It may take many words to describe BRAVE COMBO, but in some ways the name says it all: It is a band that is not afraid to take musical chances. Since 1979 when they first surfaced in Denton, Texas, a nuclear polka band in the midst of rock�s new wave, BRAVE COMBO has broken stylistic barriers like no one else. Their specialty is a unique blend of domestic and exotic dance rhythms that propel what Billboard calls �world-wise, unclassifiable music.� Recent recorded experiments of the band have included explorations of Latin American and Japanese pop music, and, as Rolling Stone reported of their release A Night on Earth, �the elements... are interpreted through the high energy filter of rock dynamics.� Their success at playing what founder CARL FINCH calls �a barrage of incongruous elements� comes from their sincerity, musicianship, and the belief that music should be fun and life supporting.
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� If BRAVE COMBO can do one thing,� says FINCH, � we�d like to break down people�s preconceptions about what�s cool to like in music. Music is vital to our life on earth and we ignore that vitality when we let it fall into some kind of fashion statement. We like to play certain styles that people may not think they like, and then have them go away thinking that polka, or whatever, is actually pretty cool.� That�s one reason the Chicago Tribune dubs them � a party band with a purpose.�
BRAVE COMBO has expanded in the last couple of years into a six-man miniature orchestra. FINCH - who sings and plays guitar, accordion, and keyboards - and his longtime partners CENOBIO XAVIER ( BUBBA ) HERNANDEZ, III on Bass and vocals, and JEFFREY BARNES on reeds, flute, harmonica, and too many instruments and noise makers to list here, have been augmented by percussionist JOSEPH CRIPPS, trumpeter DANNY O�BRIEN, and drummer ALAN EMERT.
BRAVE COMBO�s 20-year musical career has included many unique accomplishments: over a dozen critically-acclaimed recordings in the U.S. and even more in Japan, where they have toured three times; four trips to Europe, including appearances at the Printemps de Bourges and Steirischer Herbst festivals; music provided for David Byrne�s film True Stories, Fox network�s comedy Bakersfield P.D., and the 1994 Olympic Performance of U.S. ice dancers Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow; winning the Downbeat critic�s Poll for �Talent Deserving Wider Recognition� in the Pop/Rock category three years in a row; a 1996 Grammy nomination for their album Polkas for a Gloomy World and a 1999 Grammy nomination for their album Polka Party with Brave Combo - Live and Wild; frequent appearances on NPR/PBS shows such as Lonesome Pine Special, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, and Prairie Home Companion, who�s host Garrison Keillor refers to them as �entertainers who just won�t take no for an answer�; and a performing career that finds them playing rock clubs, state fairs, polka festivals, concert halls, college mixers, parades ( including Macy�s Thanksgiving Day Parade, marching underneath Woody Woodpecker ), mental institutions ( their first tour ), and even, of course, weddings ( including David Byrne�s ) -- all to the delight of audiences who can�t help but dance to their infectious rhythms.
The ethnic sources of BRAVE COMBO�s rhythms and styles span the globe. They come from virtually every continent but Antarctica and include polkas, waltzes, schottisches, mambos, conjuncto, zydeco, the twist, acid rock, bubblegum, and even muzak (to name many but not all).
But behind such �fearsome expertise in ethnic sounds� ( New Music Express ) lies a serious purpose, even if �peace through polka� sounds a little corny. �I do think the acceptance of polka and other rhythms can help bring about world peace. If the people of the world can start dancing together, they can learn to respect each other�s cultures too,� explains FINCH. �That kind of understanding will give us all a better chance to survive.�
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