Ignorant Mob: NMU students bring world-beat sound to Marquette

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Music from the island of Jamaica is usually more at home on balmy tropical beaches than the chilly Upper Peninsula. But local band Ignorant Mob brings exotic island flavor straight to the stages of Marquette.

Ignorant Mob’s sound is a bit different from the usual local music heard around the Marquette area. Mike Kantola, guitarist and junior secondary education and English major, said the band’s interests lie in reggae, dub (a form of Jamaican music that evolved from reggae) and world-beat music.

“All of us share a love for some of the classic sounds of Jamaican roots’ reggae, and try to keep that dynamic in the sound,” he said. “As well, we are trying to hold that roots vibe and take it into a more contemporary realm with experiments in live dub.”

Ignorant Mob is partly comprised of brothers Lake Jungwirth, who plays guitar and bass, and Bryn Jungwirth, the band’s drummer. The Jungwirth brothers, along with Ian Zender, the percussionist and violinist, are the three founding members of the band. Bob Mahin, trombone player and percussionist, was the fourth member to join. Next came Kantola and Peter Gummerson on keyboard. All members contribute to the band’s vocals.

Gummerson, a senior music education major, added that only recently has the band begun to experiment with vocals. Up until about a year ago, the band was primarily instrumental.

Ignorant Mob has been together since 2001, although Gummerson joined only a year ago and Kantola joined the band this past fall. Kantola said friendship between the band members is a lot older than the band itself.

“We had a lot of fun and chemistry playing music together in the past, but I had moved away from Marquette to Washington state for a few years,” he said. “It just worked out that when I moved back to Marquette, these guys had lost their guitar player, and I jumped on board.”

An especially unique element to Ignorant Mob lies in their drummer, Bryn, who is blind. Bryn was born with partial sight, but was completely blind by the time he was six years old. Kantola met Bryn his first year at NMU, and he said he finds the drummer to be extremely talented and capable of overcoming tremendous challenges, on and off the stage.

“We shared a class together and I would walk him back to his dorm afterwards,” Kantola said. “At first, I treated him really delicately when we would walk together and would hold onto him explaining every little step that lay ahead of him. It didn’t take me long to realize that he didn’t need so much assistance.

“He can walk his short little legs faster than I can walk being a foot taller than him,” he added. “He actually walks around town by himself quite a bit, he can even find his way home after a night of partying at the bar, something that I find pretty challenging at times.”

Like most bands, whether at a local or superstar status, the audience plays a big part in Ignorant Mob’s live performance.
“I love seeing an audience rock out,” Kantola said. “They are really as important as those of us onstage when it comes to making a show hot or not … It’s damn hard to get into it if there is no crowd reaction.”

Performing and traveling on the road is made easier by the friendship shared between the band mates. Kantola said the camaraderie makes the band’s name more than surface deep.
“We truly are a mob, or a gang of brothers,” he said. “Each member has their own special skills and we band together to make the whole thing roll as smoothly as possible.”

Currently, Ignorant Mob is working with UpFront & Company to get a gig on Tuesday, Oct. 2. For more information on Ignorant Mob, check out the bad’s Web site at www.myspace.com/ignorantmob.