The Brass Menagerie (or Menazeri) is one of the Bay Area’s premier Balkan Brass bands specializing in Serbian brass repertoire, and performing what they describe as “high-energy, sometimes stretchy, always exciting music of Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Balkan Roma and friends.
They are one of many bands playing this weekend’s Arcata Folkdance Festival Friday and Saturday, April 7 & 8, at the Arcata Grange. I sent e-mails to a couple of members of Brass Men… I think you’ll figure out who is who…
Who are you?
I’m Peter Jaques, a clarinetist & trumpeter playing Balkan, Turkish, Arabic, klezmer & Greek music.
Where are from? (originally/now)
Bethesda Maryland/Oakland, CA
I’m from Oakland now. Originally Memphis.
What do you do?
Compose, Direct, and Perform music. With the Brass Menazeri I play trumpet.
Music. Performance, composition, recording.
Why do you do what you do?
I love music.
It’s the most beautiful thing I have to offer the world.
What have you been working on?
In addition to this brass band, I am also the director of a group by the name of Gamelan X. Please visit onepeople.com for more information.
Aside from the Brass Menagerie (which is my main project), I also play with a hybrid Balinese processional gamelan, Gamelan X (www.gamelan-x.com) which is directed by our other trumpeter, Eric Oberthaler. I also perform & record with Stellamara (www.stellamara.com), a Middle-eastern influenced ambient music ensemble.
Both Peter Jaques (the leader of the Brass Menazeri) and I are in both groups (i.e. he plays in Gamelan X as well). With Gamelan X we are planning a summer full of festivals and concerts as well as a recording.
more. We have lots of gigs coming up, see our website <http://brass.menazeri.com> for an updated list.
Why this music?
It is exciting, full of life, at once alien and familiar, bittersweet. A real sense of community. Rhythmic vitality, sinewy melodies.
It balances ecstasy & transcendence.