Wandering the world and borrowing whatever they need from the world of music, Sol’Jibe are living up to their gypsy roots. Having just completed and released their second CD, titled Marinero, the band is now set for another project—international travel.
No breezy pop tunes on Marinero; only one of the disc’s 11 tracks clocks in at less than five minutes. Almost half of the tracks are instrumentals, and even the vocal numbers leave plenty of room for jamming. This fact, and the occasional line like “even when I’m dreaming, I dream about you,” suggest that lyrics probably aren’t this band’s priority.
What Sol’Jibe is interested in is combining various ethnic instrumental styles with a contemporary acoustic-rock/jam-band aesthetic. Gypsy-style Spanish guitar and violin are used alongside Latin rhythms. Hand drums and other “Afro-Cuban” percussion are used as well as soprano saxophone. The four members of the band are all impressive, talented players who wish to expand their abilities and knowledge of indigenous music. To this end, the members of Sol’Jibe are asking for your help.
Their plan is to raise money to travel to Cuba to study that country’s music. When they return to Reno, with their already eclectic music further enriched, Sol’Jibe will pay back the community by sharing what they have learned with the children of Washoe County. Ensuring that they will make good on their promise to give back to the community that is helping fund their trip, they have already enrolled in the Pioneer Center Youth Programs, a roster of artists, mostly musicians, who are available for performances for Northern Nevada schools.
“This is something we’ve always wanted to do—study abroad and add the influence to our music,” says percussionist Cody Remaklus. “The money that we’re asking for through donations, we’re going to be giving back to the community, to the Washoe School District, through educational performances that contain the things that we learned on our trip.”
“With the purpose of influencing kids and spreading cultural awareness,” adds guitarist Milton Merlos.
Nevada Performing Arts has signed on to the idea, making it possible for donors to make tax-deductable contributions to Sol’Jibe’s project through the non-profit organization.
“It’s a life-long dream of ours … traveling to different countries, studying the style of music, and being able to bring it back and make our society a little more culturally diverse,” says Remaklus.
Remaklus has already had the experience of studying music abroad. He lived in Costa Rica for two years and also studied in Cuba through the Plaza Cuba program, the same program though which Sol’Jibe is planning to visit Cuba. For saxophonist Jonathan Phillips, who has studied music at the University of Nevada, Reno, this will be his first trip abroad, while Merlos and guitarist/violinist/vocalist Tim Snider traveled through Spain together and tried to learn about Spanish gypsy music informally.
The important difference between this and previous trips is that, this time, the band plans to study as a band.
“We’re studying our instruments individually and as a whole group,” says Remaklus.
Sol’Jibe has met the first deadline. The $8,000 needed to enroll the band members in the Plaza Cuba program has been raised. However, the fund-raising effort continues.
“We still need money for plane tickets and emergency expenses … so we still need support,” says Remaklus.
So, please—give these gypsies your money.