Barbez takes shape in a sunstruck phantasm; Kurt Weill swims the length of a still pond, underwater The Residents are refurbishing their home, Erik Satie descends from above to lie in the grass and sip seltzer. Shapes emerge from flowering trees and a Dionysian wedding dance ensues. Provoked by such musics as French musette, Argentine tango, post-war classical and pre-MTV punk, Barbez wrings these disparate worlds to form anew in the band's own soundscape.
The group began in 1997 with members whose backgrounds encompass jazz, classical, and rock. The band is made up of musicians from the following musicians, our own little musical collective: Dan Kaufman (guitar and vocals), Pamelia Kurstin (theremin and vocals), Danny Tunick (marimba, vibes), Dan Coates (bass, electronics), Peter Hess (clarinets), Peter Lettre (bass, guitar), Cecile Genevieve Brasil Boehler (soprano sax, vocals), Sarah Bernstein (violin), John Bollinger (drums), Shahzad Ismaily (drums), Catherine McCrae (violin).
Barbez has recorded three albums all of them engineered and mixed by the incomparable Martin Bisi. Frequent collaborations with other musicians, both live and in the studio, have included cellist Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), vocalist Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), drummer Anthony Nozero (Drums and Tuba), and toy instrument ingenue Rebecca Moore. Barbez is currently at work on its fourth album. Barbez also has a long-standing collaboration with downtown theatre pioneer, John Jesurun, appearing frequently in Jesuruns long-running avant-soap opera, Chang in a Void Moon. For years, Barbez has been a constant, vibrant part of the New York music scene and the group tours frequently across the U.S. and Europe. Over the years the group has been privileged to perform with a wide variety of artists including Cat Power, Sun Ra Arkestra, godspeed you! black emperor, Faun Fables, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, DKT/MC5, Devendra Banhart, the Dresden Dolls, the Lonesome Organist, Shelley Hirsch, Faun Fables, and the Angels of Light.