West Philadelphia Ochestra (WPO), is some of Philadelphia's best and most daring musicians from a variety of backgrounds (jazz, classical, experimental, indie). They come together in late 2006/early 2007 as a porch jam session to learn and play traditional music from Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Macedonia, much of it Romani. These days, the group is focusing on creating an original sound that draws upon all our creative resources, whether it be the voices of Jack Ohly and Petia Zamfirova, the screaming sax of Elliott Levin, or the rhythmic and compositional wit of percussionist Gregg Mervine - also tunes by Larry Toft and Brendan Cooney. The repertoire includes classic Romanian songs made famous by Romica Puceanu, Bulgarian wedding music, re-visioned jazz tunes by Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk, old world klezmer songs, and original tunes that stretch traditional harmony (ala Bartok) and make hips move. WPO is an obstreperous village band in step with West Philly’s DIY culture (i.e. its Co-Ops, underground music networks, and proactive anarchist legacy), but whose playing can just as easily wring tears and sorrow from the soul as it can spark cathartic outpourings of joyful ecstasy. WPO is an ensemble for both children and adults, one that sounds fantastic in darkness and sunshine, and which represents inspiring standards of excellence - which, like an orchestra, can express the entire gamut of human experience.
West Philadelphia Orchestra
West Philly, Philadelphia PA
Eastern European brass bands, Mingus, Sun Ra, Bartok, Devo, Adrian Sherwood, Fugazi.