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Copal: Electro-Acoustic Folktronic Belly Dancers


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Tying into the ancient past of austere nobility, elegant damsels, extremes of affluent wealth and bitter poverty, lays Copal. Their music mirrors our fast-paced modern world, with electronics and stylish innovations all while keeping focus on their old-world traditions. It inspires visions of mystery pools and deep forested paths—it's a journey from dusk to dawn through the shadow garden and out the other side into the bright light of morning.

Copal's debut album Into the Shadow Garden, (self-released November 4), is a rich sonic tapestry of cultural influences and textural palettes. The music draws from Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Nordic melodic inspirations fused with indie rock and ethereal influences. Violin and cello mix with ethnic percussion, drums, bass, and the occasional vocal highlight riding on top of electronic sonic elements of synths and Fender Rhodes to create an illusion of an all-enveloping sound. “This is music to recreate your world by—made today, but enlightened by a deep sensitivity to the ancient past."—Scott Shuster, World Dance New York.

Hannah Thiem, violinist, vocalist, composer and producer of Into the Shadow Garden says, “This project is deeply personal—a merging of textures, sounds, ideas, melodies, and the internal landscape of my thoughts and dreams." The music on the album is an amalgam of the musical influences and cultures inspired by Hannah's travels and living abroad in Europe and North Africa. The talented collaborators featured on the album come from a variety of backgrounds, bringing their influences to the drawing board and the studio: Isabel Castellvi (cello), Robin Ryczek (cello), Chris Brown (bass, keys, sound design), Karl Grohmann (drums), and Engin Gunaydin (darbuka, frame drum, riq).

On stage, NYC-based 5-piece band Copal mixes improvisation with compositions creating a very dynamic sonic experience. Built upon earlier foundations of their successful EP release eso-terra (2007), co-written with Jon Ballantyne and Ammon EP, every performance is unique. “We could play the exact same set every night for a week and it would sound like a new experience every time. Keeping the music fresh and exciting engages the audience and us," says Hannah. Often joined on stage by dancers of various styles, most often tribal belly dancers, the instrumental ballads and epic journeys are given a visual complement. Even during the more downtempo portion of their set, every live show gets the crowd dancing. Copal has shared the stage with diverse and talented groups such as Delhi 2 Dublin, Vagabond Opera, Sxip Shirey, Haale, and Luminescent Orchestrii.

Diverse is an understatement when examining Hannah's musical background. She's been sighted on stage performing with Kanye West in NYC at Madison Square Garden, in Boston opening for The Rolling Stones, and backstage at Kanye's David Letterman appearance. Hannah also is a core member of Nyxyss, an electronic music project founded with Haj (Sub Swara), and they recently opened for Bassnectar for a sold-out show in Austin, TX. In studio, she has recorded with Grammy-nominated Irma Thomas, Beats Antique, Mark Saunders (multi-platinum producer: Cure, Cyndi Lauper, David Byrne), and Ancient Astronauts (Switchstance Recordings, Germany).

Into the Shadow Garden will be released in both CD and digital format on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, via CD Baby) and Bandcamp. Catch Copal's NYC CD Release Party on Nov. 4 at Drom, East Village, NYC, and their Boston CD Release on Nov. 7 at the Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA; with more tour dates to follow on the east coast and beyond.

11/04/2010, Thu: New York, NY: Drom: 85 Ave A; Tix: $15/adv, $18/door; Show: 8 pm: Neo Middle Eastern Fête feat. Copal + Raquy & the Cavemen + Zikrayat Ph: (212) 777-1156

11/07/2010, Sun: Cambridge, MA: The Middle East Club: 472 Massachusetts Ave; Tix: $2/adv, $15/door; Show: 8 pm; Guests include Sxip Shirey + Vadalna Ph: (617) 864-3278

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