Broken Shadows Family Band. Photo by Myles Boisen
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The Oakland-based Broken Shadows Family Band is an all-star cast of musicians from divergent backgrounds. Musical ingredients in their family recipe include Western European, classical Arabic, Slavic choral, and Americana music as well as sounds from Macedonia, Ethiopia, classic jazz, and R&B. They’ve created a truly unique sound, balancing the old with the new, telling human stories over grooves that beg to be danced to. Along with some surprising covers, they play originals by trumpeter and composer Darren Johnston, including selections from two suites (Songs of Seven Miles and Letters to Home) for which he created lyrics using recorded interviews and collected letters by US immigrants. Individual members also play with a variety of musical acts, including Meklit Hadero, Kitka, Quartet San Francisco, Incognito Orkestar, Qadim Ensemble, Fanfare Zambaleta, the Nice Guy Trio, Inspector Gadje, and the Oakland Active Orchestra.