Hamsa Lila has been recognized as being one of San Francisco's best live bands and High Sierra was treated to several sets of healing sounds that will remain with anyone who witnessed the band. M.J. Greenmountain and Vir McCoy combine their ancient instruments and voices to create an intoxicating tribal rhythm, and your body moves. When Nikila Badua, Sasha Butterfly, and Deja start singing and dancing, your eyes are caught between the demands of both your body and heart. You can't stop dancing, but are transfixed by their beauty of voice and person. Hamsa Lila's set was more like an experience than a concert and the band attracted many new friends over the weekend.

- Forrest Reda

Fareed Haque by Susan J. Weiand

Garaj Mahal presented another late night throwdown for the ages on Saturday night in the Funkin' Jam House. (GM also closed out the Big Meadow stage on Friday July 2.) The band came on at 2 a.m. and played one long set until 6. Firing all on funky cylinders, the GM guys played some of their popular originals including "Junct," "Stoked on Rasaki," "Hindi Gumbo," and "The Shadow." Their music is danceable stew of African, Middle Eastern, Indian, funk, fusion and jazz influenced tunes, played with high intensity by guitar virtuoso Fareed Haque, bass fusion legend Kai Eckhardt, drum monster Alan Hertz, and keys wizard Eric Levy. Later they were joined on stage by Cochemea "Cheme" Gastelum on sax, Arlan Schierbaum from Mamasutra on keys, and Dave on didgeridoo for Mose Davis' "Jan Jan", and "Be Dope." Not stopping there, they played another four songs, including "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Massive," "The Palladin" and closed with their speed-grass version of Princes' "Kiss." The weary, sweat-soaked audience poured out into the early morning stillness.

- Susan J. Weiand

Drew Emmitt by Jeffrey Smith

Vince Herman by Casey Flanigan

Leftover Salmon's festival-closing set on the main stage on Sunday was bittersweet one. The band has announced they too will be taking a hiatus at the end of the year to work on solo projects and regroup after the departure of their most recent banjo player, Naom Pikelny, who left to join John Cowan's band. With the death of original banjo player Mark Vann in 2002, the loss of his playing and spirit is still felt. This night Matt Flinner did an admirable job filling the spot left vacant by Noam's departure. A HSMF crowd favorite, the band delivered a rousing set of many new tunes off of their latest CD simply titled Leftover Salmon such as "Woody Guthrie" and "Just Keep Walkin'" along with some of their old time favorites including "High on a Mountain Top" and "Dance on Your Head." Gone are the crazy antics of High Sierra past, they simply played their hearts out, though the band seemed a bit tired or simply overwhelmed by the finality of this performance or the huge reception they got. When they welcomed singer/songwriter Jim Page and Peter Grant on pedal steel to the stage for Page's talking blues "Talkin' High Sierra" and "Naked Underneath Your Clothes" it was quite fitting. Later with Sharon Gilchrist from Mary and Mars on mandolin and Dennis Ludiker, the fiddle player from South Austin Jug Band, for the last song, "Down in the Hollow," it was like they were passing the baton to the younger players. A poignant way to end High Sierra 2004. Festival!!!

- Susan J. Weiand

Sharon Gilchrist from Mary and Mars with Vince Herman by Susan J. Weiand


Around the Horn Playshop

by SuperDee

Give the Drummer Some Playshop

Stanton Moore & Marco Benevento
By Susan J. Weiand

Stanton & Johnny Vidacovich
By SuperDee


Thanks to Dave, Roy, Rebecca, Debbie, Margaret, Molly, etc etc etc for making yet another memorable year! Also, thanks to everyone who came by the JamBase booth to say hi... you guys rock!

And very special thanks to the JamBasers "on the scene" at the festival this year:

The Kayceman
Forrest Reda
Susan J. Weiand
Jonathan Zwickel
Monica Way

Susan J. Weiand
Jeffrey Smith
Casey Flanigan
James Martin
The Kayceman

Until next year's High Sierra...


[Published on: 7/16/04]

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