Music and beats like calloused feet
Ever walk down a foreign street and hear music so fresh and captivating you can’t help but follow the sounds to their source?For those who’ve never heard The Motet before, the tunes that waft out of the drums, keyboards, guitars and horns are steeped in Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and West African rhythms. They are sounds that are more difficult to comprehend without body movement.The ever-evolving collaboration that is The Motet gets down at the Sandbar Sports Grill tonight at 10.”The stuff we seek out in world roots music is all about drumming, dancing and singing,” said drummer Dave Watts. “We have a crew of different players on this tour that we’re really excited about.”Watts alone makes the group quite unique by composing and arranging the group’s music from his command station – centered amidst his drum kit.Watts is a graduate of that maestro-metropolis that is Berklee School of Music. He put the drums on Keller Williams’ masterpiece of ethereal, prank-filled jubilance, “Laugh.” Watts has also recorded with Tony Furtado and String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth.
Watts is tracking new territory in Afro-beat. One of Watts’ major influences is Afro-beat founder Fela Kuti.The current tour sees a return of The Motet’s Jans Ingber, who will bring vocals back to the instrumental magic. He will also be putting in work in the percussion section.”Our old singer, Jans, is back, which is going to be really nice,” said Watts.Dominik Lalli represents the newest addition to the group. “He’s blazing. He’s coming out from New York. He found out we were looking for a horn player, and he’s just what we needed,” said Watts.Garrett Sayers wields an upbeat bass.
“He’s a monster,” said Watts.Eric Deutsch will be the man on keyboards. And, there may be a couple more players who are in on the scene.This will not be the first time the Motet’s graced the Vail Valley with its sensational sounds.The Motet released its first studio album in nearly three years in July. “Music For Life” is full of Afro-beat and a solid conception.”It’s kind of along the same lines as the stuff we’ve been doing, but probably more in certain directions than others. We’ve been pretty strongly influenced by the late Fela Kuti, so we’ve got some of that kind of stuff,” said Watts. “I think it’s more focused than our other albums because we don’t go to so many different spaces; we’ve kind of honed in a little on our sound.”Afro-beat is really inspiring for me, personally. As a songwriter, I feel like I can really dig into that material. I’ve been trying to bridge some worlds with that, too, by combining it with funk and also house music, which I have a lot of fun playing and writing for.”
Watts hopes that the crowd at the Sandbar Sports Grill tonight will be ready to groove, as he’s had quite a bit of experience with the actual stage in the building.”That place has gone through about 20 facelifts since I’ve been playing there,” said Watts. “I’m always appreciative if there’s a place that wants to have us play that we can go out and make a living and have some fun with some people and make some music.”Watts feels like the current music market is not as conducive to live musicians as it has been in the past.”I think that, with the economy, people are having a really difficult time paying cover charges, or having time to go out and just celebrate. I think there’s a lot of the DJ stuff going on,” said Watts. “I think everybody’s got their thing. I can understand it in a lot of ways, but I think it’s more about the scene then it is about music. It’s definitely not a showcase for improvisation. I know there’s some great DJs out there, but, for the most part, people go to raves or to shows like that to mingle.”I’m always appreciative of someone that can really support live music because that’s here and now and that’s really important.”Andrew Harley can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.