Rupa & the April Fishes + Sunday Driver
A sound that is as difficult to define as life is to confine, the music of Rupa & the April Fishes pulls from eight years of street parties, festivals and symphonic concerts on three continents, three studio albums, one live album and one string quartet recording in the making, several languages from English to Tzotzil to French, many musical traditions, countless moments of joy, sorrow, loss, and transformation and a fierce independent spirit.
The band’s first album eXtraOrdinary rendition examines love from many angles, with lyrics mostly in French; the second Este Mundo traces the plight of migrants crossing borders, largely in Spanish; BUILD is their latest studio album primarily in English, produced with collaborator Todd Sickafoose. Its twelve songs examine the road from solitude to solidarity in both directions and arise from this particularly tender moment of global awakening—from the collapse of capitalism and false democracies to the rise of populist movements around the world. Their LIVE at the Independent album was produced at the request of fans who wanted to capture the wild balance of composition and improvisation that is the hallmark of the band’s rock performance. They are currently recording again with Todd Sickafoose, an exquisite collection of string quartet love songs arranged by composer Mark Orton for Quartet San Francisco.
The musicians—Aaron Kierbel, JHNO, Michael Shiono, Misha Khalikulov and Mario Alberto Silva—came from all over the world and converged in San Francisco to become the April Fishes with ringleader Rupa. In their work together, musical languages converge; from punk to indie rock, from reggae to raga to rockabolly, chanson to cumbia, from Malian guitar patterns to mournful duduk melodies. In other times and places musical traditions have met to forge a sound that is more insistence than resistance; this band and their music belong to that long tradition of rebel music.
“The April Fishes’ sound is ecstatic and powerfully evocative.” – LA Times
“Soulful and Sensous” – Relix Magazine