Rupa & the April Fishes won critical acclaim and a global network of devoted fans with their exquisite debut CD, "eXtraOrdinary rendition." Their eagerly-awaited second release, "Este Mundo," seems destined to multiply both the accolades and the fan base exponentially. Multilingual singer/songwriter/physician/human rights activist Rupa Marya and her talented, inventive band have created a fabulously exuberant and eclectic collection exploring themes of love, longing and loneliness. Several of the songs confront the borders--geopolitical and metaphorical--that separate people from their loved ones and their dreams, and Rupa gives passionate voice to the migrants who risk life and limb to find a new life in a strange and inhospitable land.
Other songs worthy of mention include "L'elephant" and "Trouble." In the former (inspired, I believe, by the writings of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti) Rupa sings of an elephant walking through the jungle, innocently trampling the trees in its path, which enables the human following in that path to enjoy the moonlight that "only falls where the trees have already fallen." One hears the elephant's footsteps in the band's thunderous crescendo, as Ara Anderson's gorgeous trumpet solo soars above the din. "Trouble," a delightfully jazzy/bluesy number, showcases the artistry of Marcus Cohen on trumpet, Ed Baskerville on cello and Safa Shokrai on bass, as Rupa laments an apparent tug-of-war between head and heart: "trouble beautiful trouble/why don't you stay/i think that you should go."
Backed by some of the finest musicians in the Bay Area, Rupa wonderfully answers the call of the Beatles to "take a sad song and make it better." "Este Mundo" is powerful medicine from the good doctor.