How many people does it take to power a full music stage, complete with sound system, aerialists and a smoothie bar? About 20 human powered bicycles, lined up in rows, generating enough electrical energy to power a 5-piece band. Bright blue stationary bicycles are connected through their rear wheels with magnets and coils forming “ultra capacitors” to amplify sound. It’s called Pedal Power and its changing festivals for the greener good.
San Francisco band Cradle Duende lit up the bike-powered stage twice with their fusion of Klezmer and Flamenco music appropriately titled “klezmenco”. Their Friday night and Sunday evening sets attracted considerable crowds at the wanderers cross roads. Between the main stage and river path, the El Arbol Stage was one of eight performance areas. Cradle Duende’s mix of traditional Ashkenazic celebration music with modern reggae and Latin rhythms are infectiously danceable – with all the bike spinning and festival dancing the band was nonstop, turning down requests for encores.
Classically trained clarinetist Morgan Nilsen guided the band in full feather regalia from the side stage. Guitarist/vocalist Justin Ancheta in top hat and dark shades serenaded with his lovely, sensuous voice. Their bio reads “Cradle Duende brings the strength of deep cultural roots into the party atmosphere” and that’s exactly what it sounds like. Something between an outdoor electronica club in Eastern Europe and an underground jazz club in Paris. So perfectly San Francisco.
In the words of KPFK’s Visionary Activist Caroline Casey, a festival is a meeting place of enlightened souls engaging in clairvoyant business and consultation. Gatherings perpetuate the stability of the universal order with a direct correlation of music and dance; hence the importance of an incredible band to maintain the balance of business and pleasure.
Tags: Cradle Duende, Gaia Festival, Pedal Power, Rock the Bike