CrazyBread are one of the best bands on the London scene you have never heard of. Funky, soulful, witty and sexy to boot, it’s probably fair to say that their sound is just now gelling together from the impossibly diverse elements making it up
They have a loyal following marshalled by the irrepressibly organised Lopa, who leads the band. Like her band’s sound she is about as global as you can be. British Asian and fluent in no fewer than five languages (which helps with getting the best out of her Spanish and Portuguese-speaking musicians), she balances her ambitous side with a wonderful warmth and sense of fun.
I love singing and I love singing with other people, and to have 2 female voices sharing it out on stage creates a powerful resonance. Even now, I get goose bumps when I sing with Anju
Sharing lead vocal duties is her ‘sister in song’ Anju, soulful, gorgeous and down to earth, Anju was once tipped to be the next big thing on the left-field scene but somehow it never quite happened first time round — which is probably just as well for CrazyBread.
I caught up with Lopa — whose voice you might recognise from her moonlighting on BBC World Service, where she reads the news — to find out her recipe for CrazyBread….
How did CrazyBread come about?
I have had a sound — a musical texture — in my head since embarking on this music-thing and, having started my career with some great jazz musicians in India, I fell in love with a particular flavour of artistes ie. those who like to push, push themselves and their instruments; who think of music as a dialogue — corny as it sounds, it is true. I have been planning this band for a while. It was just a case of waiting till everything began to fall into place. For instance, I met Anju, my sister in song, when I was part-managing an Asian collective run by DJ Ritu called ‘Sister India’. The moment I met her I knew that I wanted to sing with her. As my luck would have it, she was taking a break from singing when CrazyBread was coming together.
This double lead vocal thing is pretty unusual, tell us more about that and some of the other unusual combinations in the band…
I love singing and I love singing with other people, and to have 2 female voices sharing it out on stage creates a powerful resonance. Even now, I get goose bumps when I sing with Anju and, because she is such an accomplished singer/song-writer she gives me the confidence to experiment and stretch my own boundaries. Our voices, tho’ quite different, seem to rejoice in harmony and fit so well together. I love it.
….and the rest of the band, well, one musician led to another. You know how difficult it is to find good musicians, willing to learn original songs AND rehearse? Gold-dust. For the first 4 or 5 gigs we had a different line-up each time: hard work and it was tough trying to create a CrazyBread sound. But hey, as the old year went out and the new one came in, things just kept getting better and better. Soon there were musicians asking to play with us and offering themselves up to our CrazyBread world. There are now 7 of us all up, spanning 5 continents, and all British or living and working in UK — how much more ‘Multi-Cultural-Britain-Today’ could we be? a Brazilian, an Australian, a Briton, 2 Indians (us Asian babes out front!) a Spaniard and a Ghanaian.
One of my pet issues is respect. Respect for yourself, those around you and those who you have yet to meet. Every moment of every day you could do something that makes life a little better, sweeter, easier and I want our music to be an extension of that thought
You’ve been getting about a bit, haven’t you? Where next?
Well apart from a couple of residencies in London, we are going to be playing at the Marlborough Jazz Festival in July and hopefully down at the Eden Project and Bodmin Moor, plus Bristol and Brighton… so watch this space… or should I say myspace. On the site you can listen to some of what I like to call our ‘Bathroom’ recordings! After the summer is over, we’re going to check in to a fully-equipped, no holes-barred, all-mod-cons bathroom and do it properly! I also spent a few weeks in India earlier this year putting together a basic tour for CrazyBread to perform there in November.
You left a glittering career in finance for this, any regrets?
Nope, nada, niente, nunca….uh uhnnn — clear enuff?
What’s the music policy?
Be happy with what we play and who we play with. Keep it fun, keep it true and, nothing is set in stone. I want CrazyBread to be a stage for each one of us, so that when people hear our music, they say “that must be Lisa on bass… or that couldn’t be anyone other than Kiko on guitar…” When people come to our gigs, I want them to take something with them. Whether it’s a feeling of, “yeah, I know what you mean…” to just having had a good time and feeling re-energised and connected.
One of my pet issues is respect. Respect for yourself, those around you and those who you have yet to meet. Every moment of every day you could do something that makes life a little better, sweeter, easier and I want our music to be an extension of that thought.
Catch their next gig on Sunday 11th June at The Common Room, Ealing Common tube, Uxbridge Road. Or at the Chatsworth in Acton on Wednesdays including 14th June. See their Myspace site for further listings. Don’t forget to check them out at the Marlborough Jazz Festival in July too.
Link: Catch the Bathrooom Sessions at www.myspace.com/crazybreaduk