I know exactly where I’ll be on Wednesday nights: Red Fez, listening to an amazing middle-eastern fusion band called Atash
Atash was born in the vibrant arts and music scene of Austin, Texas, where musicians called The Gypsies began creating an exquisite fusion of world sounds as early as 1996. Quickly hailed as “Austin’s best-kept secret!” (Austin Chronicle), The Gypsies earned numerous accolades for their theatre and film scores, most notably their “live” score to Tod Browning’s 1929 silent thriller, The Unknown, and their incidental music to the play The Conference of the Birds, by Peter Brooks.
My friend and I had just left his music set at Hickory Street, and we were thinking of calling it a night when we passed by the open door of Red Fez. The crowd inside and the smell of hookah enticed us to enter. I’m so glad we did! The band sounded very traditional at first, and they would smoothly transition mid-song to more western beats. All of the members were outstanding musicians, and seemingly each was from a different corner of the world: Indian sitar player, Korean and Mexican violinists, Anglo stand-up bassist and drummer, Guinean Djembe player, and Iranian singer. Atash (which means “fire” in Persian) plays most Wednesday nights at Red Fez. Here are a couple of sample tracks from their site (press the little play button to the right):