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Fusion Music in a Wobbly World

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on September 6, 2008 2 Comments

Last night, I attended a concert by Wobbly World at UC Berkeley’s International House, an experience of multilingual/multicultural musical richness I am not going to forget in a lifetime. Wobbly World is a “Jazz, afro-cuban, funk, world music” band that “brings together musicians from many continents, integrating the instruments, languages and traditions of each musician’s heritage in unusual sonorities” (see their MySpace page here). The band comprises the talented frontman/guitarist/singer Fresno native Freddy Clarke; the skilled two-time Grammy winning Danish violinist Mads Toling; the multi-talented Ney, Santoor, and some time wine/water bottle (!) playing Iranian Mohammed Nejad; Sukhawat, who brings in the flavor of Indian subcontinental music; Nhut Bui, the skilled Vietnamese Dan Bau player; Cuban Eric Barberia who sings in Cuban Spanish and plays the Conga with equal fervor and passion; East Bay native Brian Collier whose fingers light fire to drums (and sings like a dream!); Bulgarian Vassil Babelekov, who masterfully plays a self-crafted Bulgarian inverted goatskin bagpipe; and, last but not least, Chicago native Victor Little, the super-powerful bassist.

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Last night’s concert was nothing short of riveting. The confluence of melodies, incorporating the Cuban, African, Iranian/Middle Eastern/North African, Vietnamese, Indian/Pakistani, European and American heritages of the instrumentalists and singers, was something that had to be heard to be believed. The cross-cutural/cross-linguistic effort led to an enthralling musical tapestry that was, remarkably, simple and complex. The captivating harmony that the band achieved was not in uniting as one tongue or sound, or even blending the diverse influences seamlessly; it was in forefronting the different linguistic, cultural and historical influences and talents of the band members. This band is a must-see!

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2 Responses to “Fusion Music in a Wobbly World”

  1. DS on: 19 June 2009 at 2:47 pm

    That’s really cool. I attended something very similar to this at UC Davis, and its amazing what you can create when you bring all different cultural influences and instruments together.

  2. lida on: 27 August 2010 at 1:09 am

    That’s really cool. I attended something very similar to this at UC Davis, and its amazing what you can create when you bring all different cultural influences and instruments together.

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