Four years, festivals and village concerts on three continents, two previous albums, several languages from Hindi to Tzotzil to French, many musical traditions, and countless moments of joy, sorrow, loss, and transformation were the construction materials that came together for Rupa and the April Fishes' riveting new album BUILD, released in October 2012. This collaboration with brilliant producer Todd Sickafoose travels the long road from solitude to solidarity in both directions.
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 first album primarily in English. Its twelve songs arise from this particularly tender moment of global upheaval, from the collapse of capitalism and false democracies to the rise of populist movements from Tunisia to Chile to Athens to Wall Street. Playing live to varied audiences around the world has been the best way to carry out their mandate of learning how to see what is invisible and combat widespread social demoralization, the source that feeds these songs.
The musicians, Aaron Kierbel and Safa Shokrai, Misha Khalikulov and Mario Alberto Silva, came from all over the world, converged in San Francisco to become the April Fishes with ringleader Rupa whose Hindustani roots settled in California. In their work together, musical languages converge from around the world; 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, this album, belong to that long tradition of rebel music.