They can rock and jam and funk it out, they can do it slow and sweet, or fast and furious, and they can do it all night. Wassabi Collective — Melissa Meretsky on percussion and vocals; Brent “Gisto” Hongisto on guitar and vocals; Jimmy Lewis on drums and vocals; keyboardist Rahj Levinson and bassist Scott Milne — has mastered the art of banging out severely danceable tunes that rarely are carbon copies of each other. Head-bopping hooks and tasty pockets of funk can swerve unexpectedly, easily veering off into exploratory jams, fueled by the captivating vocals of Meretsky, the band’s soul-soothing siren. Wassabi Collective’s sound can be tough to hammer down. Under a beat-driven, psychedelic-hued umbrella listeners will be put under a tranquil spell of funk, roots reggae and dub, rock, disco, drum ‘n’ bass, trance, and hip hop, with tinges of African and Latin sensibilities and hypnotizing tribal beats peppered throughout.
Meretsky, who shares vocal duties with the raw and real reggae rudeboy Gisto, has a young, boundless energy and powerful and assertive vocals that drip with a molasses-smooth warmth. She drives her drums with a force to be reckoned with, twirling about in an alluring display, interrupted only to bounce back to her congas in a fiery display. This spicy five-piece from the arty, alternative-thinking small town of Nelson, B.C., of 10,000, has been spreading their positive west coast vibes for more than seven years now. Many of Wassabi’s lyrics sing of beauty and realness and being true, but the band also looks to the outside, spreading messages of environmental, social and spiritual activism packaged in positive, feel-good lyrics. The quintet released their first full-length studio record, “Stories Not Forgotten”, in spring 2007, a boisterous, independent follow-up to their rockin’ 2005 EP “Cato”, along with a banging collection of live recordings. Wassabi Collective has shared the stage in opening or co-headlining slots with such well-loved bands and artists as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Femi Kuti, Hot Hot Heat, Randy Bachman of The Guess Who, Bedouin Soundclash, Garaj Mahal, K-OS, Bassnectar, and Ganga Giri. They have lent their vibe to many of Canada’s music festivals in the last few years including Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Kokannee Crankworx, Sunshine Music Festival, Kokanee Summit, Whistler Music and Arts Festival, Komasket, Victoria Folk Fest, Evolve(5,6,7), Sunseekers Ball, Shambhala Music Festival, and Come Together.
Their long list of charitable performances include the Music4Change Oxfam Benefit. Triumphs in the last year: 1. Won Toronto Exclusive magazine Provincial Awards for Best World Song (“One Day”), World Album (“Stories Not Forgotten”), World Group, and Website, October 2007. 2. Nominated at the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs).
"Blues on my Mind" was given the nod for Best Song in Jam Category, October 2007. Winners will be announced very soon, chosen by a 50-person judging panel consisting of influential artists and industry heavyweights including Snoop Dogg, Suzanne Vega and Les Claypool. 3. Three songs featured on PBS series, “Roadtrip Nation,” Sept. 2007 4.
Sonicbids spotlight band, March 2007 5. On the cover of HERE magazine, New Brunswick’s urban voice, March 2007 6. No. 1 “On The Verge” band (Relix magazine), March 2007 7.
Showcased at Canada Music Week, March 2007 “Wassabi Collective is critically acclaimed as one of Canada’s best live independent bands. For over five years, they have enthralled audiences from coast to coast with their dynamic, explorative jams and eclectic...soul-satisfying sound...”(Off Centre Magazine-Dec 2005, Kelowna,BC) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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