Monday, September 3, 2007

Live: Rupa & the April Fishes

My sophomore year I began taking a black and white photography class. I had never really taken pictures as art before, but after only a few weeks I was so into it that by the end of the year I was turning my bathroom into a darkroom to develop my rolls of film. I haven't stopped using my old b&w film camera since, and I think I owe a lot of my passion for photography to my teacher that year. He was an undergrad at Northwestern, and his experience there discovering his love for photography got me somewhat interested in the school for the first time. He still takes great photos, a bunch of which can be found here.

But this story isn't about him; it's about his wife. Two years ago he married a former physician and now musician named Rupa, who fronts the band Rupa & the April Fishes. A couple nights ago I went to the opening of an exhibit of photos taken by my high school classmates about the issue of immigration, and Rupa & the April Fishes played a set at the end of the night. I'd heard good things about them, but I never imagined anything like what they played. While any person could easily say the band falls under the painfully general "world music" label, I found them to be more of a genre-bending group, incorporating jazz, latin, and indian styles into their songs. My favorites of the night were "La Cocinera" and "The Elephant", which created a perfect sonic image of a herd of elephants walking next to the crowd.

The picture above shows the entire band, with one guest on the far right. Rupa sings and plays a nylon string guitar, and she's backed by drums, trumpet, bass, cello, and accordian. She sings in French, Spanish, and English, which I think really added a bit of flair to the set because you didn't really know what you were going to get until she opened her mouth. I was only able to find a few samples of the band's work around for free, but these two songs come from the band's own site, where you can buy their debut CD. Give it a listen, it was a really interesting live set, and they're playing some dates up and down the coast of California in the coming weeks if you're in the area so check them out.

Rupa & the April Fishes - Un Americaine a Paris
Rupa & the April Fishes - C'est Moi

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