The Biography of World Music Band:
Hamsa Lila hit the West Coast music scene hard back in 2001 with their infectious ‘world trance grooves’ and earned an instant ‘cult status’ following with their memorable performances, rich in traditional influences from Morocco, West Africa, Brazil, India, the Caribbean and others, with a strong emphasis on Gnawa and Yoruba flavors. At once, they became known for marathon dusk-to-dawn non-stop performances, and an overwhelming majority of fans listing them immediately as their all-time favorite live dance band.
Infusing elements of hip-hop/spoken word as well as ritual dance, Hamsa Lila earned its stripes as venerable force within the world music genre, and has been recognized as a pioneer in world fusion, singing in 13 languages, alongside hypnotic polyrhythms led by ultra-tight South African kit drummer Ian ‘Inkx’ Herman (who’s backed Paul Simon, Sting, Hugh Masakela, Vusi Mahlasela, Habib Koite), and mesmerizing vocals shared by velvet voiced Nikila Badua and soulful Deja Solis, along with the core tribal resonance of MJ Greenmountain on simultaneous male lead vocals and percussion. The three singers converge harmoniously to make the blend swoon-worthy.
The bottom pulse of Hamsa Lila comes from the Gnawa bass-like lute called a ’sintir’, played by Vir McCoy. This goat-gut stringed, camel-skinned ‘bass’ has a deep punchy tone delivery that helps give Hamsa Lila it’s unique sound. When the repetition of the trance melody is added to this equation by another Moroccan goat-gut stringed, goat-skinned lute called a ‘guimbri’, played by Brett “Beryl” Jacobson, the group produces a sound that is wholly their own: a potent healing salve of electro-organic roots, hypno-grooves, and other-worldly melodies. When punctuated with the multi-instrumental talents of Evan Fraser on flutes, synths, Ngoni, kalimbas, jawharps, and percussion, Hamsa Lila rounds out to be a tidal wave of Divine Sounds and rhythms that take crowds on a magic carpet ride of a lifetime.
In 2004 they released “Gathering One” which bowled over fans and critics alike, and climbed to a #2 slot on CMJ’s World Music national chart, and landed them headlining slots on main stages throughout the West Coast festival scene from Mexico to Canada and everywhere in between (i.e. Earthdance, Sierra Nevada, High Sierra, Harmony, Horning’s Hideout, Power to the Peaceful, etc.). During the next few years Hamsa Lila’s blend of traditional influences with modern expressions brought them further into the arena of ‘historic’ bands within the world fusion set, going from raucous to delicate in a single song – while never letting the groove leave the room!
After a three year hiatus, during which many of the members worked on side projects and toured to foreign countries, the band has regrouped with a strong new vibe and a solid in-house production arm called House of Hamsa Presents (HOHP), insuring each event is a top-notch produced experience with full visuals, staging, lighting and sound. Having pulled off an over the top event in NOV of ‘09 for Green Festival, Hamsa Lila broke open its newest chapter of music and vibes, with HOHP packing San Fran’s Regency Ballroom and setting a new standard for Hamsa Lila’s rebirth.
From that moment forward the band has chosen to only do a handful of amazing one-off events each year, as well as an occasional hand-picked booking. In keeping with the super unique quality of their music and productions, Hamsa Lila has also dedicated itself to doing primarily benefit related and conscious (‘green’ & ’sustainable’) events, and is pushing the envelope in pursuing new ways to present music-based events world-wide.
WIth strong vision and high purpose, Hamsa Lila seeks to break through the ‘world music’ barrier with their upcoming recordings and self-produced high profile events. 2014 promises to be their most outstanding year yet!