The band’s name is indicative of the styles of music they combine effortlessly, a combination of gypsy jazz, hip hop, punk, klezmer and 1930s swing.
The group formed in early 2016 and consists of Yoni Benshlomo of Butcher Knives on vox and bass, Cristobal Miranda of Escarioka on drums, Sylvain de Muynck on piano and accordion, Ellie Goodman of Bedlam Swing on violin, Abraham Mennen on clarinet and sax, as well as harmony by MC Reptiwa.
Benshlomo explained that he and Miranda were close friends from the music scene who had spoken about the idea of creating a fusion of the old and new sounds.
Benshlomo had met Repitwa once through a mutual friend, and remembered his amazing talent as a rapper. He reached out to Repitwa to see if he was interested in creating music that was new and different. After Repitwa showed interest, Miranda and Benshlomo reached out to several other talented musicians in the city. Eventually the group came together to create a fun, unique sound.
“We managed to merge all of our favorite styles into one sound,” Benshlomo said. “Imagine Django Reinhardt had a baby with Manu Chao and Run DMC at the same time. Hard to imagine, right? Just come see the band!”
The performance at Bowery Electric will be Speakeasy Streets' debut performance. It’s the result of a year-and-a-half’s worth of hard work, from rehearsals to recording their EP “Speakeasy Streets” to doing a band shoot.
“We can definitely say it's a mix of nerves and excitement,” Benshlomo said. “We've already been through alot together even before our first gig, so this is big for us. We're excited to bring our work into the live music world.”
With the positive reactions regarding the EP, fans should expect a lively show that will keep you on your feet. Benshlomo noted the band’s excitement to see the response “on people's faces when mid-song we'll do sudden switches from old Gypsy Jazz into Hip Hop breakdowns.”
While Speakeasy Streets is the headliner, other bands performing include Tipsy Oxcart and Mad Meg. Tipsy Oxcart is a Balkan band whose music has elements of rock, jazz and funk. The band mixes up sounds from all around southeastern Europe designed to have you stomping your feet all night long.
Mad Meg is influenced by the eclectic sounds of Russia, the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan. Their musical centers around aspects of rock to jazz with a hint of Mariachi and Russian urban folk music.
Between sets, Miranda will be DJing for the crowd.
“I feel that in very few places besides New York can you bring so many types of people from all over the world into one project,” Benshlomo said.
In Speakeasy Streets, band members hail from Chile, Israel, France, South Africa, Cuba, California and New York City.
“Everyone brings their influence into this band,” he added. “We call it our own cultural clusterf*ck...and in the best way possible.”
The show will take place on Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m. at Bowery Electric (327 Bowery in Manhattan). There is a $10 cover charge. To keep up with Speakeasy Streets, or listen to their EP, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/speakeasystreets. The event page can also be found on Facebook.