Life in the tank

Life in the tank

Gypsy jazz masters Fishtank Ensemble visits Caltech

By John Sollenberger 04/18/2013

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The Pasadena Folk Music Society (formerly the Caltech Folk Music Society) keeps playing the hits with world-class acts appearing on its cozy stage. Saturday night, test the waters with a performance by Fishtank Ensemble.

The band has established itself in a relatively short time as a popular draw at festivals, clubs, cultural events, parades and gigs of all sorts since its 2005 inception.

 The gypsy jazz band is known for its fiery performances, with two explosive violinists, one of the best bass players in the business, a blazing guitar and dynamic vocals.

Fishtank’s influences range from French jazz and Transylvanian music to Flamenco and its own oddball originals. Members have collected parts of the repertoire in some unusual ways. Singer Ursula Knudson, for instance, once sang opera in the streets of Italy, and violinist Fabrice Martinez traveled throughout Europe in mule-drawn caravans for a decade collecting music and experience.

All the members boast technical expertise in this challenging musical genre and this show offers a great introduction to the style for the uninitiated.

Visit for the full story. — John Sollenberger

Music starts at 8 p.m. Saturday a Caltech’s Beckman Institute Auditorium (not to be confused with the larger Beckman Auditorium), 400 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for Caltech students and children under 12. Call (626) 395-4652 or visit


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