Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

American Patchwork Quartet Weave Modern Immigrant Dreams Into Songs

American-Patchwork-Quilt.jpg
Courtesy of American Patchwork Quartet
/

In 2020, singer Falu Shah, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Clarence Penn and guitarist & vocalist Clay Ross teamed up to form American Patchwork Quartet. They're on a mission to reclaim the immigrant soul of American roots music, interpreting timeless songs through a 21st century lens.It's not an accident that the four members of the group, each with a thriving solo career, came together to start reinterpreting American roots music.  The quartet's goal is purposeful: to unleash music's magic to help counteract pervasive prejudices around immigration and race. American Patchwork Quartet consists of an eleventh-generation classical Hindustani musician, a drumming protégée of the late Ellis Marsalis, a first-call Issei jazz bassist, and a co-founder of Ranky Tanky, a Grammy-winning group inspired by the Gullah musical culture of the Carolina coast.

“America has a patchwork culture made of the dreams and songs of all its people.” - Alan Lomax.

John Floridis caught up with Ross and Shah by phone in July 2020.
 

(Broadcast: Musician's Spotlight, 3/2/21, 6/8/21. Listen on the radio Tuesdays, 7 p.m., or via podcast.)

John Floridis, the host and producer of Musician's Spotlight, has been with Montana Public Radio since 1997. He has interviewed over 200 musicians during that time. He is also an independent recording and performing artist in his own right and a former registered music therapist.
Related Content