Rupa and the April Fishes


worldbeatcanada radio – INTERVIEW


Rupa & The April Fishes


Rupa Build


"Those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach others what we
know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and meaning to this life."
Charlie Sheen (1965 - ____) US actor
"The closing line in the film ""Platoon,"" 1986."

worldbeatcanada radio: Rupa & The April Fishes are celebrating the release of their 3 rd long play
called Build. Indeed it builds on the intricate musical foundation that precedes it; a cabaret of gypsy

jazz, Balkan beats, Indian ragas, Latin, Caribbean and African references that delves into the breath
of human experience. And, if that’s enough to make your head spin, songsmith Rupa Marya can
probably help you with that too. She’s also a practicing internist physician. She joins us by phone to
talk more about the album and the tour.

Congratulations on the album Rupa. I’m looking forward to hearing the tunes live when the tour
takes you to Vancouver. You’re heading for Pittsburgh as we speak yes?

Rupa: Thank you very much! Ya, I'm actually in Pittsburgh on the north side, taking in the beautiful
architecture and visiting with some friends who are playing here tonight. I'm very excited.

WBC: It strikes me that you must have a very disciplined mind or else, creativity being the flighty
thing it is could take hold at inappropriate times. Like, you’re saving someone’s life and suddenly
realize, “Hey, you know what? We should cover The Guns Of Brixton!” Does that ever happen?

Rupa: You know the strangest things go on in my mind. I'm glad there are no microphones available.
The strangest things I'll see at those moments when there are paradoxes that inspire me to think
something ...

WBC: Do you have a routine? Is there a certain time or place that you allocate for the creative

Rupa: I usually make time every morning. On the road it's a little harder but usually I wake up at 6
o'clock every morning and then write for a couple of hours.

WBC: The weave of musical references in your tunes is substantial but not unbelievable when you
consider you spent some of your life in France? Was it Paris?

Rupa: The south of France actually. My father worked there when I was about 10 years old. So we
moved out there.

WBC: Do you see that kind of cosmopolitanism building in America, especially in San Francisco
where you live?

Rupa: Oh for sure! It's happening all over the world; in the urban centers of the world. It's the mass
migration of people just searching for work and people coming for different dreams or whatever they
are searching for but it's happening all over the world.

WBC: What are your thoughts on the title, Build?

Rupa: It's a command as in "Thou shalt build." For me, as we look at the world waking up and
the disillusion we have in the institutions we have created even before we arrive; our financial
institutions, health care, institutions of what I call 'false democracy' - these things are not going to
able to give us those things we deeply crave and desire in our communities; a deeper relationship
to each other, a new way of relating economically to each other which does not involve exploitation
and divisive maneuvers with our society and the environment; our different relationships with our
food and how we grow our food and how we share our food - all these things require building.

WBC: worldbeatcanada radio is on the pod with Rupa. The April Fishes have a brand new album
called Build. They are currently on tour and stop in at the Capilano University NSCU Centre for
the Performing Arts in Vancouver on October 27th for the Global Roots Series. All the details and
connections you need are at the playful new home page, Write to us at our
contacts page, to win a pair of tickets to join them at the show. Are there any
new sounds and concepts from this new album are you eager to show off in performance?

Rupa: For me it's just a different kind of songwriting that we have on this album. A lot of it is coming
from the same space, mixtures of sounds but a different kind of songwriting. It feels more direct,
pulling from different roots; more American and African roots.

WBC: I embedded a radio performance clip with our review at worldbeatcanada which features one
of the fishes playing a slightly filled big jug of water. That’s inventive!

Rupa: Yes, that was part of one of the really delightful things in making this album with producer
Todd Sickafoose was how willing he was to let me experiment with sounds. One of my favorite
things is to find sounds that are evocative and complex, and one of them is an office water cooler
jug. So, we hooked a microphone up to it and it makes a perfect and exact slosh for the title track of
the album, Build.

WBC: In this frontloaded music world, it’s kind of refreshing to say that for me, you’ve left the best
for last on Build. It also happens to be the name of your own label, Electric Gumbo Radio. Can you
set this one up or us?
Rupa: Oh, thank you so much. That song is a very powerful song for me when I wrote it. It's a call for
compassion in this world as we're witnessing people around the world having the courage to speak
up against the abuse of power. We can call it the Arab Spring, we can call it the Occupy Movement,
we can use all these different names to dissect and describe. But, if we take it as a whole, I believe
in a hundred years people will look back at this time and see that this is a critical moment in history,
where people are waking up and calling out the abusive powers and they are demanding to be heard
and they should be heard. I hope for them, that they can exercise compassion and not recreate the
architecture of violence that they are often speaking out against. So, that song, Electric Gumbo
Radio is about that. If you open your ears and your mind you will hear the delicious, beautiful gumbo
of sounds and voices rising up right now to ask for a different way of doing things which we need
to build. And, we need to build it now, because our environment cannot handle what is happening;
our food systems cannot handle it; our nutrition, our communities, our economics, everything is
heaving right now. So, that song, Electric Gumbo Radio is a call. It's a call for people to wake up and
wake up with compassion.

Rupa was interviewed by phone on October 10, 2012 for worldbeatcanada radio