The core artist line up for the 2011, Vancouver to Mexico – “Salmon Nation” – Bicycle Music AND Film tour is still in the works. But the touring line up will be the Ginger Ninjas and solo act Heather Normandale who previously toured as StitchCraft. Each Bicycle Music Festivals will feature 8-15 local bands in addition to the touring groups.
“mind shaking love groove folk funk roots rock explosive international pedal powered mountain music for a pleasant revolution.”
In 2007, the Ginger Ninjas became the first band in the history of rock and roll to tour by bicycle, unsupported by automobile. On a 5000 mile odyssey from their home in Northern California to the pyramids of southern Mexico, they promoted transportation cycling while also exploring the frontiers of pedal-generated electricity, using their own bikes to power a hyper-efficient sound system. The audience took turns getting on stage to pedal the bikes to make the sound, taking crowd participation to a new level. Originally conceived as a one-time adventure/statement/experiment, the band became addicted, and now has its sights set on a world tour.
“Before the Mexico tour, I honestly didn’t know if what we were setting out to do was even physically possible,” says front man Kipchoge Spencer. “A couple of months in, we realized that it wasn’t just possible, but there was something easy about the rhythm of it (despite the grueling uphills with 200 pound bikes), and the next logical thought was, ‘let’s tour the world this way.’”
The Ginger Ninjas’ mobile human-power stage is the first of its kind in history. Coupling super efficient digital amplifiers, lightweight components, and generators attached to working bicycles (as opposed to purpose-built stationary bikes), the system allows a band to play off-grid anywhere, wall outlet or no, and to also carry the system to a gig on the same bicycles (Xtracycle sport utility bicycles, a company started by Spencer). This enables a new kind of completely self-sufficient bicycle touring, sans automobile support. On the band’s most recent tour, the system and touring style enabled them to avoid generating close to 60,000 pounds of CO2, or 95% of what a similar sized band creates in a similar tour.
The band’s lead vocalist and songwriter, Spencer, seems to find a natural flow of lyrics that touch on profound social, ecological, existential, and interpersonal topics while keep the music fun and infectious. They skip through genres, from folk punk to folk funk to Latin ballads, simple ska, and fantasy American bluegrass, with the grabby rhythms and brainy rhymes.
They call their style “mind shaking love groove folk funk roots rock explosive international pedal powered mountain music for a pleasant revolution.”
A feature film of the first tour is set to be released in the fall of 2010 from the award-winning Argentine director Sergio Morkin, and his crew will film the current tour as well.
Heather Normandale ** StitchCraft
StitchCraft’s rhythmically full-bodied, finger-picking guitar, banjo and mandolin styles blend with heart-hitting vocals to create a very intimate, raw, and accessible musical experience. Joined by strings, trumpet, bells and percussion, this music intends to shake you from your tree of personal individuality for a swim in the slough of primordial one-ness. This is music to call you home to yourself but simultaneously keep you searching for your connection into it all.
Songs written and lead by songbird Heather Normandale, lyrically sculpted, life-loving anthems celebrating joyfulness and feelings of home. Texturally satisfying and rhythmically rich arrangements, with an encompassing cinematic feel, meant to sweep listeners away toward new perspectives and greater appreciation of life.
In its highest aspiration, StitchCraft reaches for that earth connection through bike touring and cross-genre, sustainable community event organizing arm and arm with musical minstreling.
Two most recent albums were recorded with StitchCraft : Through the Hoolaboo, released in May, 2009, creates a densely rich and atmospheric soundscape with powerful vocals, orchestral arrangements, and a creative range of instrumental influences.
NEWEST ALBUM COMING SOON!!!!
Contribute to help make this new record possible! …
“As an artist, I seek models in nature that answer the questions I have. For this album, I’ve written eight songs to explore that water-like changeability we hold within us… I am inspired to sing raise awareness for the sake of clean and free water systems…WIth the Pleasant Revolution, I will be on tour throughout the summer and fall with bike-powered generators that power our sound system and a movie projector showing films dedicated to water issues and other environmental topics. Making this record will support my future work with bike-powered tours. You will be supporting a growing movement of environmentally conscious musicians and artists… ”
The Fantastic and noteworthy bands who completed the 2010 European Bicycle Music Tour in addition to those listed above are described below.
The wildest beatboxin cellist in the west!
CelloJoe is an anomaly in the world of cellists.
By combining cello with beatboxing, he has created a unique genre: classical hip hop. Looped and layered beatboxing beats (vocal percussion) and funky cello form a rich soundscape for intelligent lyrics; CelloJoe spreads joy, laughter and consciousness raising vibrations. CelloJoe’s eclectic sound also incorporates the style of old time, jug band, blues and kids’s music.
CelloJoe is the world’s first long distance musical bike touring cellist. In 2007-2008, he rode with the pleasant revolution, a 5,000 mile bike tour from north san juan, california to Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. In May 2009, he did a 500 mile bike tour through Utah with SHAKE YOUR PEACE! In August 2009, he rode from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in the Pleasant Revolution Northwest Bicycle Music Festival Tour.
The Genie is an avant-garde guitarist, performer, and musical pioneer best known to audiences for his ‘scratch guitar’ shows, a unique performance involving live looping, slide guitar, beatboxing, unconventional syncopation, and various original techniques which he has crafted. In 2002 he made his debut in Montreal at the DMC Championships and later at the Canadian National DMC Championships. He went on to collaborate with Canadian producer DJ Horg and recorded his debut CD, The Genie-Rebel Music in 2002. He was immediately signed to Montreal’s High Life Music label (HLM), receiving Canadian distribution. In 2004 he returned to San Francisco where his performances immediately drew attention from the local media as he continued to stun audiences with his unique styles. Since that time he has recorded two follow-up CD’s, The Genie-Entropic (recorded live in Hawaii) and Aquadry, a collaborative side-project. His music ranges various genres and his broad range of musical interpretation has made fans of every generation and cultural background. Honing his “scratch guitar” showcase as full-time performer for the past seven years has elevated him into an elite level of performance and today he is considered one of the best live-loopers in the world. In 2007 he was profiled in Guitar Player Magazine (June) and was featured on Current TV in a piece entitled “What is Scratch Guitar”, which was voted number 1 and aired on national TV in the US and UK. In 2008 he was selected for sponsorship by the Line6 company, the producers of the DL4-delay modeler, his loop pedal of choice.
“A fresh blend of acoustic pop and cafe jazz with folk roots. The lyrical and musical sensibility ignites the imagination and assumes the listener’s intelligence.”
Twenty-five year old songwriter, Amanda Mora, was raised in the heart of Austin’s music culture by two professional musicians. By the time Amanda was born, her mother, Jill Jones, was forming a career in western swing music with a niche in yodeling that would lead her to the top of WMA music charts and earn her the title of National Yodeling Champion. Her father, a lifelong songsmith, passed down a musical heritage that goes back to one of Austin’s first orchestras, The Pharr Family Orchestra and Blondie Burnet Pharr, UT band leader and co-author of the UT fight song. During the years that Amanda’s father was not playing professionally, his music defined him as a man and a father and filled the house and mind of Amanda with music during her formative years. Yet, with all the music in the air, Amanda did not pick up an instrument until she was eighteen. As she describes it, “I was just so happy to listen to the music, it sounds strange, but it really never occurred to me to pick up an instrument. It happened over night, I went from being completely satisfied with listening, to urgently needing to find my own musical expression. Once I opened the door, a flood came out. With every new chord I learned (or made up), I would write a new song.