POPULAR LATIN BAND PERFORMS DURING DAY OF PEACE EVENT
Wow! Who are those guys?
That was the buzz around San Quentin when the April 28 Day of Peace featured the captivating music of Rupa and The April Fishes.
The April Fishes’ Latin sound had prisoners’ head bopping and dancing around the yard. The sound was different from the usual prison bands, said one prisoner.
The music they make defies simple labeling. They flow effortlessly between international styles and languages. Their socially conscious messages and fiery spirits are a true reflection of the global struggles of the times. From the U.S. Occupy movements to the civil war in Syria, they represent the soul of a new generation.
The group began when Rupa Marya and cellist Ed Baskerville were playing on the streets of San Francisco, in streetcars and art galleries. From there the musicians formed a band that produced three albums, La Pêcheuse (2006), eXtraOrdinary rendition (2008), and Este Mundo (2009). A fourth album, Bills, is scheduled for release in October.
Their band grew and they got their first big performance at the Red Poppy Art House. They have toured the U.S., Canada, along the U.S.-Mexico border, and even as far as Budapest.
Their name is from an April Fools tradition in France to stick paper fishes on unsuspecting peoples’ backs. According to legend, a French king decided to switch from the pagan calendar, when the New Year fell in April, to the Roman calendar. Those who resisted the change would continue to celebrate the New Year in April by giving out the fish.
“During the Bush Administration, we were feeling like April Fishes,” said Marya. “People who don’t believe the reality that’s handed to them by some higher order, but instead insist on the reality they perceive in front of them. It’s a political and social commentary.”
The band’s current world tour, the “April Fools Tour,” includes band members Safa Shokri (upright bass), Misha Khalikulov (cello), Mario Silva (trumpet), Aaron Kierbel (drums), and Rupa Marya (songstress,voice, guitar).