06/25/2014 12:00AM ● Published by Phil Reser
Igniting the Soul With Music by Incendio
Incendio, in both Italian and Spanish, means “fire.” And this name is fitting for a musical group whose sound is all about energy, exploration and passion.
Averaging more than 150 shows a year, Incendio’s live performance is an explosive improvisatory journey, garnering tremendous audience response in such diverse venues as the Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite, the Sundance Film Festival, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., California World Festival and The Hult Center in Eugene, Ore., just to name a few.
At the heart of its sound is the Latin or Spanish guitar which can conjure up romantic, powerful and bold images. However, other instruments such as the mandolin, bouzouki, violin, Celtic harp, piano, bass, synthesizer and various ethnic percussion instruments also play a huge role.
Band leader and guitarist Jean-Pierre Durand says, “Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, and the like, that’s the emotion I like for people to feel when we play. So for my roots, I kind of had to go backwards to find it. The music in my family’s house when I was a child included popular Latin American songs. The melodic influence of those songs seeped into me during my youth. Then after Elvis Presley, Kiss, Jimi Hendrix and punk rock, I came back full circle to appreciate both Latin American popular music and the more complex rhythms of Andean folk and afro-Peruvian music, which is really amazing.”
Along with Durand, the group includes Liza Carbe on bass and guitar, Jim Stubblefield on guitar and Nicole Falzone and Bryan Brock on drums and percussion.
The band’s music is often associated with nouveau flamenco guitarists such as Jesse Cook, Armik and Luis Villegas, but Incendio likes to stretch out into other musical styles as well. They subtly bring influences as diverse as Weather Report, Jimi Hendrix, XTC, Paco de Lucia, Buddha Bar and Joni Mitchell to bear on their musical tapestry.
“I think our music surprises folks because it harkens back to a time of instrumental musicianship and pure energy that is not as prevalent as it once was. Also, those older fans are used to buying albums, and then CDs. They remember what it was like to wait for an album to show up in the stores, or wait for their favorite band to come to their town. The instant gratification of getting an MP3 via the computer didn’t exist. There’s something about that music-finding process that has happily stayed with Incendio. Amongst our fans, we’re like a secret that everyone wants to share with their family and friends.”
Their eighth international CD release, “The Shape of Dreams,” has been at the top of the Amazon charts since its release. With this record, they have introduced prominent electric guitar solos for the first time, says Durand. “We’re known as a Spanish guitar group, but we play electrics too and wanted that represented. We were also able to throw B3 organ and bouzouki in the mix to increase the sonic palette and give our fans something new to dig.”
The cinematic approach that Incendio takes in delivering music has always been part of its sound, and the group’s pieces are often used on film (“Bridesmaids”), television(the History Channel, A&E and Showtime) and video games (Far Cry 3).
Says Durand: “Since the explosion of the internet, iTunes and the subsequent implosion of the conventional record industry as we’ve known it, it’s never been a better time to be an independent band, particularly if you’re like us and playing music that is not strictly pop geared solely toward young people. We can reach a far wider audience than before and really target them with releases, show dates and new information. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but we get to play for larger and larger crowds and make our living with our music. We get to do what we love.”
Summer Serenade, Anderson River Park
July 2, 7 pm (opening act Tony Lewis at 5:30 pm)