April Fishes shares passion for music

Beatty Nelson

Drawing their sound from African-American, Latino, Pacific Islander and middle-class white hipster roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rupa & the April Fishes have created a sound that is well-known all over the world.

Rupa & the April Fishes will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 in the Great Lakes Rooms.

The performance is a part of the International Performing Arts Series.

Rupa Marya is the voice, composer and musical director and also works as physician and teacher at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center where she is a professor of internal medicine. Her music is one of her passions in life and she loves to share her love for humanity through music.

“Our band is the sound of the party that is rising out of the ashes of the apocalypse when we have to dust off ourselves and start building,” Marya said. “It’s the sound of insistence, defying categorizations that were put in place to market music on the art market where ideas and images are packaged and sold.”

Hailing from San Francisco, Marya and the band try to embrace their cultural roots and the cultural history of the city they’re from. In 2006, the band started in the Mission District and performed in bars in the barrio, as they found their own unique sound inspired by street music and public art. The band began touring for several years and has toured all over the world.

They have played in the United States, Mexico, India and all over Europe. Marya said the travels have helped them grow individually.

“We have also played at the bedside of sick and dying people in San Francisco, at universities in North America, in garages where music is seen as a way of social engagement rather than something to be bought, sold and traded,” Marya said. “We love it all. All these different experiences hone our craft and ask us to examine what we feel the role of music is in today’s society.”

Marya is the daughter of Punjabi immigrants and was raised between San Francisco, France and India. She was classically trained in both voice and piano.

The culture she experienced as a young girl helped her create the sound that she is known for today. Her own personal experience helped her to share this advice with the people of Marquette.

“Create the vision you want to see in the world,” Marya said. “Engage your own power of manifesting that into reality and take risks with what you think the world can be. When you make your choices based off of fear, you will live fear and that will shape everything you do. Instead of building a life based in fear, imagine and create the reality you would like to see.”

Erin Astle, a senior entrepreneurship major, said the group’s lively and upbeat music will make for a great performance.

“The music that Rupa & the April Fishes makes is really diverse and engaging, which makes for a great show that students will have an awesome time at,” Astle said.

Astle is a member of First Aid Productions who helped to bring Rupa & the April Fishes to campus, along with the Beaumier Heritage Center.

“The Heritage Center came up with a list of performers that they would be able to bring to campus with the help from another group,” Astle said. “They contacted First Aid Productions and together we decided we liked Rupa the best and asked them to perform for us.”

Tickets are now on sale and students get in free with a valid NMU ID. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door for NMU faculty and $20 at the door for the general public.