MEXartes Festival
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

reviewed by Oxana Doudina & Gary Levinson


Nine Rain, a concert review by Gary Levinson and Oxana Doudina 



If there were any doubts about the benefits of multiculturalism, Nine Rain offers startlingly positive proof. The result of putting an American saxophone player and a German electric bassist together with a Mexican rock band is superb. This international group creates a unified sound interlacing jazz, rock and Latin American rhythms.
 Along with the variety of musical styles, the juxtaposition of two languages, English and Spanish, produces an unexpectedly harmonic and rich combination.
 The concert took place at the House of World Culture (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), a bulbous, modern building, from the time of a divided Berlin.
 This concert was the first of a series of events in the MEXartes festival in Berlin, and was part of the tour presenting Nine Rain’s latest album, “Rain of Fire”.
 Nine Rain’s repertoire is varied and interesting: sometimes light and danceable, other times pessimistic, as it takes you down a narrow one-way alley to some desolate place. It is constantly enjoyable.
 Some songs follow a standard literary dramatic structure. They have an exposition, complication (the rising action), climax, falling action (retardation), and denouement (resolution). Others keep a flat line, presenting a balanced music with no high-low points. The music is mostly instrumental, but when there are words, they are essential.
 You may find yourself dissolving into the music, then being transported into an ecstatic, trance-like state. Closing your eyes and meditating on/with the rhythm can lead up to a joyful communion with the omnipresent all.
 Leader, Steven Brown has his own image and style: a wise, cosmopolitan, Latin, American, philosopher who commiserates and celebrates with all your inner, secretly hidden, joyous feelings. But at times he appears to be like Jim Morrison; other times he sings like Iggy Pop, and sometimes even like Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.
 Steven Brown plays saxophone, clarinet, keyboards and does vocals; Alejandro Herrera plays the blues harp, jarana, flute and sings. Nikolas Klau is on electric bass, with Jose Luis Dominguez on guitar. Daniel Aspuru plays a driving drum kit and a very energetic Carlos Munoz does the percussion. All together, they create an original, avant-garde style of music.
 “Rain of Fire” is an album to be listened to and enjoyed.
 This article was printed in New Renaissance, Vol. 12, No. 1  Posted on the web on January 10, 2007