Music Review: Children of the Revolution

Liberation

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The first time I heard Children of the Revolution on stage I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Here, at last, is a band that brings together the eclectic sounds of the world that I love and presents them credibly as a seamless weave of passion, music and dance. Drawing together performers as diverse as their instruments and nationalities, Children of the Revolution lives up to their claim as "the World on One Stage." When performing, they live out their mission to promote unity through music, putting together combinations of people and music that in the political world would be awkward at best, violent at worst. An Iraqi dumbek player supports a Jewish clarinet player. A Joplineque folk/punk singer from Venezuela creates harmony with a Broadway violinist. A flamenco singer from Japan and a reformed hard-rocker turned classical guitarist provide the musical tapestry upon which a stunning flamenco dancer from Barcelona dances.

The strongest musical threads in their jaw-dropping breadth of sound are Greek and Spanish lyrics over Middle Eastern, Latin and flamenco rhythms, but don't be surprised to hear hip-hop, Gypsy, South American folk, Django-style swing, salsa, and ska, conjoined in an eccentric amalgamate that distinguishes their unique style. The range of instruments played with virtuosity would make an ethnomusicologist's head spin. Stringed instruments from the Greek bouzouki to the Turkish saz and baglama to the Venezuelan cuatro are played over a foundation of rhythm from percussion ranging from the Egyptian dumbek to Latin congas and Indian tablas, and rounded out with wind instruments like the Australian didgeridoo, the Bolivian zampoña and the North African/Arabian nay.

Wakefield Gregg (Krista Colleague ‘99) was so taken with Chapter One, a song from their previous album about love's ultimate sacrifice, that he decided to commission the group to write a song about Krista Hunt-Ausland's life and death for The Krista Foundation. Vassili and Eric Jaeger, who co-wrote the song, brought true artistic integrity to the project. They sought out and interviewed several of Krista's closest friends, they read her poetry and looked over dozens of photos of her life. Wakefield and I talked at length with Vassili and Eric over the course of several weeks, filling in the story and imagery they were exploring as they wrote the song.

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