Volta voice


Fredalba Sounds normally associated with Los Angeles: The whirl of helicopters, the shrill of police sirens, the blaring of car horns. But that's all hype and Hollywood. There is another sound that fills the streets of this sprawling urban Mecca and it's an amalgamation of hip-shaking Latin rhythms, bass-heavy hip-hop beats, streetwise rock riffs, and funky soul grooves. Even a gorgeous redirection of wind can be heard weaving its way through the organized chaos, calming its paroxysmal energy. Collectively, that sound is called Fredalba.

"Los Angeles is such a big part of what our music is, not unlike the Chili Peppers or Ozomatli," says singer-Fredalba visionary Eric Balfour. "There are so many influences here, from punk to Latin to rock to electro, that shapes who we are as musicians. This city shapes our style in every way. I wanted our sound to be L.A."

Uptown Music for Downtown Kids, Fredalba's Piller Records debut, could not be the product of any other landscape. Fredalba has pulled off the unique feat of sounding like something as abstract as a city with convincing clarity. The sextet's seamless merging of sounds and cultures into one coherent and focused style is the product of a longstanding vision held dear to Balfour's heart from a very young age. "I grew up in an environment where the artist was held at the highest pinnacle," remembers Balfour. "To create art and create music ­ that was one of the most respected things you could do. That shaped a lot of how I view the world and had a lot to do with me wanting to become a singer."

Fredalba grew out of that vision. Assembled over time through friends of friends, the band converged through a common love of music, culture, and energy. That recipe has birthed Uptown Music, a sonic companion to Possibility Through Positivity ­ the band's credo. "This band is about raw energy," says Balfour. "And bringing it to you when you see us live so it inspires you and it motivates you to get up, move, and do something."

Rough and tumble rock tracks ("Storm"), urban hymns ("Uptown Music"), and soaring anthems ("Shine") insure that Uptown Music flows freely through Fredalba's world of hip-hop, rock, and Latin rhythms, but it¹s the flute crisscrossing this beautiful union that truly sets the band apart. "Eric was interested in what it would sound like," says flautist Charmian Callon. "We had no idea if it would sound good, but it sounded really great. I think it opens a lot of people's eyes and ears to a new vibe. Of course, anybody in the jazz and classical world is familiar with the flute, but the majority of the population is not. A lot of times when they see it in a rock band, they are skeptical. But they are always pleasantly surprised."

As will all those that enter Fredalba's world: An eclectic mix of sonic art and culture corralled into a funky, energetic burst of uplifting might. Just likeŠchicken? "For me, chicken is chicken," says Balfour. "It just depends on what you put on it. Ours is definitely a sweet, tangy barbeque sauce that's a little bit spicy and has a really good after taste."

Headed by actor Eric Balfour, this band has now changed their name to Born As Ghosts.
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