There’s a certain sunny, sensual quality to Compassion Gorilla’s “gypsy fusion” beats that will vanquish the January doldrums and have you sashaying and samba-ing (can I get a one-uh-two, three-uh-four?) around the dance floor in no time. Or in their own words: “Eight pieces of swirling gypsy delight will tickle a giggle from even the grumpy, and catapult audiences into whole-hearted dance entrancement.”
The band’s size and bohemian quirkiness is reminiscent of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but the music has an international flair all its own that would be at home in a Barcelona barrio, a Paris café or a Buenos Aires praça (or a Eugene pizza place). To create this variety of sounds, Gorilla uses the talents of Daniel-jo Seph (trombone and vocals), Spyder Fingers (electric guitar, vocals), Fraidy Kat (djembe), C-man on the Frets (charango, acoustic and electric guitars, vocals), Jewel E (vocals), The Wolf (cajón, pandeiro), Smooth Burl (electric bass, vocals) and Stirling Silver (trumpet, vocals).
For the less musically cosmopolitan, let’s break that down: A djembe is a Western African goblet drum, a charango is an Andean lute-like instrument, a cajón is a wooden percussion box from Peru and the Brazillian pandeiro is a hand frame drum. These instruments, along with classical guitar, create a beautiful layered patchwork punctuated by the zesty calls of the trumpet and trombone. The track “The Count of Monte Cristo” from their album Volta! Volta! deftly combines these textures, never muddying the sound, adding imagery through lyrics, “I was once a man. Now I’m just a shadow of a dream I had, waiting there to exhale my last breath.”
The band describes its modus operandi as “Liberating feet and uplifting spirits through danceable grooves.” So go on feet, be free — shed those galoshes and dance.
Compassion Gorilla plays with the Conjugal Visitors 8 pm Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Cozmic; $5.