AfroZep originated in 2009 with the mission to spread African music to wider audiences while paying tribute to the greatest Heavy Rock band of all time. Some tunes are straight mash-ups of Fela Kuti and Zeppelin, others are Zep tunes but set to original grooves based off the music of artists such as Tinariwen, Thomas Mapfumo and Franco and others are stripped down Zeppelin arrangements injected with the pulse of traditional African drumming.
Wilson (guitar/vocals) Marshall Greenhouse (drum-kit), and Ryan Behling (bass and lead vocals) bring years of road experience with them and a rotating all-star cast of musicians they have met along the way. Members of the project have recorded and toured with Chicago Afrobeat Project, 1000 Vertical Feet, 56 Hope Road, Starrunner, the Motet, Dubconscious, Seneke West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Chicago Samba and many more.
Psychedelic rock is in the midst of a resurgence with groups like the Flaming Lips releasing their most experimental music in years and new acts such as Tame Impala gaining major international attention. KAVA does what comes natural to three Chicago music veterans when writing, rehearsing and performing together.
Ryan Behling (bass/vox), Wilson (guitar) and Marshall Greenhouse (percussion/electronics) first met while forming AfroZep, a national touring act that fuses African influences into Led Zeppelin covers. The trio clicked from the start. It quickly became obvious that it was time to move away from arranging together and start writing original music. So they packed their cars with as many instruments as they could fit and headed far out of the city where they locked themselves up in a cabin for the weekend and experimented. The result was about 20 hours of recordings that included tightly composed odd time grooves in the vein of The Mars Votla, to 15+ minute minimalist jams which featured drones supplied by the Juno and Kaossilators.
KAVA has since continued to hold retreats, toured the country, performed local shows, often fully improvised, recorded 2 studio EPs plus an experimental improvised EP and in the summer of 2013, released their first full length album entitled Shikaakwa. Its rare to find three musicians that click on so many levels. Playing and learning about music together is what they live for. KAVA will continue to push new grounds and fight to get noticed regardless of whatever obstacles lie ahead.