30 Years of Embryo, Party at the Babylon Kunstpark Ost
They have just released their 22nd record. A double CD of their 98 tour from Istanbul to Casablanca, which they did in a modified ambulance car from May until the end of the year. The free psychedelic and alternative feeling embodied by Embryo in the 1970s still characterizes the aura of the improvisational musicians today. Years before their adventurous nine-month journey to India (1978-1979), the instrumentalists of the band, who with the exception of a few core musicians have always changed, were already occupied with the fusion of Western and non-European sounds. But while other bands under the label "World Music" took the foreign sound for themselves, Embryo continues his expeditions to this day.
Joachim Ernst Berendt encouraged Embryo in his book "Die Welt ist Klang" (The World is Sound): "....I don't think there is any group in the USA that lives world music as much as Embryo."
And Bert Noglik wrote after a concert this year: "..... But it is precisely what gets ethno-purists or academically conservative people upset that makes the group so charming. How Arabic and Indian, African and finally also Chinese came together in the process of improvisation, how a common network was created, the art of being able to embark on a musical journey even in the imagination was demonstrated. Embryo is not a musical genre, but a life form".
How many musicians have played with Embryo will remain an eternal mystery, the estimates are well over 400. What has happily come together during the three decades of non-stop touring, all internal crises, splits, trend changes in the music industry, happily surviving, justifies an elaborate documentation. The many journeys, sometimes lasting almost a year, from Japan to New York, from Stockholm to the coasts of Nigeria were valuable years of learning and traveling for many musicians. Innumerable sessions in ever new combinations, 22 released recordings to date, and a multiple of still unreleased recordings are the result. Although in self-administered and sponsor-free self-direction from the mid-70s as a counter-vote to the commercial record business under the name Schneeball together with like-minded bands such as "Ton Steine Scherben" and "Checkpoint Charlie" was built up by using all available resources, it took place with prominent participation: Sigi Schwab, Dave King, Trilok Gurtu, Rabih Abou Khalil, Charlie Mariano, Okay Temiz, Karnataka College of Percussion or Mal Waldron, all of them remained loyal to the music collective Embryo without putting money first or powering through their own musical concept.
In any case a reason to celebrate!
With a concert to which as many former fellow musicians from near and far as possible are invited. You can hear stylistic reviews, exotic, foreign and new unknown things. A music happening lasting several hours. Rare videos (1969-1998) of Embryo can be seen on monitors. In addition there is a sensational exhibition with rare tour posters.
In the Babylon Kunstpark Ost on 18. 2. 1999 !
Invitations to all Embryo musicians all over the world are on their way, first confirmations of Okay Temiz from Istanbul, Ramesh Shotham from Karnataka College of Percussion from India, Dave King from the USA, Famadou from Africa, Mohamed Mounir (the Bob Marley of the Middle East) have arrived. Of course they are also present: Founding members Edgar Hofmann and 'Embryomotor' Christian Burchard, Roman Bunka, Geoff Goodman, Chris Karrer, Dieter Serfas, Lothar Stahl, Alan Praskin, Peter Michael Hamel, Chris Lachotta, Monty Waters, Alan Praskin, Jens Pollheide, Xizhi Nie, Li Huanga, Jamal Mohmand, Hermann Breuer, Alexander Alexandrov, Götz, Karsten Hochapfel, Suchredin Chonov, Roland Schaeffer ...we can only hope that the stage will be big enough for everyone.