One of few official "Poetry Bands" in Los Angeles, Totem Maples got their start playing the coffeehouse scene in the San Gabriel Valley east of downtown L.A. Named after the diverse relations on a Totem pole-diversity in sound and style is what gives TM it's power. Led by poet Larry Handy on vocals, this band consists of Joanne Kim on piano, Justin Punzalan on turn tables, Brian Sadler on electric guitar and organ, Erik Elsey on drums and percussion, and Matt Coleman on acoustic guitar and harmonica. They blend folk, jazz, hip hop, rock, experimental and of course spoken word poetry. What separates them from other poetry bands is their jam based feel. Instead of reciting poetry to background music, Larry Handy recites WITH the music. The music is fit to each poem and when the poem stops the music ventures off into free flowing improvisational solos. In the SLAM influenced spoken word scene poetry that captures the attention these days is the angry political kind. Totem Maples steps out of the way bringing a life message draped in deep symbolic language reminiscent of Arthur Rimbaud and Pablo Neruda. Their recordings are quite blissful and remind the listener of the one spoken word album recorded by The Doors: AMERICAN PRAYER.
Check them out:
Their website is located at www.totemmaples.com
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org