If the name DeVotchKa doesn’t ring a bell, the band’s music might. Anyone who’s seen “Little Miss Sunshine” will instantly recognize the band’s quirky sound and moving melodies that comprised much of the film’s score. A mix of gypsy, folk and rock, DeVotchKa’s music is now the soundtrack to many people’s lives as its fan base keeps growing.
DeVotchKa’s eclectic sound combines indie rock with musical styles from around the world. Expanding on the classic rock-band format (guitar, bass, piano and drums), DeVotchKa uses an arsenal of instruments. Lead singer Nick Urata plays guitar, theremin (an eerie-sounding electronic instrument – Google it), trumpet and piano. In addition to the bass, Jeanie Schroder plays the sousaphone, a type of tuba commonly found in marching bands. Drummer Shawn King plays percussion and trumpet. Tom Hagerman plays piano, violin and accordion. These instruments come together in harmony to create DeVotchKa’s distinct style and feel.
After spending the summer touring to promote its new album, “100 Lovers,” the Denver foursome will perform at State Bridge for the first time tonight. Also on the bill are Elephant Revival, Gregory Alan Isakov and Katlyn Dawn.
DeVotchKa’s rise to fame is no VH1 “Behind the Music,” which is fitting for a group that is not your typical rock band. Formed by members from Boulder and Denver 10 years ago, DeVotchKa got its start as a backup band for burlesque performers such as Dita von Teese. Then in 2006, the band caught the attention of Hollywood and was asked to compose music for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Since then, the band has opened for Muse, released two full studio albums and traveled the world. And touring the globe has taken the band to many unexpected places.
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“We played in the middle of this medieval castle in Lucerne, Switzerland,” Urata said. “It was pretty amazing. It was very diverse. People from all over the world moved there. It was a very inspiring place.”
These adventures were much of the inspiration for DeVotchKa’s new album, “100 Lovers.” Urata wanted “100 Lovers” to be a “conversation” with the people the band met while traveling.
“We wanted something to say when we went back to these places, about our life, about the whole human condition,” Urata said.
“100 Lovers” is largely influenced by South American styles. Well-known Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco performed on much of the album. Refosco is currently touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. DeVotchKa members were “glad we got to play with him before the Red Hot Chili Peppers stole him away,” Urata said.
That mountain air
When it comes to hearing the band live, Urata promises that fans of the albums won’t be disappointed. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few
“We like to change it up a lot,” he said. “Anyone who has seen us before should know that if they catch us again, it will be a completely different
Even though the band has toured the globe, playing in its home state is always a joy for DeVotchKa. High-altitude fatigue appears to be no problem for this Front Range-based band.
“It’s always nice to come back (home to Colorado),” Urata said. “We’ve been here for so many years, the fans know the songs a little better.
“We’ve been mostly traveling to cities on highways. We’re looking
forward to getting back up to the mountains and getting some mountain
Rosanna Turner is an intern with the Vail Daily. Email comments about this story to email@example.com.