THE KROPOTKINS to Release First New Album 'Portents of Love' 4/21

The Kropotkins, named after the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin, create music that hearkens back to the timeless artistry of American roots music and North Mississippi rhythm & blues and fife and drum. The six members of the band: Lorette Velvette (vocals, guitar); Charlie Burnham (vocals, fiddle and all string instruments); Dave Soldier (vocals, fiddle and string instruments); Mark Deffenbaugh aka Dog (guitar); Alex Greene (bass drum, keyboards); and Jonathan Kane (drums) have spent years nurturing their skills as musicians, vocalists and songwriters, and all members make invaluable contributions to the ensemble. It's been nearly six years since the release of The Kropotkins' third album "Paradise Square" and now they're proud to announce the April 21st release of "Portents of Love" on Mulatta Records.

"Portents of Love", produced by Bob Neuwirth (Bob Dylan, T-Bone Burnett, Janis Joplin, John Cale, among many others) and Rory Young (Gerri Allen, Willie Colon, The Thai Elephant Orchestra, among others), features tunes by the group and by Texas troubadour Vince Bell, blues singers Mississippi Fred McDowell and Louise Johnson, George Gershwin, Bill Monroe, Ian & Sylvia, and Woody Guthrie. The entire album is haunted by the Spanish poet Gabriel Garcia Lorca, whose portrait is on the bed stand on the cover. One of the original pieces, "The Stars of Country Music Greet the Spring" is a version of a sevillianas, the traditional dance from Spain.

Here's a link for "Fred Goes Out at Night", the first single from "Portents of Love":

The Kropotkins was created in 1994 by composer and neuroscientist Soldier, who has performed with John Cale and Bo Diddley and is the founder of the Soldier String Quartet and co-founder of the Thai Elephant Orchestra, and Kane, who is known for his work with February, Rhys Chatham, LaMonte Young, and Swans, after they heard Mississippi fife and drum music and "flipped out on it". Soldier credits Bill Monroe's music, along with Howlin' Wolf, unreleased north Mississippi tapes by Alan Lomax, and cassettes of Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside and Othar Turner that esteemed journalist Robert Palmer had given him, as the inspiration for the band.

He called up his favorite musician for each part. "Locating Lorette Velvette, who has recorded/performed with Hellcats, Tav Falco, Sonic Youth and Jessie Mae Hemphill, was an adventure. The only player in the group I didn't really know and had only met once when she opened for Othar Turner in 1992 at the Bank on Houston Street - I thought I was hallucinating. I tracked her down in Memphis when John Cale and my Soldier String Quartet group performed at the 25th anniversary of Elvis's death." He continues, "From the Cale entourage, we invited the great Mo Tucker to play (who performed with us from 1998-2002), my favorite violinist, Charlie Burnham (Cassandra Wilson, James Blood Ulmer, Henry Threadgill), and favorite slide guitarist, Mark "Dog" Deffenbaugh (John Cale, Siouxie & the Banshees),." Keyboardist Alex Greene, whose credits include Iggy Pop, Jim Dickinson, and Reigning Sound, joined the group in 2007.

The Kropotkins released their debut self-titled record in 1995, followed in 2000 by "Five Points Crawl", which received a rave from All Music Guide's Zach Layton who wrote, "A stunning follow-up to their self-titled debut....Their unique sound mixes the instrumentation of an American Revolutionary militia band (fife, field drum, banjo, violin) fused with a punk-inspired and historical sense of the Mississippi Delta blues. An eclectic mix of veteran musicians and accomplished songwriters (Dave Soldier, Charlie Burnham, Dog) create an atmosphere of twang and trash while the extraordinary and subtle Memphis singer Lorette Velvette drawls out surreal and sultry vocals, backed up by the driving rhythmic energy of Moe Tucker and Johnathan Kane. Highly recommended." Spending years perfecting their blend of musical styles, "Paradise Square", was released in 2009.

Although they don't have the opportunity to perform live very often due to the fact that Lorette and Alex live in Memphis while Dave, Jonathan, and Charlie live in NYC, and Dog in LA, they've played memorable concerts over the years at the Bottom Line, Knitting Factory, Tonic, Joe's Pub, Poisson Rouge, Issue Project Room and the Blues in Roots Festival in the mountains of British Columbia that have received an enthusiastic response from the media.

Related Articles View More Music Stories

From This Author Danielle DeSisto

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram