Corky Siegel and Kalyan Pathak: Blues, Classical, and Indian Music, From Chicago to Cobden

Venues & Businesses
Yellow Moon Cafe

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Corky Siegel and Chihsuan Yang: Classical Blues
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Who: Corky Siegel and Kalyan Pathak
What: chamber blues
When: 2017-03-10 - 2017-03-11
Corky Siegel, the Chamber Blues harmonica player, pianist, and composer, will present a weekend of m
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

Corky Siegel, the Chamber Blues harmonica player, pianist, and composer, will present a weekend of music with internationally renowned percussionist Kalyan Pathak Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11 at the Yellow Moon Café in Cobden. Tickets are on sale now during regular café hours for $35, cash only. Dinner reservations are required for seating.

Siegel was welcomed into the Chicago blues scene as an innovator in the 1960s when he cofounded the Siegel-Schwall Band, and has been at it ever since. He began heading in refreshing new directions by developing a hybrid musical form that features classical instruments, blues, and world music. He has won the Lila Wallace National Award for chamber-music composition and has been inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame. Among his recordings with the Chamber Blues ensemble are Complementary Colours (Gadfly Records, 1998) and Corky Siegel’s Traveling Chamber Blues Show! (Alligator Records, 2005).

Indian tabla player and percussionist Kalyan Pathak was musically active in his homeland and eventually settled in the United States after receiving a scholarship from Roosevelt University in the 1990s. One of his recent works is a 2016 album with Elizabeth Basta and Jazz Mata called Dream With the Dreamers, a world/Indian/classical/jazz recording dedicated to the power of love as expressed through Indian poetry.

Nightlife had a chat with Corky and Kalyan to explore the history and ideas behind their music. Here is an edited transcript.

You began playing chamber blues in 1960s Chicago. What inspired you to combine classical instruments like violin and cello with blues piano and harmonica? How was the public response to your efforts at the time?

Corky: The idea of bringing blues to classical was presented to me in 1966 by Maestro Seiji Ozawa, who asked if my band, Siegel-Schwall, would jam with his band, the Chicago Symphony. The performance took place at Ravina with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1968.

Seiji insisted that I pursue the juxtaposition of blues and classical. We performed at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony and also with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and received invitation from major orchestras around the world.

The five concerts at Lincoln Center in 1969 really stood out. When us hippies walked on stage with harmonicas, guitars, blue jeans, and long hair, the audience broke into a cacophony of boos and hisses. Seiji asked me, “What should we do?” He knew the answer, he was just asking me for the answer. I said, “Seiji, let’s have fun and play the music.”

At the end of the concert, the audience broke out into cheers and were on their feet immediately in total unison. For a twenty-some-year-old, this was life-changing. I saw hatred and anger completely dissipated by music.

With Chamber Blues, you have a forthcoming album, Different Voices, which you said is self-produced. Can you tell me a little more about this album set for release on April 7 and who appears there?

Corky: This album is the culmination of my life’s work. I’m still following the path of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and the blues masters. I’m still following the path that Maestro Seiji Ozawa and composer William Russo laid out for me. Besides presenting the intertwining of blues and classical, I’m bringing in different elements— that is, Different Voices. Ernie Watts is a jazz-saxophone icon. Marcy Levy is a rhythm-and-blues diva. Matthew Santos, singer/songwriter, sang “Superstar” with Lupe Fiasco. It’s not that I’m looking for names. I really love these people— they’re friends, and some of the best reps of their genre we can find.

Kalyan, you’re cited as an Indian and multi-ethnic percussionist. What other cross-cultural drum styles do you work with?

Kalyan: I’ve systematically studied Brazilian, West African, Afro-Cuban and Middle Eastern drumming traditions by going to masters of each one. I learned not to come through with my individual voice as an Indian drummer, but to learn and play the traditional voice and part first. Before any mixing up can happen, my focus for around twenty years has been to engage deeply in the drumming traditions I got into.

What is it about the tabla that sets it apart from other drum styles?

Kalyan: The tabla is deeply rooted in aural and oral tradition. All the sounds we make on the drums are conceived and conveyed in the special language of bols, the tabla syllables, words, phrases, and themes.

Today, there is a lot of interest in the jazz-drumming community about North Indian tabla bols and South Indian konnakol systems of vocalized drumming, mainly because such a study lends one in the mastery of odd time signatures and over-the-bar line phrasing. I find that the North Indian folk drums such as tabla, dhol, and dholak have many grooves that have two-against-three feeling of swing and shuffle that works well with blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, and funk.

What can we expect from your show in Cobden, and will your new album be available there?

Kalyan: One can expect danceable roots of rhythm and blues, meditative trance of Indian music, and the musical freedom of jazz. They blend into a new lyrical language where laughter, pranks, and puns are all allowed.

Corky: The new album won’t be released until April 7. We just received the first review [in Midwest Record], which I think was inspired by the Academy Awards show: ... so cinematic that it’s better than most of the movies coming out these days. This is smoking, out-of-the ordinary stuff.... Totally killer.”

I think he liked it.

who: Corky Siegel and Kalyan Pathak

what: chamber blues

where: Yellow Moon Café


when: Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11

Fourth Friday Fair: Presenting Earth Day

Swamp Tigers

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Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Main Street

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Swamp Tigers: Celebrating a New Record at the CarbondaleRocks Revival

Who: Carbondale Main Street; local charities
What: Community Fourth Friday Fair w/ Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble / Swamp Tigers
When: 2016-04-22
Pictured: Swamp Tigers.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A seasonal favorite is set to celebrate evenings in the sun by revering the Mother Planet herself.

The Fourth Friday Fair presents Earth Day this Friday, April 22, with a series of events to be held in and near the Town Square Pavilion. The fair is the first in the monthly series, and it will take place beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m.

Carbondale Main Street executive director Meghan Cole said the inaugural fair for the 2016 season marks changes in what was once a weekly event. This year, Main Street is shifting the fair to once a month. Each fair will have a special theme (biking on May 27 and Latino heritage on September 23, for example). In addition, those who are twenty-one or older may legally bring alcohol to the fairs so long as it’s not in glass containers.

Cole, however, said the Fourth Friday Fairs are slated to feature the same family friendly activities of years past, including a giant Jenga game, coloring stations, a bead-making booth, food vendors, flower planting with the Carbondale Park District, and bounce houses.

“The kids will be able to create something nice for either Mothers’ Day or Earth Day,” Cole said.

Two bands are scheduled to perform during the fair. SIWADE (the Southern Illinois West African Drumming Ensemble) specializes in traditional percussion. Also performing that evening is local band the Swamp Tigers. The rockabilly trio from Carbondale is set to drop a new CD next month.

Cole said the upcoming Fourth Friday Fair is meant to be about neighbors and enjoying everything the environment provides.

“Earth Day is inherent to the fair,” she said. “We wanted the event to be about community, about sustainability, and also about healthful information.”

Cole added that as the days get longer and the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, the Fourth Friday Fairs turn up at an opportune time to provide fun for all ages.

“It has something for everyone,” she said.

For more information about the Fourth Friday Fairs, check out <>.

who: Carbondale Main Street

what: Community Fourth Friday Fair w/ Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble / Swamp Tigers

where: Town Square Pavilion


when: Friday, April 22

Hot! Sauce - Café Flat - Gracias

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Band Members
Mike Alderfer - bass, vocals - Mel Goot - keyboards, vocals - Tom Hensold - timbale kit, vocals - Larry Millard - congas, djembe, percussion - Lucy Perez - vocals, percussion - Buddy Rogers - saxes, flute - Stephen Santiago - guitars, trumpet, vocals
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Habib Koité: African Guitar Virtuoso Hits Marion

Venues & Businesses
Marion Cultural and Civic Center

More Articles
Ladysmith Black Mambazo Returns: Sounds of Heaven from South Africa

Who: Habib Koité
What: worldbeat
When: 2014-03-01
Habib Koité of Mali, currently on a U.S. tour with his band Bambada, will perform Saturday, March 1
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary


Habib Koité of Mali, currently on a U.S. tour with his band Bambada, will perform Saturday, March 1 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

Habib is a fascinating, world-renowned guitarist. He began learning to play music at an early age by listening to his parents and family. Habib comes from a line of noble, traditional, Khassonké griot singers and players. He told Nightlife that griots come from a caste, or special group. In Mali the griots are known as Koité, and the Koité griots are versed in the musical style and tradition native to the Malian culture of West Africa.

Habib formed Bambada in 1988. Their track "Nanalé" won the Radio France International Discoveries Prize, which landed the group their first overseas tour. Since then they arguably have become the most internationally well-known and well-traveled group from Mali. They have eight albums available in the States, the most recent of which, Soo, has just been released. The album should be available at the March 1 performance as well as through local record stores.

Although Habib was steeped in the griot style of Mali, his music takes snippets of technique and flavor from countless worldwide musical influences.

This makes the music of Habib Koité and Bambada accessible— it speaks on a human level. It is uplifting, peaceful, and no doubt groovy. Get on your computer and delve at <>.

For tickets, call (618) 997-4030 or visit <>.

Nightlife spoke with Habib Koité and learned a bit more about his history, musical style, and personality, and here’s how it went:

How is the tour going? Where are you now? Do you like it there?

I'm really happy because we get everywhere an amazing welcome from the public. And we begin with California, where we have a lot of fans, a lot of friends. I feel good in this area.

I feel a real enthusiasm. Several friends confess how great is the new version— new band and new tracks— more acoustic— no more drum kit.

Can you tell us a bit about how you got started playing music?

Nobody really taught me to sing or to play the guitar. I watched my parents, and it washed off on me. I come from a noble line of Khassonké griots, traditional troubadours who provide wit, wisdom, and musical entertainment at social gatherings and special events. I grew up surrounded by seventeen brothers and sisters, and developed a unique guitar style accompanying my griot mother. I inherited my passion for music from my paternal grandfather who played the kamele n’goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters from the Wassoulou region of Mali.

And then, even if my parents were not so enthusiastic, I went to the Institute of Arts in Bamako [in Mali] to learn more about music.

Did you ever think you would be touring around the world?

Hmm... difficult to answer because I should go back twenty years in the past.... But for sure, at the begin[ning], I played music for the pleasure to play, to do that with friends of mine I played first with friends, in private areas [for family and friends], and little by little, I played in clubs in Bamako, and then out of the city. Some people were speaking about us, we went out of Mali and meet some people, and here I am.

Do you have a favorite country to perform in?

First of all, I like to play in my country, Mali. I like to play for my family, my friends. It's important for me to play around all those people and get their warm[th]. Out of Mali, I have a preference for California, where I feel a bit like at home thanks to all the fans and friends I can meet there.

You music has a very peaceful and healing sound. Is this part of the message?

Maybe my person is peaceful. I just want to have a peaceful life, and it's what I wish to all the people around me.

What are some of the main themes of your lyrics?

Social life, society and daily life, politics, love, environment

You come from a line of griot singers? What is a griot exactly?

Griot is coming from a caste, special group. In Mali and Mandinguo areas, the griot is coming from the family Koité, Diabaté, Soumaro, and the more noble are the Koité. We say in Mali, if you want to be a griot, change your name and become a Koité.

The griot knows the story of the Mandinguo history, the genealogy, the story of all the populations— princes, kings. They know how to speak to the important people, they know the protocol in the special events of the daily life. They do speeches in case of death, birth, marriage. They know all the stories of each member of families, they can speak peacefully in several events like a death... to bring serenity in the family. They were and they are still in charge of important people. They get money for their social work. They take care of people. They are paid for that. They are people who never have troubles to survive, for the daily life, like many other people.

Which traditional style is your original music most influenced by?

I made some research about classical music and from the beginning I play guitar like traditional instruments. Since I was young, I played musics from all around Mali and from all around the world as well— music from U.S., Europe, Africa. So I got influences of many kind of musics, and for sure what I play is not only Malian music.

I take advantage of all the richness of the musics I heard... but keeping at the same time a foot in my Malian roots, because the point of departure is my Malian identity and my imagination with influences around.

Another point is the fact I play several rhythms from different Malian [ethnicities]. I'm trying to keep the essence, the key of the ethnic rhythms, and each person coming from several parts of Mali can recognize what I do play.

What is the message of your original music?

First of all, I want to show to Malian people that we have... such richness in our country. Many nice stuff in the tradition, but as the same time I try to open with other directions. I show a kind of evaluated version of Mali in my music.

One foot in the past, one foot to the future.

I'm using many rhythms together from several micro cultures, making an unique music. Wishing bring all the people together thanks to music.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Hmmm... how am I to give advice? I don't have any pretension to give comments.

Play, have fun playing music, and work, again and again, without any idea about the money you can win with music. Just think about music and don't fix any planning, plans of budget, of career. Reality of the musician is different. Just do it!

Who is your favorite American bands/groups dead or alive?

Dire Straits— I was listening a lot and I played as well in clubs.

who: Habib Koité

what: worldbeat

where: Marion Cultural and Civic Center

when: Saturday, March 1


Ladysmith Black Mambazo Returns: Sounds of Heaven from South Africa

Venues & Businesses
Marion Cultural and Civic Center

Who: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
What: worldbeat
When: 2014-02-17
The impossibly incredible three-time Grammy-winning South African a cappella choir Ladysmith Black M
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

The impossibly incredible three-time Grammy-winning South African a cappella choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform Monday, February 17 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

You may have heard Ladysmith Black Mambazo in passing on Paul Simon’s Graceland album. But if you are not totally familiar with their music, stop reading this now, get on the internet, and listen to them. Nightlife will be here when you return, likely in a better mood, lifted. Start at their website, at <>.

The epic journey of Ladysmith Black Mambazo began in the early 1960s in South Africa. Founding member Joseph Shabalala (now seventy-three years old) assembled the choral group, which quickly became the most revered and successful South African group.

Simon brought them to the States in the late 1980s. The group is featured on both the Graceland album, and the Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey documentary provides an in-depth look at how the American singer/songwriter found the group and helped bring them to a worldwide audience.

Simon, however, is not the sole reason for the group’s success— that comes from their immense talent and message of peace. The music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo is healing, uplifting, and heavenly. It is the essence of peace, the embodiment of love, in audio form.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has released more than eighty— yes, you read that right, eighty— albums since 1973, a figure that only counts releases available in the States. Earlier this year they released Always With Us, a tribute to the life of the late Nellie Shabalala, wife of Mambazo’s founder. The album features the voices of female Zulu vocalists, and is apparently only the second of their albums to do so.

If you did not listen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo when prompted to do so earlier in this article, you should do so now. As you listen, imagine seeing them live— then, if you haven't bought tickets to their performance yet, they are on sale (618) 997-4030 and <>.

It is a blessing that Ladysmith is still touring, and a further blessing that they are performing again in Southern Illinois, having played at Shryock in the 1990s.

Here is Nightlife’s interview with Albert Mazibuko, who has been with the group since 1969:

How have you been?

Overall, we are very well. Difficult times, to some extent, as we are still very emotional about the passing of Nelson Mandela. He was very important to our country and our people, so now that he has gone we have a deep hole inside all of us that we need to fill with goodness. Also, our group founder and leader, Joseph Shabalala, has not been able to join us on this tour. Joseph underwent back surgery a couple of months ago, and his recovery has been slow. He wanted to be with us, but at seventy-three years old the rest of the group felt that flying to the USA and traveling for two months in the difficult USA winter would be too harsh for him. We forced him to stay home and recover so he can join us later this year.

Do you all stay at home in South Africa when you are not touring?

Yes, we all live outside the city of Durban, which is on the Eastern Coast of South Africa. We were born near Ladysmith, South Africa, but moved to Durban to find work in the 1960s. We never left. Some people wonder whether we live in the USA or elsewhere, but South Africa is home. It's who we are, what our culture is. I don't think any of us could imagine living anywhere else. It's a blessing that we do get to travel to many places, so even though we don't live in these other places we do get to experience them.

Are you excited to be touring the U.S. again?

Very much so. The people in the USA welcome us back year after year. We've been doing concerts in the USA since we first started singing with Paul Simon in 1986. That's almost thirty years of coming over every year. It's been so wonderful. The people in the USA seem to love our music. We enjoy sharing it with you.

Do you have a favorite place to perform in the United States?

So many different places we travel to, I don't think we could pick just one. We've been to every state, including Alaska. Every place has its own unique beauty to it. I love traveling around the USA because it is constantly changing as we move around. From New York to Virginia to Texas, Hawaii, Illinois, everywhere. Such a beautiful country the USA is.

Your 2013 release Live: Singing for Peace Around the World was nominated for a Grammy! How exciting! Can you tell us a bit about the album?

Grammy nominee again! That is our fifteenth nomination. We've won the Grammy Award three times, too.

This CD was special for us, because many years ago Nelson Mandela said to us that we had to be the cultural ambassadors from South Africa to the rest of the world. He said we needed to help spread his message of peace, love, and harmony. We've been following his words ever since.

Singing for peace around the world is what we do. So we took many of our best songs and put them on this CD called Live: Singing for Peace Around the World, and we dedicated it to Nelson Mandela. He's the one who told us to do this. Now it's been called one of the four best world-music CDs by the Grammy Awards for 2013. So, fantastic!

After Mandela passed away we told everyone that if they buy the CD we will honor Mandela by donating all the sales money to his charity. So many people have gone to our website to buy it so they can honor Mandela. It's been a blessing.

Can you tell us a bit about your album Always With Us that is coming out this year?

Our group's founder and leader, Joseph Shabalala, was married to Nellie Shabalala for over thirty years. Nellie was his greatest support. In fact, she was to all of us in the group. She was like our mother, always taking care of us. When we were all traveling the world, she would make certain our families were okay, and if they needed anything she would help them. When we were rehearsing at home she would always have food for us. She was a wonderful person. She ran Joseph's church while he was gone. Nellie had her own small church choir with ladies. Joseph recorded them in 2000 and we all loved their singing.

Sadly, Nellie died in 2002, and we wanted to honor her life and her memory somehow. We did in small ways at home, but a few years later we found out we could take these recordings, of Nellie and her group, and we could sing with her songs. We could add our voices to Nellie's voice. We thought this was wonderful. Nellie could be singing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. So we spent about two years working on these recordings to make them sound beautiful. We finally accomplished this last year. It is our first CD that has Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing with female voices from home. The songs are so beautiful. We are very proud of them, and we think people will love to hear the CD.

Your music seems to have healing aspect. Do you believe that music can heal?

Absolutely. This is our message. When our country was suffering from Apartheid, we felt it was our role to sing to bring happiness to people during the difficult times. We know this worked, as people would always tell us they loved hearing our songs, that they felt calmed and happy when they listen. We've met so many people that tell us that they listen to our music when they need to find happiness, when they are so sad they need help coming back. It's a special thing to be able to do this for people. We accept this role we play with great honor.

who: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

what: worldbeat

where: Marion Cultural and Civic Center

when: Monday, February 17

AfroZep’s Percussive Covers: The Song Doesn’t Remain Exactly the Same

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

Who: AfroZep / Chatsworth and Dupree
What: worldbeat, Led Zeppelin tribute
When: 2013-04-18
Imagine Fela Kuti covering Led Zeppelin-- the music of Led Zeppelin with an African twist. The resul
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Imagine Fela Kuti covering Led Zeppelin-- the music of Led Zeppelin with an African twist. The result is AfroZep, which will play Thursday, April 13 at the Hangar 9.

The band-- Marshall Greenhouse on drums, Ryan Behling on vocals and bass, and Wilson on guitar-- rearranges Led Zeppelin songs with African influences. “We seek out various styles of music throughout the whole continent of African and fuse those elements to songs by our favorite rock band,” Greenhouse tells Nightlife. “Me and the guitarist were invited to see Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience a few months ago. He met the singer and mentioned AfroZep. He told us that he knew of us and that he thought it was such a great way to interpret the music and that if Page and Plant aren’t aware of us, he knows they would be excited about where we've taken their music.”

Find out more at <>, and read on for Nightlife’s interview with the band.

Tell us a bit of the history of AfroZep.

Behling: The band was born out of a desire to bring this strange mashup idea that started in Marshall’s head to fruition.... But we had so much fun and saw so much potential that, three years later, we’re still at it.

Greenhouse: I had been playing Afrobeat for many years, but rock music was my first love. I had mentioned the idea [for AfroZep] to Ryan, and he really pushed to get it going. We then reached out to Wilson, who I had known from the band One-thousand Vertical Feet, and the three of us started working on arrangements. We got enough music down for a nice set and then brought in the horns and percussion. We set up two weekends of tours and thought that would be it, but then we booked a Chicago show and shortly after got some great recognition from some major local media. We then took it a little further and decided to record a few tunes. Now here we are three years later, ten songs recorded and countless shows under our belt.

How did you get into Afrobeat? Who is the best? Fela?

Greenhouse: I’ve been listening to and playing Afrobeat for many years now. Fela is definitely the guy that got me into it, so much that I named my dog Fela, then shortly after started Chicago Afrobeat Project. That all being said, we don’t only play Afrobeat. We love all kinds of African styles. I’d say right now my favorite is desert blues, groups like Tinariwen and Bombino.

Of all of the bands in the history of music, why play Led Zeppelin?

Behling: Who else? Led Zeppelin was inspired by many different types of music, and as they grew they expanded their scope. You can hear many African and Middle Eastern influences in some of their later albums in addition to the blues influence, a descendant of African music, that has always driven their music. Putting the two styles together, while at first seemed like a daunting task, proved to be quite easy, because they seemed to be coming from the same place. After the first AfroZep tour, we toyed with the idea of doing AfroFloyd, but after a few attempts it just didn’t have the same inherent, though certainly not obvious, connection.

Wilson: Marshall and I... grew up listening to Led Zeppelin. They are a great band for young aspiring musicians to become acquainted with. The culmination of African styles melded with Zeppelin seemed very appropriate. Zeppelin’s most sacred influence was from northern African music-- Morocco, Egypt, and Mali. As we were creating our arrangements, this became very apparent. AfroZep’s main focus is to spread African influence properly. Playing Led Zeppelin is a great way to convey the vibe.

Who is all in the band and what do they play?

Greenhouse: [In addition to Behling, Wilson and myself], we then have a handful of Chicago’s best jazz and funk horn players and traditional African drummers that we use, but since they are all high-demand musicians in their respective scenes, we play different shows with different artists. For this show we will be bringing Garrick Smith on baritone sax. Garrick plays with a bunch of bands in Chicago, including the Chicago Afrobeat Project. We are also very fortunate to have both Kyle Madsen on tenor sax and Drew Littell on percussion from Genome. And for the first time we are happy to be bringing Andrew Elbert along on this tour. Andrew is one of the top djembe players in Chicago. You’ll see he gets the drum to sound like you’ve never heard before.

Are there vocals?

Behling: Yes, I’m the singer, and goddamn are the notes high! But it has led to my nomination as Chicago Male Vocalist of the Year in the Chicago Music Awards. But I lost. Or didn’t win. One of the two.

Do you play any originals?

Greenhouse: Every song we play is a Led Zeppelin song, but we put a lot of originality and creativity into each arrangement. Some songs we do are mashups of Zeppelin and songs from musicians such as Tinariwen, Fela Kuti, [and] Mulatu Astatke, but most have original grooves based the techniques and styles found throughout Africa. Ryan, Wilson, and I did start an original band about a year after playing together as AfroZep called Kava... a mixture of heavy psychedelic rock, electronics and world rhythms.... Nowadays we actually spend about seventy-five percent of our time working on Kava because we do prefer playing original music. Every once in awhile, Wilson will say, “Kava needs to cover...” but Ryan and I won’t allow any covers in that band because AfroZep is our outlet for that.... Ryan, Wilson, and I are just finishing up our first full-length album with Kava.

Are the members involved in other bands?

Greenhouse: Ryan also plays with 56 Hope Road. Wilson has a group called Quantum Mechanics. I play in a drum duo with Greg Fundis, who is now playing with Old Shoe and Fareed Haque called Shiny Faced Monks. We also all do some random projects here and there. For example, I have to drive back after our April 20 show Saturday night to be ready for a Noon Kids show.

What can we expect at the show?

Behling: Lots of energy. Bring your dancing shoes. It’s the raw energy of Zep plus the danceability of African music. You really can’t go wrong with that combination.

Wilson: Booty-shakin, rippin’ guitar, amazing vocals, and more drums than you have ever expected.

Zeppelin incorporates Lord of the Rings mythology within their music. Which Lord of the Rings is your favorite?

Greenhouse: I can’t answer that one. Can’t believe I love Zeppelin this much and have to admit that I’ve never read any of the books or seen any of the movies.

Behling: Michael Jordan.

What is next for you guys?

Greenhouse: We performed Houses of the Holy in its entirety for our Halloween show and just got done recording the first three tracks. Hope to continue that project and get the whole album out at some point. I also would love to get an arrangement down for “Achilles Last Stand” soon.

who: AfroZep / Chatsworth and Dupree

what: worldbeat, Led Zeppelin tribute

where: Hangar 9

when: Thursday, April 18

Wei Zhongle’s Raised High/Brought Low Channeling Some of Carbondale Most Unique Music

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9
Tres Hombres

More Articles
Wei Zhongle: A Beautiful Sound

Who: Wei Zhongle
What: CD release party (experimental pop, world music)
When: 2013-04-04 - 2013-04-11
Rob Jacobs and the most recent incarnation of his band Wei Zhongle are consistently pushing the boun
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Rob Jacobs and the most recent incarnation of his band Wei Zhongle are consistently pushing the boundaries of creativity in our local music scene. They will perform Thursday, April 4 at the Hangar 9 with Morning Teleportation and Schools, then celebrate the unofficial release of their third CD, Raised High/Brought Low, Thursday, April 11 at Tres Hombres.

Wei Zhongle’s music derives from eastern and world-music sounds and concepts, including the Gamelan styles of Indonesia as well as African and Chinese orchestral music, all fused with expressive lyrics filled with nonlinear thoughts. The results are made unique by the individuality, personality, and truly creative talents of all of the players in the group.

Jacobs’s music is as unique and captivating as his ideas on where music comes from.

“I think that the best music does not come from the mind of a person,” Jacobs told Nightlife. “In my experience writing music, I am continually baffled by how the music seems to come from a place that is completely unknown to my conscious mind. I find that to write music that I think is good, I have to be in a total state of receptivity. It’s like channeling. I think most times music does come from the mind of a person, but when this happens it seems to be a very mechanical process. I am not generally very interested in music that has that quality. My favorite music has a quality which indicates that it came from somewhere other than a mechanical human mind. All or most of the music on our new record has this quality. It came from somewhere else. I merely emptied myself in order to be prepared to receive it. However, I will admit that I do not know where it came from.”

The band has played the five songs on Raised High/Brought Low live since November. They recorded it in David Allen’s studio, with local artist Marty Lee Hagler contributing the cover art.

The Tres show is technically not the release party, as the band isn’t sure they’ll have CDs for sale by then, but Jacobs said the album will be available for download on Bandcamp by April 11. They hope to have CDs in time for a May tour that will take Wei Zhongle through the Midwest, then to the East Coast with a duo from Asheville, North Carolina called Shenzhen. They’re hoping to find a label to handle a vinyl pressing.

Jacobs said that Raised High/Brought Low is based on a concept.

“The theme is about the paradox between wallowing around in the figurative mud of a psyche that has been overexposed to dense and ugly impressions, and having your consciousness raised to levels that feed on the finer impressions that can be generated by meditation, certain music, art, and creative acts of all kinds,” Jacobs said. “In other words, you could say it is about depression interspersed with rare and powerful moments of exaltation and ecstasy that fade away and remain ungraspable.”

For more information, search for Wei Zhongle on Bandcamp.

who: Wei Zhongle

what: CD release party (experimental pop, world music)

where: Hangar 9; Tres Hombres

when: Thursday, April 4; Thursday, April 11

Wei Zhongle: A Beautiful Sound



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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

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Jewels: Introducing a New Local Jazz Trio’s Debut CD

Who: Wei Zhongle
What: devotional, experimental new music
When: 2012-12-13
Wei Zhongle. Wei Zhongle. Wei Zhongle. What is that?
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Wei Zhongle. Wei Zhongle. Wei Zhongle.

What is that?

“It sort of looks at a human being as a seed that has potential for enormous growth,” bandleader Rob Jacobs tells Nightlife about local group Wei Zhongle’s name, lyrics, and music.

Since the band’s inception, Wei Zhongle has been a steady, must-see force on the music scene in Carbondale as well as on the road. They next perform Thursday, December 13 at the Hangar 9 with the Jewels and Little Egypt.

Wei Zhongle consists of Jacobs on guitar and vocals, John McCowen of the Jewels on clarinet, SIU graduate John Goodman on clarinet, Carly Lappin of the Black Fortys on bass, and Sam Klickner of Freedom Ride on drums.

Wei Zhongle’s engaging but challenging music derives from many eastern and world influences, including Gamelan styles of Indonesia as well as African and Chinese orchestral music, fused with lyrics filled with nonlinear thoughts. The clarinets weave improbable patterns around curious ears. Jacob’s vocals sound like pure waves of how-does-he-do-that-I-wonder-if-he-is-alien with hints of Dirty Projectors’ vocal sculpture. Klickner’s King Crimson-influenced drumming is as precise as it gets, thickened with Lappin’s puzzle-piece basslines to form an impressive whole.

The current Wei Zhongle lineup is a bit heavier than previous incarnations. The band’s instrumentation has changed around quite a bit, and their attitude is more aggressive than before, but in a good way.

“I’m interested in trying to get people to think differently, like have different thought processes... to think outside of the way they usually think,” Jacobs says. “So if you listen to this music, then I’ll be playing a phrase over and over, then the clarinets will be playing a different phrase over that-- which doesn’t really go with my phrase, but if you’re listening to it you will be able to take one part of your brain and match it up with what, like, say, my guitar part’s doing, and another part of your brain with what the clarinets are doing, and if you can somehow synthesize that in your head, it’s like a mind exercise. Suddenly you find yourself thinking in two different ways at the same time.

“In the West we don’t really think about that,” Jacobs continues. “We are used to thinking on a singular line... and I am interested in thinking with multiplicity, so that can be expressed in music. That is the appeal of the whole eastern influence, because they already think like that, they understand multiplicity.”

To stream audio and video, search for Wei Zhongle on Bandcamp.

who: Wei Zhongle

what: devotional, experimental new music

where: Hangar 9

when: Thursday, December 13

Rusted Root: Domestic World Beats on Their Way to Southern Illinois

Venues & Businesses
Rustle Hill Winery

Who: Rusted Root / Bone Dry River Band
What: world music
When: 2011-10-13
Rusted Root: Domestic World Beats on Their Way to Southern Illinois
T.J. Jones
Video Comentary

For nearly two decades, Pittsburgh’s Rusted Root has given fans a unique blend of world music that shares and borrows the best elements of American bluegrass and folk, reggae and Carribean music, as well as African, Latin, and Indian influences. When I Woke, which contained the hit song “Send Me on My Way,” was a massive hit on college radio in 1994, as well as their second album. Since then the band has released four albums and a bevy of live recordings.

Situated comfortably between Paul Simon’s era of flirting with African beats and indie rockers Vampire Weekend and their worldbeat-influenced songs, Rusted Root is the sort of American band that is a veritable melting pot of influences-- and what’s more American than that?

Rusted Root will perform Thursday, October 13 at Rustle Hill Winery with the Bone Dry River Band. Advance tickets range in price from $15 to $75, with the top price range including free parking, special seating, and a musician meet-and-greet. Tickets are on sale now at <>, at (618) 453-6000, or at any Southern Tickets Online walkup location, including Shryock Auditorium and McLeod Theater. Tickets will sell for $20 at the door.

Nightlife recently caught up with frontman Michael Glambicki to discuss the band’s songwriting, their famed live shows, and how it feels to be a Twentieth Century Master. Learn more about the band at <>.

I hear the band is working on a new album that will be released sometime near March 2012. How’s that process going?

We’re really excited about this record. The fans are liking a lot of it because we’re developing a lot of it at our live concerts. Sometimes you write a new song and you look for feedback and you realize something is not working.

What’s it like fine-tuning songs in front of an audience, and how does it go from being a song in its infancy to a finished song on a record?

The ultimate goal is to work it up live and have [a song] have live energy. When you do a song live, you figure out what it needs arrangement-wise and fine-tune it. There’s nothing more honest than that. And you just know when you’re done. You don’t even think about it-- you just know. The energy’s right there and you go with it. The ultimate goal is to work out [a new song] and not be thinking about the studio at all. For us, we just like to come off tour and head into the studio and record it as true to the live show as possible.

I noticed there a quite a few live shows recorded that are available on the band’s website. How does the band choose what live shows are deemed good enough to warrant a release?

The sound of the room is important to the sonic quality of the performance. After that, I just look for shows that are more unique than other shows. We might have a show where something interesting occurred. It could just be certain communications with the other band members or it could be a light-hearted night where a lot of funny stuff happens or a lot of different musical ideas might just come up on a certain night.

I love what Rusted Root is doing with their Fortunate Freaks Unite campaign. It seems like the best thing for independent musicians and indie music lovers to do-- give the money straight to the bands as opposed to giving it to a middleman.

There are other bands that are doing that sort of thing, like on [the fundraising website] Kickstart. We just wanted to sit down and come up with ideas and packages that we could get to the fans that we were comfortable with and we’d get excited about. It’s been fun and it’s gotten a really good response. We’re thankful that it’s working. We’re offering everything from signed drumheads to playing in a fan’s living room, just cool stuff like that. It’s just a much more grassroots thing and we’re very thankful for that. That’s where we started, and our base is just that. When it’s not [grassroots], not everything works as well.

Rusted Root has been around for nearly two decades, which is quite a feat for any band. What has made it work throughout all these years?

I always make the joke that we have real bad short-term memories. We just try to make everything fresh. We’ve been playing for twenty years or whatever. All these things have a life of their own. Sometimes you get tired of certain songs, but other songs you find something new in them every night and it’s pretty incredible. It’s just a constant exploring with songs and sounds. I think a consistency of moving forward just keeps us alive.

I noticed that Rusted Root has a best-of compilation through the Twentieth Century Masters collection [which is a rather generic best-of collection that’s usually found at the checkout line at big-box stores]. How does it feel to be a band lucky enough to have a Best Of?

It’s great. I wish we did have a little more input in that-- you could tell the record company put that out. However, it feels great. It kind of feels funny, you know? We don’t think much about the long-term. I’m always thinking like a little kid. When stuff like that comes up it’s like, “Okay, cool.”

who: Rusted Root

what: world music

where: Rustle Hill Winery

when: Thursday, October 13 w/ Bone Dry River Band

Bolokada Conde and Morikeba Kuoyate: Masters of African Music Traditions

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9
Yellow Moon Cafe

Who: Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble, Bolokada Conde, and Morikeba Kouyate
What: traditional African music
When: 2011-08-25 - 2011-08-28
Bolokada Conde and Morikeba Kuoyate: Masters of African Music Traditions
T.J. Jones
Video Comentary

Beginning Thursday, August 25 two of modern Africa's most important and well-respected musicians will perform in and around Carbondale in an event known as Masters of African Music Traditions. The three-day event will see Bolokada Conde and Morikeba Kuoyate come to perform, educate, and enlighten the citizens of Little Egypt.

“Traditional African music doesn't come without the culture,” Larry Millard, organizer of the Masters of African Music Traditions and member of the Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble, tells Nightlife. “The culture, by nature, involves the community, so to be interested in African music means that you're interested in bringing that to people.”

Bolokada Conde, who will perform Thursday, August 25 at the Hangar 9 and Sunday, August 28 at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, is a master of the djimbe drum and the subject of an upcoming documentary and an IMAX film. A world traveler since 1996 and a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2004 to 2011, Bolokada Conde is a direct descendant of the creators of the djimbe drum.

Millard says that having storyteller and kora (African harp) player Morikeba Kuoyate at the same event with Conde is a watershed moment for Carbondale’s greater musical landscape.

“To bring Morikeba here at the same time as Bolokada Conde is to make this a very diverse event, and their understanding of African music will be more diverse and expanded,” Millard says. “It takes it to the next level. It's great to have two types of African music together, who have a different history and their own uniqueness, but to be able to bring these two people together-- Bolokada Conde and Morikeba Kouyate-- to a place like Carbondale is amazing.”

Like master djimbe player Conde, Kuoyate is a direct descendant of the creators of his musical tradition. A master storyteller, Kuoyate's lineage can be traced back to the original storytellers, the griot or jali, which means “the carrier of the oral traditions” among the Mandinka people. The first of these people were the Kuoyate-- Morikeba's ancestors. As a storyteller and master kora player, Kuoyate has also had his own radio program in Dakar and has performed for numerous world leaders.

As a member of SIWADE, Millard says it was his responsibility as a musician and lover of African music to help bring these two musical and cultural giants to the area.

“One of my duties in life is to share what I know,” Millard says. “To find something that you love and appreciate but keep it to yourself, well, you're not contributing or sharing. You're not participating in making the world a better place. If I can share [traditional African music] with people even in just a small point in time, they can extract something from that and they can find beauty in it. If somebody comes to one of these events and they have a good time or they find it fulfilling, or if they can learn about history or if they can even find some kind of spiritual connection to it, then that can make their life better and maybe it can change the way it can make them relate to people.”

The three-day event will begin Thursday, August 25 at the Hangar 9. Bolokada Conde, Morikeba Kuoyate, and the Southern Illinois West African Drumming Ensemble will share the stage throughout the evening for the event's inaugural bash. A Morikeba Kuoyate solo show will take place Saturday, August 27 at the Yellow Moon Café in Cobden, and the final event will take place Sunday, August 28 at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship. Dubbed the Meeting of the Masters, the Sunday event will take place at 2 p.m. and will feature demonstrations and question-and-answer sessions. Audiences are encouraged to bring a dish to pass for the pot luck.

Bolokada Conde has performed at the Varsity Theater and the Yellow Moon Café in the past. Both times, the shows have sold out and people had to be turned away. Millard hopes this three-day event will expose as many people as possible to the music and culture of Africa.

Find out more information at SIWADE’s Facebook page.

who: Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble, Bolokada Conde, and Morikeba Kouyate

what: traditional African music

where: Hangar 9; Yellow Moon Café ; Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship

when: Thursday, August 25; Saturday, August 27; Sunday, August 28

Tone Road Ramblers: Taking Music Outside the Box

Who: Tone Road Ramblers
What: avant-garde jazz, world music
When: 2011-04-08
Tone Road Ramblers: Taking Music Outside the Box
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary

On Friday, April 8, experimental-music group the Tone Toad Ramblers will perform at Shryock Theater as part of the Outside the Box Music Festival. Since 1981, the group has explored the boundaries of traditional music. Incorporating a wide range of styles, including jazz, world, and microtonal music, their sound is often difficult to categorize.

"It's really more about an experience and not about a description," says Tone Road Ramblers member Eric Mandat, who is also a professor of clarinet and a distinguished scholar at SIU. "It kind of defies a description."

Like Harry Partch or Philip Glass, the Tone Road Ramblers have favored free creative experimentation over mass audience appeal. This has meant alienating certain music fans, especially those who seek nothing beyond the escapism of the top forty. But it has also introduced many listeners to thinking about very different musical possibilities.

"I think because the pre-performance descriptions are so inadequate," Mandat says, "it's difficult for people to have strong preconceived notions about what the music is. And it means that the experience has no basis in a personal history, necessarily, unless they're already conversant with free improvisation or microtonal music. So there are things that they can latch on to, but they're not the same things for each person."

Mandat joined the group in 1989, and says it was an easy process of adaptation because "right from the start we recognized that we shared a similar aesthetic view of music creation."

Much of this process of creation involves an active collaboration from all of the group's members. Each year they gather from across the country to catch up, share personal experiences, and exchange possible music ideas.

"There's not a guarantee that anything is gonna come out," Mandat says. "The getting together part of it is really more reconnecting and about sort of the music equivalent of what happens when a bunch of really good friends get together. They tell stories about what they've been up to, they reconnect, there are sub-groups, there's everybody laughing together, there's one-on-one time. So what happens is that the music that we explore during those times of getting together is really just a non-verbal analogy to our conversations."

Purchase tickets online at <>, by phone at (618) 453-6000, or in person at Shryock Auditorium. For more information, including the complete schedule for the Outside the Box Music Festival, visit <>.

who: Tone Road Ramblers

what: avant-garde jazz, world music

where: Shryock Auditorium

when: Friday, April 8

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