Los Angeles Canyon News:
KOKOPELLI SURMOUNTS SOCIETAL NORMS
It's amazing how one can hear a magical tune and suddenly realize what has been lacking in music. We lack that base we seemingly no longer hear, where all music primitively began an unknown amount of years ago; we lack pure, solid instruments. Yet the adult alternative, progressive pop band, Kokopelli, is a beaming display of those using utmost music know-how to create melodies of contemporary instrumental beauty. Their album, "Forever for Now," is a remarkable compilation of 10 songs filled with diverse instruments and sounds supported by various ethnic backgrounds.
Having been together for two years now, the most unique quality of Kokopelli is their close friendship among such extreme ethnic diversity. Consisting of main vocalist, Scott Baldyga, who also plays the keyboard and guitar, Violinist Varujan, Taki on the bass and guitar, drummer Bruce Zelesnik, and occasional female backup singers, the band holds talents from four different countries! With artists from the United States, Romania, Japan and Israel, it's no wonder why Kokopelli has a difficult time categorizing themselves into a single genre. "It's completely collaborative and democratic," they say in regards to their creative processes. In all, when asked, they described their music as "radio rock mixed with jazz, funk, classical; you name it."
As a group who actually plays their instruments, members of Kokopelli have played with such well-known artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Ziggy Marley, Stan Ridgway, Pat Benatar and Third World, not to mention having played for the Romanian Symphony Orchestra. "We were all players, instrumentalists first and foremost," they say. The band is a product of musicians who all originally felt an immense creative dissatisfaction with prior groups they were playing with. Thus, Kokopelli was an answer; Kokopelli is their challenge to a world of synthesizers and mundane, routine musical notes.
Naming inspirations John Williams, Paganini, Dave Matthews, Seal and Stewart Copeland among others, the group models their musical energy after such renowned artists, yet each artistic creation is always an expression of themselves. When questioned about the uncertainty of the fickle industry they have decided to swim into, they replied very nonchalantly, "The music is its own reward. It's too tough an industry to do it without simply loving it." Such a free feeling attitude has undoubtedly contributed to an album of real lyrics drifting above flowing instruments that would make any listener think twice about the quality of sound they previously heard in an alternate song.
The album "Forever for Now" is proof to the public that it is in fact possible to intertwine contemporary sounds with instruments from any and every genre of music. The album's titular song is a beautiful love ballad, accentuated by the atmospheric breathtaking sounds of the violin. Clear guitar plucks and violin strokes walk alongside deep, smooth male vocals, conjoining with percussions with uniformity. An entirely opposite melody reveals itself through "Cries For Help." The tabla is used in this piece as a strong mysterious introduction, as amazing electric guitar skills escalate the track, building volume to create torment. Anguish filled emotions that surface are very much in line with the lyrics, "...no more cries for help. I can barely help myself."
Kokopelli usually tends to be most proud of songs "with crazy time signatures and tricky key changes," yet admits that some songs are more lyric driven. One such example in particular is called "My Company," a piece about starting a media corporation that moves to the moon. The company takes over during a big business revolution, and then spreads to the stars, ultimately selling soft drinks to aliens. "That's one song I believe every world of as I sing," says Baldyga, who definitely hopes to be heading to "the stars" some day.
More information on the band can be found on soundclick.com and broadjam.com by searching for "Kokopelli." In regards to CD sales and upcoming shows, please contact them directly at KokopelliLA@yahoo.com.