so beautiful” RockOnNet webzine[/trim]
The Carioca-Japanese-Portuguese-Italian songwriter, Luiz Murá, was born in one of the paradise cities in the world Rio de Janeiro, Luiz always had been close to a musical atmosphere. Hearing samba on the bars and streets together with by his multicultural family. One Japanese grandfather born in Peru, another Portuguese grandfather from Madeira Portugal. One Grandmother from Brazilian-Japanese Family and the other Brazilian-Sicilian-Calabrese family. Mixing music and cultures have been going on since before he was born.
Luiz Murá left Brazil with the dream of finding music cultural connections between Brazil and other a countries around the world. It was on the Mediterranean Barcelona, that he met the Italian violinist Agostino Aragno, Desirée Miras from Spain, the contrabassist Ernesto Vargas from Mexico and the drummer Gloria Maurel from Barcelona. They all found the perfect environment to put at test their dreams: Moroccan gimbris, Italian singers, Flamenco dancers, Brazilian sambistas, Irish fiddles, Senegalese djembes, Russian bayans, Mexican mariachis and Romenian gypsies were unconsciously performing the same song, with a new sound and flavour. That became the core of MiraMundo’s path. Connecting Cultures that seem different through music.[/trim]
Tomáš Liška´s “Invisible World“ is a truly unique venture within the landscape of contemporary Czech music. The project´s own musical compositions combine elements of Jazz, chamber music and World Music from the Mediterranean and South-Eastern regions of the European continent. Their approach is not based on individual exhibitions, but rather on a philosophy where music is a clear and crystalline medium which irradiates a rich palette of emotional hues. These are inspired by strong melodies which are adorned by a subtle and seemingly effortless lacework of improvisation.
Invisible World performed on World & Jazz Festivals and venues across Europe, Africa, Scotland, United Kingdom and Japan. In 2017 was awarded the Audience Award on the international music conference Ostrava Music Crossroads and recieved the invitation on Ritmo Festival in Budapest. In 2018 got nomination on Czech “Grammy” award Ceny Andel in category Jazz & Blues.
Efe Turumtay (violin) was born in Istanbul, Nikola Zarić (accordion) in Serbia and Kamil Slezák (drums) in Moravia. Tomáš Liška (upright bass) met all three in the course of his musical journeys around the world, while tirelessly searching for fascinating interactions between instruments and cultures which would enthrall both him and his audiences.
“A sophisticated blend of New and Old World influences, including Turkish violin, Balkan accordion and a pinch of tango nuevo. The result leaves as much space for listeners as for the musicians. A great opportunity for music adventurers.”
(Petr Dorůžka, world music journalist & explorer)
“Eastern European flavours with a Parisian jazz air.” 4*/5
(Tom Newell, Songlines, December 2017)
Between New Orleans street brass band and mini-big fairground band, common jazz combo and bunch of mimes and circus clowns, the Sergent Pépère are something unique. With their shimmering rhythms and charming ingenuity the band mixes balkan, gypsy and oriental tunes with jazz, chanson, latin, folk and circus music. But what makes their show so irresistible event is their kind- hearted human humour, which is easy comprehensible for an audience of all kinds, nationalities and ages. Indoor or outdoor, across France and Europe, Sergent Pépère has been giving happiness and pleasure to children and grown up for more than 10 years now.
The Sergent Pépère was born in 1998 in French/Bretagne city of Rennes. The band started as a part of street theater Arpion Celeste and lately has morphed to the regular band. Members of the band are experienced both as actors and musicians of many musical styles. On their concerts these musicians are able as well to make their audience twitching with an incredible deal of energy as to smoothly embark them to the road of an intoxicating imaginary folklore. On stage or on streets the Sergent Pepere tumbles and sets the tone!
Francophilles, Terre-Neuvas, Coup de chauffe, Jazz a la Villette, Jazz en Touraine, Les Fondus du Macadam, Paleo Festival, Colours of Ostrava, Folk Holidays festival and many more… + touring United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Spain.
Wild Polka, bohemian jazz, oriental group… The Sergent Pépère’s mix is astonish! Ouest- France
There is the Sergent Pépère, and the show goes on with their delirious musical show with its mimes, acrobatic gags with 6 cranks outfitted kind of serbo-croatian middle age style! ( Lester Bowie’s brass band is not so far): a real success! Jazz Hot
With this psyche name, a crazy and coloured direction, and a singular instrumentation, Sergent Pépère is remarkable in the middle of the happy brass bands. Precise, falsely chaotic, their music blows and tinkles with class and impudence, with simple fancy. Not folk: but rare; I said! Radio Ceros
The 6 musicians, or I should say “the folklorico-mobil disarming commando” as they call themselves, proposed some jazz, gipsy songs, ouzbeks, latino with casualness. Good mood for sure! La Montagne
Sometimes you listen to a band and say to yourself – that would be great to work with such amazing artist… yep, as you wish, here you go! We are happy to announce ORKESTA MENDOZA, hot and intriguing band from Tucson, USA, is a new member of our family. Check out the band’s profile HERE.[/trim]
“Sergio Mendoza is probably my favourite musician of this time. He has the cumbia and mambo in his DNA, but he has the power to make it sound like today. His Orkesta is as punk as the Sex Pistols and as violent as Perez Prado” — Camilo Lara, Mexican Institute of Sound
“Orkesta Mendoza is one of the best live bands out there. Their music delves into a myriad of directions, rhythms and moods, big band orchestrations mixed with lo fi electronica, vocals en Español together with moving instrumentals. The “Vamos a Guarachar” album is epic and soulful, it captures that positive spirit of the Southwest” — Joey Burns, Calexico
Something is stirring in downtown Tucson. That’s no great surprise perhaps: Calexico have been sending out missives from the desert for 20 years now, Giant Sand for even longer than that, and the Green on Red revival is surely overdue. These three giants of American popular music ask questions of the form, chiefly because of where they are situated. Let us remind ourselves that this isn’t a big city in the American sense (it’s the country’s 33rd largest), but that its hinterland is indeed as big as it gets. For an hour south, Mexico starts. And this is where things get interesting.
Born in Nogales, Arizona, raised in Nogales, Sonora, multi-instrumentalist and band-leader Sergio Mendoza grew up listening to the Mexican regional styles jostling for headspace in a young, music- mad mind – cumbia mainly, but mambo, rancheras and mariachi too. The border is always a fierce arena of exchange, both commercial and cultural, and so there was American music too. At one point ‘rock and roll, the classics’, as Mendoza himself deadpans, seemed to win out and he stopped playing those ‘Latin styles’ for a good decade and a half.
The return to those sounds was a strong one in 2012’s Mambo Mexicano, co-produced by Mendoza and Joey Burns of Calexico – a band for which Mendoza has become an increasingly integral touring and recording member. While that record had a studied air, tentative in parts (as befits the renewal of an old love affair), ¡Vamos A Guarachar!, released on 7 October 2016 by prestigious Glitterbeat Rec., is another beast entirely: by turns raucous (‘Cumbia Volcadora’, featuring Mexican electronic pioneer Camilo Lara), tender (‘Misterio’, surely Salvador Duran’s finest moment with the band so far) and plain serious fun, as in ‘Contra La Marea’ and ‘Mapache’, it also bears a robust electronic edge, a keen pop sensibility and all the hallmarks of Mendoza’s love of 60s rock, with the closing track, ‘Shadows of the Mind’, sure to be included if anyone decides to update the Nuggets collection for the 21st century. This is roundabout way of saying that it appears to have everything, but never too much of anything. Focused, fierce and beautifully executed by a superbly drilled set of musicians, it is a record that fully matches the band’s explosive live performances.
“A sunny-side-up mix of cumbia, mambo, indie and electronica… If you think Latin American music tends towards the formula, try this out for size.” — fRoots
Nogales, Sonora, Nogales, Arizona: this is what the border looks like here – for now. To talk about borders and the diasporas they create, is to be pitched headlong into our era’s most urgent debate, marked by Trump’s lurid obscenities and the lines being hastily reinstated across Europe. Orkesta Mendoza’s contribution to that debate is to show us what the border sounds like and what masterpieces can be achieved by honest cultural exchange. What we decide to do with that information is up to us. With this record, however, we’ll have an awful lot of fun deciding.
You could, of course, take the trip to Tucson yourself, to the home of this essential set of field recordings. The scene hangs out together, so … if the stars align and their frantic tour schedules permit, you might see any number of folks from Calexico, Giant Sand or up-and-coming cumbia rockers Xixa deep in conversation somewhere in town with a quiet young man in black. That’s Sergio. Right now, in this endless game of Tucson tag, Orkesta Mendoza are IT.