The word Taarka has many meanings. In Hungarian, it means "colorful." In Hindi, it describes the roasting of spices that will be used as the base for curry. It means "not full" in Estonian, and it is the name of a demon's daughter in Hindu Mythology. In context, however, Taarka is the name of one of Acoustic Music's hottest up-and-coming bands.
Taarka might best be described as an acoustic music supergroup. It is comprised primarily of David Tiller (formally of ThaMuseMeant) on mandolins, Jarrod Kaplan (formally of NW iconic acoustic groups, Trillian Green & Hanuman) on djembe, anklets & percussion, Jason Flores on Acoustic Bass, and Enion Pelta: a classically trained Violinist who freely soars in the realms of Gypsy Jazz, Bluegrass, Funk, and Celtic Music.
For those who aren't familiar with any of the above mentioned (former) bands, imagine Django Reinhardt, playing with David Grisman & John Scofield, with Dead Can Dance as the back up band... Taarka trods the back alleyways of Gypsy Music and twirls through fields of bluegrass, all the while grooving like the hippest of urban jazz cats. Their music moves through a world of human emotion, from melancholy & sorrow, to joy & rapture, sometimes within the confines of one song. Their songs twist & lilt their way through an uplifting swirl of funky Celtic, Middle Eastern, & Epic Rock influences.
Taarka is an instrumental band, focusing all of their energy on a breathless synergy of sounds. They know when to lay back and to let it flow, and when to push it forward to culminate an intensity rarely found in acoustic music.
As the core of the rhythm section, Kaplan & Flores are an impervious foundation on which soloists Pelta & Tiller can build. Kaplan is a percussive jack of all trades, flailing spectacularly between an array of oddly combined hand-drums & cymbals, all the while coloring & pacing the music with anklets on both legs.
Tiller & Pelta compliment each other as well, each providing tasteful backgrounds to each other's solos. Pelta is perhaps the crown jewel of Taarka, as her playing is virtuosity in action. She can play absolutely haunting melodies, but can also rain pure bliss on audiences. Switching between Violin & Octave Violin, and using a variety of effects, she locks cello-like lines tightly with Kaplan's rhythm machine or lays beds of harmonic depth to the music.
Tiller approaches his instrument more as an entity with a mind of its own, and thus he does not fall prey to too many influences other than his own unique vision. Tiller's mandolin style is arguably one of the most original out there. Switching between Mandolin & Octave Mandolin, and also using a variety of interesting effects, Dave's instruments can drone & trance like a Sitar, or scream & stomp like the searing sound of the funkiest electric guitar.
In their short 18 month existence as a band, Taarka has performed numerous shows at The High Sierra Music Festival, The Oregon Country Fair, The Fairfax World Music Festival, NW Folklife, & Bumbershoot (among others), and has shared stages with David Grisman, The Yonder Mountain String Band, The Motet, Dan Bern, and Vinyl, to name a few.
As a band that loves to perform, Taarka has earned a large degree of notoriety from guerrila-style performances at many of the above mentioned festivals. It has not been uncommon to see the band set-up on sidewalks or in small parks, surrounded by candelabras or giant colorful poppies to set their makeshift stages. In fact, on many occasions, Taarka shows have been named by fans as, "the most unique, moving, and intimate performances they've ever seen," as the music is shared informally, on ground level stages, offering close interaction with audiences.
With a brand new CD & many new tunes, Taarka will be touring frequently up & down the West Coast throughout 2004...
Don't miss this incredibly talented & unique acoustic band, performing at a venue in your hometown. For more dates & details, check out http://www.Jambase.com/taarka or http://www.taarka.com