Dirtwire, the genre bending, African ngoni and jawharp plucking, harmonica and trumpet blowing, electric guitar slinging, violin and banjo bowing, blues singing, Siberian ghostcatcher playing trio of cowboys from California are going to Kazakhstan in the heart of Central Asia to play in the national world music festival “The Spirit of Astana,” July 6-8. More info on the festival at https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiritOfTengri.
Located in the heart of the futuristic city of Astana, rising above the steppes like a surreal mashup of Shanghai, Blade Runner, and Egyptian pyramids. The city’s festival features acts from around the world, with over twenty countries including Iran, Japan, Mali, Turkey, Ireland, Mongolia, Senegal, Peru, Georgia, Lithuania, and many more. Dirtwire will be the sole group featured from the United States, and will be representing their unique blend of country, blues, and musical influences from six of the world’s continents.
The talent buyer for the festival extended the offer to Dirtwire after stumbling upon them online and said, “Your sound was professional, we search everyday for unique bands in different forms of the Ethno World music. We found you on the internet and we showed it to our general producer. You guys were awesome and we wanted to invite you =) We liked the idea of mixing styles and your multi instrumental talents.”
But this is not just a another gig for the boys. They have booked a studio for the length of their time in Kazakhstan and will be recording with many of the artists also playing at the festival. They will then be releasing an album of these collaborations, as they explore cross-cultural musical fusions grounded in the spirit of the wide open expanses of Central Asia.
Dirtwire has roots in this region tracing back to their Ondar EP, which featured the legendary throat singer and Tuvan national treasure Kongar-ol Ondar (featured in the popular documentary “Genghis Blues”). In fact this collaborative EP was to be his last recording before he passed away in 2013. The fact that the music of Ondar and their time with him has led Dirtwire to play “The Spirit of Astana” is something the band is approaching with reverence, respect, and gratitude, and plan to return to the U.S. having bridged as many cultural and musical divides as they can.