The Taos News 06/28/2012, Page S20
The Constant Tourists aren’t likely to stand around the plaza looking bewildered
Kazoo, accordion, trumpet, cello — the Constant Tourists are not your typical band. The Denver-based band has been likened to the Squirrel Nut Zippers and the Pink Martinis,though according to founding member Cassie Sánchez, neither group directly influenced them.
Instead, they owe their gypsyjazz revelry to Sánchez’ exposure to the street and urban musicians of France, as well as zydeco music.
Band members also bring strains of classical and jazz training into the mix. The Constant Tourists will be playing Saturday (June 30), 7-10 p.m., in the Adobe Bar at The Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The all-ages concert is free. The Constant Tourists began with Cassie and her husband Nate Sánchez about seven years ago up in Washington State. A self-taught guitarist, Nate was part of his high school’s jazz and chamber all-state choirs. He began writing songs in middle school. Cassie, who grew up in Colorado Springs, played as first chair trumpet through her high school years, was part of an all-state choir, and played in a ska band called The Ghetto Cherubs. She also played piano, which turned out to be useful when she picked up her first accordion several years ago.
The couple collaborates on songwriting and vocals with Nate playing guitar and kazoo and Cassie playing accordion and trumpet. Despite their name, the two played primarily in Washington until they moved to Oregon for about four years, then to drier territory. Within six months of moving back to the Rocky Mountains, they added three new members to the band fill out their sound.
Joel Ambrosino, who plays mandolin and does vocals, hails from Michigan, and adds a love for funk and bluegrass to the band. Cellist Rebecca Jonas, originally from New York state, has a background in rock, jazz and classical music. She has performed with the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra and more recently in Boulder, Colo., with Carry Me Ohio. When not performing, Jonas teaches music for middle-schoolers and gives private music lessons.
Drummer and percussionist Samuel Gillet comes all the way from Belgium. He has drummed for 15 years and brings Latin, jazz, blues and world beats to the mix.
Cassie said the Constant Tourists are used to playing long sets of music. They like to ease an audience in at the beginning, building up to a crescendo of their most energetic pieces. They also enjoy interacting with their audience throughout their shows.
“We have a tune that is kind of a call-and-response scat song,” Cassie said, adding, “We love it when people dance.”
The Constant Tourists released their latest CD, “Carry On,” with the full band in April 2012. Sample songs from the CD can be listened to by visiting their website.
Asked how the band chose the title, Cassie said the name was suggested by one of their fans in response to a request the band made on Facebook.
“We liked it because it has a dual meaning – ‘carry on’ as in getting over stuff, and ‘carry on’ as in the Constant Tourist’s theme of traveling and touring.”
On that note, The Constant Tourists are testing the waters here in New Mexico, and exploring how well they travel out on the road.
For more, visit www.theconstanttourists.com .
THE HUM Ariana Kramer