Over ten years ago, Barbès and Electric Cowbell joined forces for the first time to present a showcase timed to coincide with the APAP conference.
APAP is an annual rite that, every January, brings musicians and music industry professionals to New York City. It is the largest event of its type in the world and brings people from every corner of our planet to the New York winter.
The weeklong gathering can be grueling: showcases, conferences, meetings (cold, snow…)and music can sometimes feel like a footnote, or event a commodity. Secret Planet, rather than an industry showcase, prides itself in focusing on music and feels more like a festival than a showcase. Artists come from close and afar. From countries and neighborhoods where english is not always understood and their culture is not always represented on the US stage. However, whatever their geographical origin, all Secret Planet artists, tend to follow their own vision and not be held back by genre, rules, language, commercial appeal or concerns of authenticity. They all have in common a creative impulse never impeded by stylistic or geographical boundaries.
Over the years, Secret Planet has presented close to 80 different groups, including Chicano Batman, Combo Chimbita,Hailu Mergia, Janka Nabai, No BS Brass Band, Flor de Toloache, Las Cafeteras, Alash, Anbessa Orchestra, Innov Gnawa, Chicha Libre, LADAMA, Underground System, The Debo Band, Alsarah & the Nubatones, Sunny Jain, BCUC, Mdou Moctar, Sofiane Saidi, Yonatan Gat and quite a few more.
As most of you did, we had to take a brutal and forced two year hiatus. The world may never be “back to normal” – but as most of you understand that normal was mostly a mirage, we look forward to continuing our mission and starting afresh all at once – and inventing a new ephemeral normal in the process. See you there.
SUNKEN CAGES X DRAGONCHILD
Ravish Momin and Danny Mekonnen seek to create a bold new music that embraces the ancient to the digital- not only drawing on their respective cultural backgrounds, but also including embedded contemporary influences and cutting-edge music tech tools – re-thinking the often flawed concepts of authenticity.
Trumpet player and singer Sonny Singh (of Red Baraat) has launched a solo project inspired by Sikh kirtan with boundary-defying Punjabi anthems. The music is inspired by Chardi Kala, the Sikh concept of revolutionary eternal optimism.
SLAVIC SOUL PARTY
Fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, Roma accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops: Slavic Soul Party! is just what it says. Brash and strong as slivovitz, these nine musicians have forged a virtuosic new brass band music in the heart of New York City; they have held their Tuesday bacchanal at Barbès for for now close to 20 years and – and it has become a destination for locals and brass band fans from around the globe. Stay tuned for a new album to be recorded in early 2023.John Carlson & Kenny Warren (trumpet), Peter Hess (sax/clarinet), Peter Stan (accordion), Tim Vaughn & Adam Dotson (trombone), Ken Bentley (tuba), Matt Moran and Chris Stromquist (go/snare/perc).
LA BANDA CHUSKA
LA BANDA CHUSKA takes inspiration from the twangy surf music of 1960s Peru (Los Belkings, Los Siderals) as well as the more psychedelic flavors of chicha (Los Destellos, Los Shapis). Their post-punk energy has also drawn comparisons to a tropical version of the B-52s. While clearly inspired by vintage Latin psychedelia, the collective is clearly rooted in present day Brooklyn and doesn’t shy away from iconoclastic experiments. With Felipe Wurst and Sam Day Harmet on guitars, Adele Fournet on organ, Erica Mancini on accordion, Abe Pollack on bass, and Joel Mateo on drums.
Guitarist Amit Peled plays what could be described as Mediterranean surf, with a surfing style that owes much to the Middle Eastern side of Dick Dale, or the Western side of Omar Khorshid. Habbina Habbina, named after a beloved song by syrian singer Farid El-Atrache, takes its inspiration from Egyptian pop, Greek tunes as well as all sorts of retro-Mediterranean-hits, James Bond Soundtracks, Umm Kulthum, Ari San and many more.