Life is a million forgotten encounters, fleeting moments that move us in new directions. For Beats Antique -- a trio of worldly musicians who have been infusing the electronica genre with an Old World sound for the last four years -- a million moments converged to create brilliance. Humboldt County has been lucky. Some of those moments brought the trio here.
The group includes producer and choreographer Zoe Jakes, world musician and Afro-beat guru David Satori and percussionist extraordinaire Tommy Cappel. The trio followed different roads that led to the creation of Beats Antique.
Satori was 12 when his brother Mike gave him a guitar that he started playing in his home in Virginia. Later his grandfather left him a violin, which he used to learn gypsy fiddle. At 17 he was playing with his brother in an experimental band called Bubble Tribe. As his ear for foreign-sounding instruments expanded, he picked up Middle Eastern and Indian styles, and linked them to North African tribal music.
Jakes was busy too. She studied ballet and contemporary dance techniques that would later give Beats Antique shows a sense of style and beauty while gaining renown for her bellydancing -- performing with Copeland's Belly Dance Superstars and Rachel Brice's Indigo Belly Dance Company. She started working with Cappel while touring with Yard Dogs Road Show and Extra Action Marching Band years before Beats Antique was formed.
Cappel, also known as Sidecar Tommy, is a classically trained percussion aficionado who took his cues from his father's jazz collection before unraveling Middle Eastern beat patterns. He met Satori for the first time on a farm in Willits; later, the two played together at a Burning Man Decompression Party in the Bay Area.
In 2007 the three artists signed with the CIA record label run by Miles Copeland (brother of Stewart Copeland of The Police) and dropped their first album, Tribal Deviations. The sound was a lightening bolt into the electronic music scene; the band became one of the most sought after live acts on the music festival circuit.
Since 2007 Beats Antique has performed in front of sold out audiences all over the world, but it took a lot of work to get through that first album, said Satori. "First we had to approach it, find what our roles would be and then find out what sound we wanted to create." Jakes added, "All of us brought our own elements and we slowly melded together." Cappel said, "As we have refined the sound, the process has become easier and quite a bit faster."
Local fans talk about Beats Antique as if they are from a different planet. "Beats Antique understand how time is not linear. In one moment they skillfully blend past, present, and future allowing me to dance in absolute truth," said Ashley Maier from Arcata.
World Famous Productions presents a dance concert featuring Beats Antique with Filastine, a friend of the band from Seattle, on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Arcata Community Center. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, available at Peoples Records and Lotus Café in Arcata, The Works in Eureka or online at inTicketing.com.