Sunday, March 21, 2010


I have sought out and enjoyed good music of every style for my entire life. After all these years it still amazes me how there is always something new and exciting to be discovered. My wife and I heard Telesma at FairieCon last fall in Hunt Valley MD and were blown away. I have heard a lot of music that calls itself "world" or "world-fusion" or "east meets west" and some of it is good, some of it is lame. Telesma may get dropped into that world-fusion category, but they have that extra something that most of the others are missing. They don't just drop a sitar on top of a synthesizer. They create something completely unique out of the merging of different musical elements that they have a strong connection to.

There is intense rhythmic drive, which keeps the energy level very high. The sound is big and rich, with a lot of variety in instrumentation, and an over arching sense of beauty in sound and tone. There is a flow of improvisation that goes on individually and collectively throughout the performance. Musical themes evolve gradually, and build in intensity. You get a sense that they are truly working as a group, achieving that magic higher level of unity that so rarely happens in bands.
The effect is to communicate with the listener on a deep non-verbal level, to envelop your mind and senses and carry you away. You get taken on a journey. Their music is coming at you on many levels at once, but you can enjoy it at whatever level you are into. For example, there are elements of trance and electronica in their music, yet it is never dull and rewards attentive listening. There is quirky creativity that still manages to kick some serious ass. There is deep soul and spirit. There is a strong understanding of the power of rhythms of different cultures. It is the remarkable organic merging of all those things that make the experience of hearing Telesma so amazing.

I have to highlight Telesma's guitarist Chris Mandra. Even though it is clearly a group effort, Chris provides an intense creative drive to each song that is essential to the band's performance. He brings improvisation and electronic experimentation, great guitar playing skills and a fiery passion into every song. He is a totally dedicated and completely original musician. Check out more of him:

All pictures taken by Crystal. 

1 comment:

  1. Ben...Chris is a buddy of mine...and I agree, he is an excellent guitarist. I haven't seen him yet with Telesma, but I really want to. What a great review!!
    Brian Jarboe