7 Questions for Brass Menazeri

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?

Eric Oberthaler

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.

What’s next?

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.

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