Listen to Kan'Nal's "Desert Flower" while you read!

By Reanna Feinberg

Kan'Nal :: 07.27.06 :: Ashland Armory :: Ashland, OR

Kan'Nal by Paresh
Kan'Nal's self-proclaimed "tribal shamanic rock" purges the soul with a musical plunger coursing through the Earth and flushing me clean from my feet, bare and rooted, emptying more layers than I knew I had. In a primal mixture of music and dance, their rhythmic fire transforms the space. I've seen the Ashland Armory in daylight and know it's not thick below the waist like a bog, yet I float in something tangible, holding me as I carve rivulets, hollowing a musical canoe with my hips. Teresita Hinojosa and Akayate, performance artists, move like human puppets with someone else's body dancing below pagan clown faces to the building heartbeat of Aaron Jerad's didgeridoo. Joyful, enticing serpentine magic, merely from wearing a curious white mask backwards — the music takes us back to the basics: simple, raw, power.

Tzol by Paresh
Tierro's masterful Spanish gypsy rampage on the guitar plucks my ribs as if harp strings ran between them. He faces Tzol at the front of the stage, squaring off, dueling his guitar against Tzol's hard and euphonic voice. Tzol's powerful lyrics echo and roar, pounding into a whirlwind of desperate, fiery, abysmal banter. Ancient conversations, spawned from the heart, explode in heavy metal desperation. Tierro's guitar talks back, unafraid of flames, speaking this language of heat.

Teresita duels with a guest musician in voices alone. Swirling sounds and words into the room, like racquetballs flying against the walls, the guest imitates a DJ while Teresita releases Earth-Mother lyrics in spoken-word rap.

Aaron on percussion and didgeridoo creates a spacey electric backdrop with his spit and breath. Gilly Gonzales adds shakers (often rattling the whole post of chimes) and other toys to the surreal mix, creating a high-tech sound without the tech. The music thickens with Tierro's loops and Rodolfo Escobar holding it together with bass. Rodolfo quietly draws the high-energy rhythms into the Earth where they seep and pulse into quakes. Rich sounds ripple through my feet to my spine in walrus echoes, discussing things older than my terrestrial roots comprehend.

Teresita by Paresh
Gilly's bare hands work the drum set to dough, bouncing off hard rims as easily as the soft skins of the hand drums surrounding him. He's a child playing a bath into a tidal wave as he breaks into a solo. Akayate shares the spotlight, spinning white sheets in front of a projector streaming images onto stage.

My legs brace themselves wide, rooting strongly as if on a train with no handholds. My arms fly, shedding emotional crud I've gathered like spider webs on my hiking boots. Cleansing. Pulsing. Breathing limbs lift the air around me. Swirling swords like poi and clanging them overhead in time with the music, Teresita cuts loose anything not yet shaken free. Held still, the swords fill the room with strong vibrations and a settling grace.

The rest of the band takes a seat, playing at the back of the stage, while Tzol plays his rhythm guitar and sings a sweet political religious song. Like the band, I too drift to a softer place, searching for rest, trying to catch my breath. Got it! Just in time, the whole band returns to pulse the growing volcano fire into musical form.

Gilly by Paresh
Teresita glides back and forth like a tiger taunting the microphone at the front of the stage, testing its scent before accepting it as her chosen outlet. Tierro smiles at this hunt. As her spoken-word builds, she lifts her arms, revealing wings of golden cloth far larger than herself. She spins in smooth circles, and a gleaming sun materializes at the edge of the stage.

Waves of intense instrumental explosions rip me at the seams and strip away layers until nothing's left. I didn't need it anyway. The music burns me down, and I'm left dancing among sparks over the crowd above my body rooted to the vibrations below my feet, cemented into a musical vortex, wondering how I'm going to get home, having abandoned the non-essential flesh and bones of my being. No time to think about it now. Turns out the brain wasn't as important as I'd counted, and all that remains is new territory. That and hard-pounding music painting a horizon where the ocean devours the sun in flame to paint the sky in their collaborated explosion. I am joy. I am music. I am throwing handfuls of water on a blazing inferno just to keep it fighting, burning the world to ash where it can grow anew from seeds of this raw musical fire.

JamBase | Ashland
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[Published on: 8/15/06]

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snappy starstarstarstar Tue 8/15/2006 05:08PM
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Feinberg can write. Her prose makes compelling a band I've frankly been kind of unmoved by, dismissed as interesting but too flowery for my own tastes. The best writing about music makes us reevaluate our preconceptions. Thanks to her words I'll give Kan'Nal another shot.

hatfieldsbro starstar Wed 8/16/2006 07:14AM
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u must have gotten ahold of the good shit that night one dose too many maybe?!

phaslam star Wed 8/16/2006 01:55PM
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too in-depth of an insight for some really shitty music!

toestothenose starstarstarstar Wed 8/16/2006 02:17PM
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Snappy - I agree the review had it's own flare that carried some clout over to the music.

Arturo starstarstar Thu 8/17/2006 09:36AM
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Kan'Nal is, without a doubt, the best band I have ever seen....
in Guatemala.
And the review was the first one I'd ever read on jambase in the present tense. It was like I was there, mannn...
Still in San Pedro.

chevman Thu 8/17/2006 03:53PM
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this band puts on a great show... great guitar playing, great songs amd lyrics, solid and tight, but loose enough, plus teresita..nothin more to say!

dannytunsia Thu 8/17/2006 05:06PM
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cool prose for sure. the writer is better than the band though - i am pretty diehard hippy myself but the randomness of Kanals music and the endless jams make even the garage rocker guys in widespread panic seem like talented dedicated musicians, kanal needs to work on vocal harmonies, structure, and developing more intricate and varied patterns in both rythms and melody - though the vibe is beautiful and i happy to see thier original presentation complete with lovely visual art/dancing etc..

dannytunsia starstarstarstar Thu 8/17/2006 05:14PM
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lovely writing but yes i agree that band hardly lives up to it, i love hippy rock but these guys get boring after a well, they need tight vocal harmonies, more variation in the beats, melody, and song styles - they make even the dudes in panic look like schooled musicians, though i praise them heavily for their groovy vibe and original ideas about visual presentation

jpalmer Thu 8/17/2006 11:11PM
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Kan'Nal will catch your attention with their visual spectacle and interesting tribal sound, but 10 minutes later you'll be wishing there was actually something original going on. Whenever the lead singer of a band reminds me of Scott Stapp from Creed, watch out. Their stage antics are interesting, and damn their bass player is one funny dude to watch, but their songs all fit the same structure, build into the same 4 note 'jam' and leave you wondering why you didn't just stay home and enjoy how much nicer your house smells.

EVILFUNK starstarstarstarstar Tue 8/22/2006 12:44PM
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these guys are a trip! i heard them at Jellys a while back and they burned all of the hair off the whole audiences heads. dont listen to them if you dont like loud music - not another jamband at all. they drew a fun burner crowd also worthy of mention.

RedHeaven starstarstarstar Fri 9/29/2006 02:49PM
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Cool article. ive seen them a bunch and I lvoe the burneresque stylings. I will go see them again and again....my only problem with them is I wish teh singer would change it up a bit. Let the music do the work or change key. More female vocals please!

AnissaP starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/5/2006 07:42AM
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Kan'nal is an amazing band...and all very talented musicians, and incredibly cool overall people- they're just very very freaky and weird. You kind of have to be on the same thought wave as they are to really dig the music. Lyrically, they're incredible. But just as hard core, hippie jam bands go,nah, I wouldn't describe them as that. But dude... the places they make my mind go...