Brave Combo
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Brave Combo

Denton, Texas, United States | INDIE

Denton, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band World Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Performance Description"

“...nearly every Brave Combo show is a celebration in itself. Even if you come for the party, you’ll leave with something of a musical education. The group throws all manner of world dance music into the mix, including polka, ska, meringue, hora, conjunto and zydeco.” -Daniel Durcholz - Riverfront Times

"One Reviewer's Opinion"

At last, a band that rocks the brain as well as the feet.”- Jeff Spevak - Democrat & Chronicle

"A Good Mix"

“Founded in Denton, Texas, Finch’s hometown, Brave Combo is best known as the band that takes any and all types of material -- psychedelic rock, ethnic folk songs, anthems both religious and national, hackneyed standards, and so forth -- and turns it into tightly played, infectious dance music. “
- Pasatiempo! Santa Fe New Mexican

"The Question Is: What Don't They Play"

Taking the term “world beat” to a stellar level, they respectfully mash up dance rhythms from beyond Poland: Mexico, Africa, Argentina, Cuba, Jamaica, Japan, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Frankie Yankovic’s secret timeshare in the Vienna Woods, the Wurstfests of Middle America, Ricky Ricardo’s Tropicana nightclub, inner-city Detroit, the Lower East Side, and that weird and wonderful land called Hollywood. If you’ve only heard the theme from “Rosemary’s Baby” with Mia Farrow la-la-ing through it, you have no idea what a beautiful waltz it is until you hear Brave Combo’s gentle cabaret treatment of it. - Texas Rising Star - Kelly Clarke

"Brave Combo Visits Springfield"

“Describing Brave Combo to the uninitiated is like trying to explain cheese to someone who's never tasted it: You know they're gonna love it, if you could just convince 'em to try it. ….. Any human with a pulse will love this band. Yet it's hard to explain their music honestly without mentioning the P-word. Despite the fact that they rock to a rainbow of rhythms--bolero, bossa nova, bubblegum, cha cha, charanga, conjunto, cumbia, dirge, foxtrot, guaguanco, hora, huapango, mambo, merengue, Muzak, oberek, ondo, ranchera, rhumba, rock, salsa, samba, schottische, ska, stroll, tango, twist, two-step, waltz, and zydeco--they've always described themselves as a "nuclear polka" band. “ - Illinois Times - Dust Rhodes

"A Hoot For All You Night Owls"

Local Grammy-winning polka fusion band Brave Combo turned the Dallas Museum of Arts' Atrium Cafe into an absolute, raucous dance party.

So many people packed the cafe and dance floor that security guards began forming a human barricade to monitor the traffic flow.

I ascended the cafe's staircase to watch the excitement from a higher vantage point. Tons of other people had gathered in the tight second-floor space, too, shaking their tail feathers to Brave Combo's popular "Chicken Dance." When the band launched into "Rock Around the Clock," the scene below exploded into an excited sea of jitterbug swing. - Dallas Morning News

"FW Botanic Garden Review"

Brave Combo brings unique sound to Fort Worth’s Botanic Garden

Special to the Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH — Rock 'n’ roll and polka: They don’t seem like the easiest forms of music to mix, but Denton’s Brave Combo has been doing an excellent job of just that for nearly 30 years. The quintet, led by multi-instrumentalist Carl Finch, brought its quirky take on traditional dance music to Concerts in the Garden on Sunday.

The music: A witty meld of Tex-Mex, polka, salsa and jazz combined with elements of alternative rock and new wave. In less capable hands, heaping so many styles together might sound awful, but Finch’s crack set of musicians seems to have a master’s understanding of each genre.

Throughout the set, the band incorporated familiar tunes and melodies into its own nontraditional polkas, sambas and salsas. Louie, Louie flowed seamlessly into a hypnotic take on George Gershwin’s Summertime then back to Louie, Louie. It helps to appreciate polka, but one thing’s for certain, this is a band that truly comes alive on stage. No disc they’ve released, including last year’s Grammy-nominated Polka’s Revenge, can match seeing the band rip into a polka-influenced version of In the Mood.

The mood: In a word, jubilant. Finch and the rest of the Combo had the sparse crowd on its feet for almost the entire show. It was only fitting. The band played one up-tempo tune after another, and Finch yelled dance instructions from the stage, so the only thing to do was dance.

Memorable moment: There’s always a handful of dancing couples at Concerts in the Garden, regardless of the act, but Brave Combo led a majority of the crowd first in a conga line, then the Twist and finally the goofy, but oh so fun, chicken dance. As memorable moments go, that’s pretty much the trifecta, but the band also provided a very sweet counterpoint to the silliness as couples swayed to Joy Waltz, based on Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. - Star Telegram

"Best Music Scene - Denton, TX"

"The Grand Pooh-Bah of Denton bands, Brave Combo, is in many ways the template from which all the rest are cut: eclectic and artistically ambitious, with a high degree of musicianship and a strong DIY ethic." - Paste Magazine


Polkamania (1980)
Music for Squares (1981)
Urban Grownups (1982)
Originals (1983, cassette only)
World Dance Music (1984)
No Sad Faces (1984, live)
On Rounder Records:
Polkatharsis (1987)
Musical Varieties (1988, collection of best Four Dots tracks)
Humansville (1989)
A Night on Earth (1990)
It’s Christmas, Man! (1992)
No, No, No, Cha Cha Cha (1993)
Polkas for a Gloomy World (1995, Grammy nominated)
Mood Swing Music (1996, collection of rare recording)
Kiss Of Fire (1996, collaboration with Lauren Agnelli)
Girl (1996, collaboration with Tiny Tim)
Group Dance Epidemic (1997)
Polka Party with Brave Combo - Live and Wild (1998, Grammy nominated)
Polkasonic (1999, Grammy Award winner)
The Process (2000)
Kick-Ass Polkas (2001, Grammy nominated)
All Wound Up - A Family Music Party (2001, Grammy nominated)
Box Of Ghosts (2003)
Let’s Kiss (2004, Grammy Award Winner)
Holidays! (2005)
Polka’s Revenge (2007 Grammy Nominated)
The Exotic Rocking Life

Japanese Releases
Eejhanaika (1991)
Kikusuimaru Meets Brave Combo (1993)
Allumettes (1994, collaboration Lauren Agnelli)
The Hokey Pokey (1995, EP of music for group dancing)



Visit for more info!

PASTE Magazine -12/2008: "The Grand Pooh-Bah of Denton bands, Brave Combo, is in many ways the template from which all the rest are cut: eclectic and artistically ambitious, with a high degree of musicianship and a strong DIY ethic."

Trying to describe Brave Combo’s music requires a pretty extensive vocabulary – at least when it comes to musical styles. For the past three decades the Denton, Texas based quintet has perfected a world music mix that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha cha, the blues and more. They are America’s Premier Dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey -- offering what one critic recently wrote, “Even if you come for the party, you'll leave with something of a musical education.”

Brave Combo’s catalog of recordings range from Japanese pop to Latin American dance tunes, to the orchestral classics to rock and roll at its finest. The band has recorded with the late Tiny Tim, and were the band Talking Head’s David Byrne chose for his wedding reception. From festivals and fairs of all varieties across the globe, rock clubs big and small, colleges, roadhouses, dances, cultural centers (including the annual Midsummer Night's Swing at Lincoln Center in New York City) Brave Combo has charmed countless listeners and won avid devotees. The band has won two Grammy Awards and been nominated for their work 7 times.

Brave Combo's vivid music can be heard in the films David Byrne's True Stories, Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions, Late Bloomers, Fools Rush In, Envy, The Academy award winning The Personals. They appeared at Oktoberfest in the beloved American burg of Springfield on an episode of "The Simpsons" and in 2008 Brave Combo provided the musical score for PBS’s first ever animated series, “As the Wrench Turns” which resulted in an "Annie" nomination from the International Animated Film Society. Their music has also been featured on ABC’s hit series “Ugly Betty”, and Fox Television's "Bakersfield P.D." They have also contributed original music for ESPN and The Big Ten network.

Keyboardist, guitarist, accordionist, and singer Carl Finch founded the band in 1979, releasing their first records on the band's own Four Dots Records. Alongside Finch for most of Brave Combo's 30 years has been multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Barnes, who joined in 1983. Barnes is known for his lively and imaginative stage wear, as well as playing an array of reeds and woodwinds, harmonica, pennywhistle, guitars, you name it, sometimes in multiple, simultaneous combinations. Rounding out the current line-up are trumpet player Danny O'Brien, drummer Arjuna Contreras and Little Jack Melody on bass guitar.

Brave Combo continues to tour extensively and is currently working on their next CD release.