The Red Sea Pedestrians
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The Red Sea Pedestrians

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | SELF

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band World Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Dusting off the past: Esoteric Red Sea Pedestrians touch on ghost towns, seances, laudanum on new album"

Dusting off the past: Esoteric Red Sea Pedestrians touch on ghost towns, seances, laudanum on new album

KALAMAZOO — The Red Sea Pedestrians are like six people in a seance, tapping into the mystical ether and listening for a response. One can sense many hands on a Ouija board bringing back messages from beyond.

About five years ago, members of other Kalamazoo bands got together to play klezmer, a traditional Jewish folk music, and took on a name that refers to those who walked the Red Sea floor after Moses did his magic. But since then they’ve traveled to a timeless, placeless, realm. Or maybe they’ve gone to many times, many places, all at once.

Their new album, “The Electromagnetic Escape,” will get its release party at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe on Friday. The title sounds like an archaic description of an entertainment device operated by electricity — No, Jay Gavin (guitar, bass, accordion, vocals) pointed out, it’s a modern term for an astronomical phenomenon where dust is ejected from the solar system by the sun’s magnetic field. The title was Ira Cohen’s (guitar, banjo, vocals) idea.

The cover art uses wet plate collodion, or tintype, photos by local photographer Robert Shimmin (uncle of band percussionist Michael Shimmin).

The photography method, from more than a century ago, forced the Pedestrians to sit stiff and motionless for nearly a minute. In the cover shot, they are in a seance pose, bottles floating above the table, and Cohen’s chair is showing through his transparent body (because he stood up halfway through the shoot).

The album’s song, “Rosabelle Believe,” is connected to the photo. It’s about Harry Houdini’s wife trying to contact the dead magician in seances. The folk style breaks into an eerie wail in the middle — it’s the sound of wine glasses played by rubbing fingers on their rims. They wanted to use the Benjamin Franklin invention, the glass harmonica, that uses the same principle, “but we couldn’t find one in the area,” said Ian Gorman (mandolin, bass, banjo, guitar, accordion, vocals).

Other songs are about the ghost town Singapore, Mich.; the 1800s drug laudanum, the knife-wielding Roman Brutus and the Kalamazoo River oil disaster in 2010. Titles, such “The Gypsy Moth” and “Magnetic North,” look like headings in textbooks.

Music styles in the ensemble include klezmer, swing, rock, American folk and various world music sounds.

Classically trained Rachel Flanigan (clarinet, accordion, vocals) and Cori Somers (violin, bass) bring in a classical influence.

Could we assume that the Pedestrians are a bunch of people with a lot of esoteric knowledge?

“Yeah, I guess so,” Gavin said.

And everyone has input in the band.

“We don’t have a single producer, or a single songwriter — there isn’t one mind,” controlling the sound and style, Gavin said. Also, “We have five lead singers, and they all sound very different.” All but Somers sing leads, and all but Shimmin have written original songs.

One might think the Pedestrians would be walking off in different directions, but they all seem to be in sync “with our own styles of songwriting,” Gorman said. Their sounds are multicultural, but they all go in the band’s melting pot.

“We are Americans, of course. That’s where it’s all coming from,” Gorman said. - Kalamazoo Gazette

"Analog Mutant review of Red Sea Pedestrians (With live videos)"

After hearing the Red Sea Pedestrians on WYCE 88.1FM I was interested in what they are doing. They are like a crazy klezmer band out of a movie. We caught them recently at Billy’s Lounge in between sets from Ralston Bowles and Delilah DeWylde & the Lost Boys

I knew they were awesome when the said they had a song called JEWBACCA!

People danced like drunken gypsies as soon as the band took the stage. Everybody was really into the whole experience, the atmosphere that was created by the band’s music, the sheer sense of fun in the air.

And when was the last time you rocked out at the bar to some ripping CLARINET riffs? - Analog Mutant

"Six Voices, Same Ship"

It’s a cool sunny day in early April, and four of the six individuals that make up the world/roots band The Red Sea Pedestrians are seated around a table in the modest second-story kitchen, a floor below their practice space at a home in downtown Kalamazoo.

The home is the residence of multi-instrumentalist Ian Gorman and clarinetist Rachel Flanigan, who along with bassist Jay Gavan and guitarist Ira Cohen are prepping for an evening show in Goshen, Ind., their first in Indiana, and are talking about the state of their band in advance of the release of their second full-length album, “Adrift.”

The band, rounded out by violinist Megan Macleod and percussionist Mike Shimmin, will celebrate the album with a CD release party beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.

When asked for an overarching statement as to the current state of the band — who since its inception in 2006 have created its own brand of world music, fusing Eastern European and Jewish influences with Celtic, jazz and American roots — Gorman boils it down to a single word:

“Sexy,” he says, and as the rest of the band erupts in laughter.

He continues on a more serious note, discussing the evolution of the band that has come over its years of playing together and with practice.

“I feel like we’re all getting really comfortable with the sound that we have and the style of songwriting that we have and that sort of thing,” Gorman says. “And I feel like we’re in a really good spot in that sense. We’ve been playing so much lately that I feel like we have a lot more confidence in our direction and in the new album and in our sound.”

The band’s sound is a product of both the individual backgrounds of the artists — Flanigan has played everything from classical to rock, for instance, while Shimmin has studied Arabic drumming, Macleod has studied Celtic fiddle, and Gavan and Shimmin both have studied a lot of jazz — and the collaborative nature of the band.

The group shares vocals, and the four currently seated around the table share songwriting duties, often writing songs with the band or individuals with the band in mind.

“It was kind of an organic thing over time. We just brought more and more different ideas from each of our backgrounds to the band and it’s kind of morphed into this thing that we can’t control,” Flanigan says, laughing.

The band started as a five-piece with Nathan Durham (of The Brothers Kalamazov with Gavan and others), and released a self-titled debut EP in 2006, followed by their first full-length, “A Lesson in Cartography,” in 2007.

When Durham left the band about two years ago, Macleod and Shimmin joined, adding a violin and some extra percussion to the band’s mix and further tweaking the group’s sound.

The group released a second EP (“E.P. II”) last year, featuring three tracks that appear on the forthcoming full-length, and are working on writing more and branching out around the state more on tour in the coming year. In September, the band will be playing at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, a gig Gorman calls “a really big deal” that the band has been trying to secure for years.

It’s a recognition of sorts of the work the band has accomplished as individual artists coming together as a whole to make something special, a collaborative nature Gorman says is evident on its forthcoming album.

“Everybody has had a lot of input: All six of us sing, four of us are writing. The album features everybody at some point or multiple points, and that’s something that I’m really proud of,” Gorman says, and the others around the table agree. “I feel like this is a true band album.”

All aboard for RSP’s musical pilgrimage, ‘Adrift’
KALAMAZOO — The Red Sea Pedestrian’s forthcoming full-length, “Adrift” (Hey Burner! Records), is a collaborative effort in the truest sense: The six members of the Kalamazoo-based world/roots group share vocals, and four share songwriting duties.

The closing track, for instance, “Bismarck’s Waltz,” which guitarist Ira Cohen calls “gorgeous but brooding in its lyrical content,” features a verse each written by Cohen, multi-instrumentalist Ian Gorman and bassist Jay Gavan, set to music written by clarinetist Rachel Flanigan.

Gorman said one of the big differences between the album and 2007’s full-length debut (“A Lesson in Cartography”) — along with the addition to the group of violinist Megan Macleod and percussionist Mike Shimmin — is that the group has been playing together much longer and its sound is that much more focused than it has been on previous releases.

“Before it was kind of like we were taking stray songs and arranging them for the band, and now I think for the most part everybody is writing with the other musicians in mind, and that makes a big difference,” Gorman said. “It seems like this is more of a group band effort and less of a collection of songwriters.”

The band laid down the basic tracks for the album over the course of about a week in January at Cohen’s home in Kalamazoo, with follow-up production done at the Kalamazoo home of Gorman and Flanigan, as well as at a recording studio at Western Michigan University.

The result is 12 tracks that, like the band that wrote them, are diverse in their own right, yet work together as a single unit. From the klezmer-influenced “Jewbacca” and the driving pop-pulse of “Picture in a Locket” to the folksy “The White Rhino” and the true waltz of the final track, the album takes the listener on a kind of musical pilgrimage that, while it lasts just under 50 minutes, feels epic in its sonic scope.

The album is also more produced than the band’s debut, an aspect of the record Gavan called “tone painting,” and which was alternately described as “more embellished” by Cohen and an attempt to create some “auditory imagery” by Flanigan.

Whatever of the description, the album is lush, and each instrument, from the clarinet to the accordion — the latter of which three of the members use on the album despite Flanigan’s assertion that, technically speaking, none of them actually play — rings sharp and clear.

“The other one was more rooted in a live band sound, and this one definitely has some of that,” Gorman said, comparing the band’s two full-lengths. “But we really treated the recording process as a chance to ignore those limitations and do whatever we wanted to on the album.”

— Simon Thalman, Special to the Gazette - Kalamazoo Gazette

"An Interview with the Red Sea Pedestrians"

Towards the end of summer I caught a concert by the local klezmer and roots music band, The Red Sea Pedestrians. I had a few questions for Ian about the Pedestrians unique sound but the Pedestrians and band leader Ian Gorman have been busy playing a string of well received local gigs. Gorman finally had a few minutes this week to chat with me about the Pedestrians views on nostalgia and culture.

Teruah: I've joked on my blog a couple of times that there isn't a metro area in America left that doesn't have a klezmer band. While you help prove my point, proudly representing Kalamzoo Michigan, the Red Sea Pedestrians aren't a classic "We love Dave Tarras" klezmer band. While the klezmer is a highlight, you draw on a lot of other traditional American musics. I could see you playing happily at a traditional Jazz festival next to a Dixieland band, for example. Your compositions make it make sense, but it is a bit unusual. Where did the idea for the Red Sea Pedestrians come from? How did you get your musicians to buy into it?

Gorman: Well, The Red Sea Pedestrians have never really set out to be a traditional Klezmer band. We all have very diverse tastes in music, and playing stuff that's enjoyable or interesting to us, regardless of genre, is always our main goal. Of course, Klezmer music was the basis for the band, but not in an exclusive way. The band was formed back in late-2005 when some friends of ours, The Corn Fed Girls, had a Christmas show coming up. A group of us had talked for a while about wanting to play some Klezmer music, and we thought it would be great to throw a set together and open for CFG, which we did. Originally the band consisted of myself, Rachel Flangian, Ira Cohen, Jay Gavan, and Nathan Durham (That lineup is on our CD "A Lesson in Cartography"). Rachel, Ira and I had played together in various projects, and Jay and Nathan had a group together.

Although we consider Klezmer music our recurring theme, as I said, we're always open to different music styles. Lately, with the addition of Mike Shimmin on percussion, and Megan Macleoud on violin, we feel like we have many more stylistic doors open to us. Mike is well versed in many different genres of world music, and Megan is an accomplished celtic violinist. The idea of incorporating music from all over the world interests us, and hopefully we'll continue to branch out. One of the things that we all love about this band is that there are no rules when it comes to genre - Many bands feel like they have to stay true to a sound or scene, and we're not really interested in limiting ourselves in that way.

Teruah: One of the editors of Heeb magazine recently made a crack at the Jewish music scene saying that we were "looking backward for mythical authenticity." I wonder how you'd respond to that. First, where do you see the Pedestrians in terms of a scene (or scenes). Do you consider yourself part of a Jewish music scene? Are you part of other scenes? Secondly, at some level nostalgia seems to be a big part of the Pedestrians approach both musically and lyrically. Do you think you're looking backward?

Gorman: I think of us more as part of the Michigan roots music scene than the klezmer scene, since we don't play traditional klezmer, and there's not a whole lot of bands around here (Although there are a few). To me, the folk music tradition, whether it be American folk or world folk, means both looking backwards AND carrying that music forwards. Folk music isn't just about looking at the past - true folk music is a product of the "folks" playing it, in the current sense, and should reflect that. It's about continuing a tradition - not just celebrating the past. However, we all have a strong respect for the history of the music we're playing, and we enjoy the nostalgia, as you put it, inherent in much of the music we play.

Teruah: During your show I had this strange image of a future Red Sea Pedestrians video. In the video the band is playing hard on one of your songs (I think I had the image during my kids favorite, More, More, More) and the video freezes. For the rest of the song, the video images start deconstructing the musical influences of the band. I saw the drummer turn into a rock drummer and then a traditional jazz drummer and then a military marching (fife and drum) drummer. The clarinet went jazz and then klezmer and then Russian army marching band (where clarinet was introduced to klezmer). The upright bass went jazz and then chamber ensemble. The banjo went Folk musician and then old timey musician then Ireland and England. You get the idea. You've put together a lot of different sounds with a lot of pedigree's. And it clearly works. What's the glue that holds it together? What's the common ground?

Gorman: The glue that holds it together is the people in the band, I believe. We're all good friends, and were long before we started playing music together. As I said, we all enjoy the "melting pot" quality to our sound, and we like our performances to be sort of a "variety show", if you will. Since all six of us write original music, that happens naturally a lot of the time. And, of course, a lot of these instruments (violin, guitar, mandolin, etc) have been featured prominently in many different music styles. Why not incorporate all of that in "our sound"?

Another thing to mention is that we're all very influenced by the Michigan roots music scene. Groups like Steppin In It, Seth Bernard and Daisy May, and the entire Earthworks Music scene, is amazing in it's creativity, political activism and prolific nature. The doors are open for genre-defying creation, and the whole scene is very supportive of others. We feel like Michigan is a great place to be for a roots music act, and we're proud to be a part of it!

Teruah: I'm glad. I love the Michigan scene. I had great fun taking my family to see your show this summer and expect that I'll spend a lot of next summer treking around Michigan and listening to roots music. Including the Pedestrians, of course. Ok, enough of looking backward. Where are the Red Sea Pedestrians going musically and career-wise? What are your goals for the band?

Gorman: Many of us are professional musicians, and have full-time bands or commitments. herefore, RSP has always been sort of a "side project" for most of us. We try to play only about 1 show a month or so, and always try to keep the pace of the band manageable for everyone's crazy schedules. So far, that seems to have worked out well. Creatively, I hope we'll always grow s a band, but "career-wise", we're not sure where we're going with it. We hope to play more and more in the Michigan Roots Music Festival scene, and of course around our home town of alamazoo.

Teruah: Any upcoming gigs we should know about?

Gorman: We're excited about our next Bell's Brewery show on November 15, as well as our show at the Kalamazoo Public Library on December 10 and our performance at the Noreast'r Festival next June!

You can hear the Red Sea Pedestrians and follow their performance schedule on their MySpace page. - Teruah-JewishMusic Blog

"Red Sea Pedestrians - Back to the Roots"

The Red Sea Pedestrians are perhaps one of Kalamazoo, Michigan’s most unique bands. Their eclectic mix of Klezmer, folk, and world-roots music is definitely something that sets them apart in Kalamazoo’s music community. While they’re still young in the greater scheme of things, this six piece, acoustic group has steadily been making a name for themselves and have recently received some recognition for their efforts by way of a WYCE Jammie nomination last year. This summer they’ll be performing at two of Michigan’s biggest music festivals and hopefully spreading their reputation to the farthest reaches of the mitten.

The Red Sea Pedestrians first began their career in December of 2005. Originally, the group consisted of Ian Gorman, Ira Cohen, Rachel Flanigan, Jay Gavan, and Nathan Durham. At the time, each member had already been friends with one another for quite a while. Rachel and Ian had worked together at a recording studio while Jay and Ira had already established themselves as fixtures in the Kalamazoo music scene. They had each played music together informally for quite a while before forming a formal band.

Their first outing together came when the five friends had the opportunity to open for The Corn Fed Girls, Ira’s other band. Each year The Corn Fed Girls host a Christmas show in Kalamazoo and in 2005 the group that would be The Red Sea Pedestrians put together a set of Klezmer music tunes to kick off the show. After that first show went so well, they decided to make things permanent and officially started the band. The band quickly expanded their sound to beyond Klezmer music, but it still makes up a large portion of their sound.

Sadly, about a year and a half ago, one of the founding members Nathan Durham left the group. Shortly after he left, current members Mike Shimmin and Megan Macleod joined the band and have been with them ever since. Both talented musicians in their own right, Mike and Megan had already met Rachel and Ian through recording sessions in town. Now composed of six multiinstrumentalists, each member of The Red Sea Pedestrians also contribute to the singing and writing process, making them one of the most unique bands in the Kalamazoo area.

Since taking on a couple new members, The Pedestrians have managed to keep busy playing in and around Kalamazoo. Just before Mike and Megan had joined, the original line up recorded their debut CD “A Lesson in Cartography” which you can now find at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, as well as online at CD Baby and the band’s My Space page, theredseapedestrians. Their debut CD has also brought the band some very positive attention. Last year they were invited to play at the WYCE Jammie Awards in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Having never played in Grand Rapids before, it was quite a surprise to be invited to play such a prestigious event in a new town. While they didn’t end up winning, it was still an honor to be nominated for the best local world beat album of the year.

This summer The Red Sea Pedestrians have a handful of exciting dates coming up around the state. While they have spent the last few years building up their name locally, this will be the first time they’ve really had the opportunity to travel extensively. Coming up at the end of July, the Pedestrians will have the chance to perform at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Beyond that, there are also a number of festivals they are slated to appear at through out the summer season. They’ll be playing this year’s Blissfest, the annual folk music festival held in Cross Village, Michigan on the second weekend of July. You will also be able to catch them earlier this summer at the Nor East’r Music Festival in Mio, MI. Their entire upcoming schedule, including the summer festival shows, can be also be found online at the band’s Myspace page.

The Red Sea Pedestrians’ own brand of roots music is drawing in a larger crowd with each new performance. If you’re interested in checking out any addition information on the band, you can find them online at http://www. - Michiana Entertainer

"WATCH: Recap of Wheatland Music Festival"

Yes, Friday was cold.

Yes, Saturday was rainy.

But Sunday was beautiful.

And the 37th annual Wheatland Music Festival thrived throughout the weekend, weather or not.

The festival got started Friday evening, the highlight of which was a performance by The Red Sea Pedestrians on the Centennial Stage.

Instrument-swapping band members included Ira Cohen, Rachel Flanigan, Jay Gavan, Ian Gormon, Mike Shimmin and Cori Somers. The RSP conjured up a sound the likes of which I've never heard in concert. Part Decemberists, part "Fiddler on the Roof," the band infused the festival with a blend of Klezmer, Greek, Gypsy, Celtic, jazz and American roots.

The RSP stood out not only because of their instrumental and vocal talents, but also because most, if not all, of their songs are originals. The performance was truly entrancing - especially Rachel Flanigan's eerie clarinet and Mamma Cass-like vocals. This is not to diminish the talents of other band members - I'm just not used to seeing a clarinet so artfully implemented in a rock n roll band!

Saturday's highlights included a variety of dance and music performances by Nick Gareiss & Friends. The international troupe featured artists from Argentina, Quebec, Spain and Sweden, as well as Boston, Seattle and New York. Several Michigan dancers also were featured.

Alba Perez from Seville, Spain, now living in Limerick, Ireland, was especially memorable. Accompanied on guitar by Lucas Gonzales of Argentina, the Spanish dancer embodied graceful womanhood and fiery passion. All eyes were on Perez as she commanded the stage.

On Sunday I was finally able to catch Genticorum, a French-Canadian band featuring Alexandre De Grosbois-Garand, Yann Falquet and Pascal Gemme.

The entertaining trio were reminiscent of last year's De Temps Antan, also a French-Canadian band. Both groups implemented the use of feet on a wooden board to provide percussion for a variety of historic French ballads and entertaining back-and-forth quips with the audience.

I was also impressed by Joe Mabus and his band on Sunday. Mabus has a flair for songwriting, whether it's a thoughtful look at the Michigan economy or an amusing turn with a Kingston Trio-style tune.

Slide Ireland also put on a good show. The Irish band will also be performing at the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon this coming weekend if you missed them the first time around.

Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys were crowd favorites, as always. I especially enjoyed their honkytonk dance on the new dance stage Saturday night. If you weren't dancing, better get out of the way!

The Red Sea Pedestrians were easily the highlight of the weekend for me, but I also heard good things about The Wild Turkeys from Ontario, Canada. I didn't get a chance to see them, but I'll definitely look them up.

The Wheatland Music Festival is the best Michigan music festival, in my humble opinion, and the Wheatland Music Organization is a treasure trove of artistic activities year-round. I'm a Wheatie for life!

For more about Wheatland or any of the weekend's featured bands, click HERE. - Greenville Daily News

"Grand Rapids Press "Spin of the Week""

There's something uplifting, mysterious and exotic about the "melting pot of world roots music" that the Red Sea Pedestrians concoct.

The Kalamazoo ensemble -- Cori Somers, Ian Gorman, Mike Shimmin, Jay Gavan, Ira Cohen and Rachel Flanigan -- combines a potpourri of instruments (violin, mandolin, bass, banjo, accordion, drums, guitars, bouzouki, clarinet, shot glasses, glockenspiel, pump organ, udu, bellows and more) with hypnotic vocals to create something at-once unique, delectably listenable and randomly humorous on its latest album, "Adrift."

The group lists Celtic, jazz, American roots, Greek, gypsy and Klezmer strains among its rich musical flavors, and the Klezmer influence is certainly obvious in today's featured track, "Jewbacca."

You can experience the Red Sea Pedestrians live this weekend when they play the Hoxeyville Music Festival near Cadillac at 4:15 p.m. Sunday. - Grand Rapids Press

"Jeff Daniels and Friends chase the Michigan blues away"

Jeff Daniels said it himself, and he was right: “This one was the best one yet.”

He was referring to his annual Thanksgiving weekend concert, Jeff Daniels and Friends, Saturday night at the Michigan Theater. As usual, Daniels showed impeccable taste in “friends” — the acts, all from the Mitten State, were top-notch.

The lineup of performers included Lansing-based swing and jazz group Shout Sister Shout, Kalamazoo world roots-music band Red Sea Pedestrians, Chelsea roots-rock fivesome The Ben Daniels Band, and the outrageously attired but extraordinarily tuneful Scottville Clown Band. Local folksinger-songwriter Matt Watroba was an unannounced special guest, while performance poet Paul Princen, a recent Community High School graduate now attending Stanford University, completed the list.

Compared to past years, Saturday’s show seemed to include more songs about Michigan than ever before. The Ben Daniels Band did a bluesy homage to Ann Arbor’s now-demolished Michigan Inn; Watroba’s contribution was the original ballad “They Used to Play Baseball Here” (lamenting the demise of Tiger Stadium, and more); and Daniels himself offered the lovely “I Can See the Michigan In Me,” the blues jam “Detroit Train” and the perennial audience participation favorite “Big Bay Shuffle.”

Daniels was even wearing a Stormy Kromer hat, popular headgear of fashionable folks throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin.

Some of the show’s highlights included the Pedestrians’ Rachel Flanigan and her electric clarinet; the harmonica solo provided by Shout Sister Shout’s Andy Wilson on “Detroit Train”; and Princen’s dramatic poem “Delivery,” which had as much to say about how one communicates as well as the communication itself.

The evening kicked off with Daniels offering a verse of the show tune “Send in the Clowns,” the perfect lead-in to the Scottville Clown Band, offering a rousing version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The group mixed music and humor perfectly and was a great way to get the audience fired up.

Shout Sister Shout, with incredible vocalist Rachael Davis, was next. Multi-talented brothers Andy and Joe Wilson, with their tasty horn contributions during the jaunty “I'll be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal, You,” really helped this set stand out, while Red Sea Pedestrians’ set of energetic Eastern European-flavored tunes made me glad I’ll have a chance to catch a full show when they come to The Ark on Jan. 12.

We heard a bit more from Daniels Saturday than has been the case in past years, and that was just fine. He plays a mean blues guitar and his songwriting is first rate. He’s said that his Thanksgiving show is modeled on a similar event folk singer Arlo Guthrie hosts and, like Guthrie, Daniels is a talented storyteller. Nowhere was this more in evidence than during “Recreational Vehicle,” an epic about the misadventures encountered on a road trip with his family. Much like Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” it’s always fun to hear.

Daniels closed the show with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” played on a guitar autographed by the ex-Beatle. It was a wonderfully upbeat ending to show that clearly said that no matter how hard times may be in Michigan now, a brighter future awaits. -

"Assorted Quotes"

"The Red Sea Pedestrians are nothing but pure talent and poise. The music
they play keeps you at a steady hold and than envelopes you into joy and

"The Red Sea Pedestrians are purveyors of modern world music via Michigan. Their sound is first defined by the sweet interplay between Rachel on clarinet and Megan on violin and is colored by three fine singers and multi-instrumentalists, Jay Gavan, Ira Cohen and Ian Gorman, and an amazingly facile drummer, Mike Shimmin. Clearly all of these musicians are students of the great records of the sixties (notably late Beatles) and hence they have created a realm that is both comforting and challenging to the listener. With imaginative originals, carefully chosen covers, creative, inventive arrangements across the board and a delightful rapport with the crowd, the Red Sea Pedestrians are a rare band that can please an audience of all ages and all walks of life. Clearly they love what they're doing. I sure do!"

"The music of The Red Sea Pedestrians may be based in tradition, but it's also fresh and eclectic. Their playing is
authentic and energetic and gets listeners where they live."

"A delightful romp of traditional, dance-friendly klezmer songs with major folk and jazz stylings. [The Red Sea Pedestrians] harmonize with the ease and chemistry of longtime chums."

"Just what the doctor ordered for your soul to be inspired to enjoy life. A great CD and a must have for all."


2011 - "The Electromagnetic Escape"
2010 - "Adrift"
2009 - "E.P. II"
2007 - "A Lesson in Cartography"
2006 - Self-Titled E.P.



The Red Sea Pedestrians are a one-of-a-kind, full-blown, instrument-swapping fusion between tradition and the here-and-now. We’re talkin’ high-energy world-beat grooves, hypnotic laments from the earth, songs of celebration and wonder: a warped and beautiful blend of Klezmer, Greek, Gypsy, Celtic, Rock, Jazz and American Roots, all filtered through the band’s original vision.

RSP are a melting pot of six distinct singer/songwriters, almost a self-contained variety show. Their sound is first defined by the sweet interplay between Rachel Flanigan on clarinet and Cori Somers on violin, and is colored by two fine singers and multi-instrumentalists, Bill Caskey and Ian Gorman. Finally, their amazingly versatile drummer (Benjamin Lau) provides the backbone to a musical experience that is both harmonically and rhythmically gratifying. All of these musicians are also students of the great records of the sixties (notably late Beatles), and hence they have created a realm that is both comforting and challenging to the listener. Multi-layered lyrics, rich harmonies, and masterful playing complete the story.

Their captivating live shows and ambitious CDs have been getting rave reviews and building an energetic buzz throughout Michigan’s independent acoustic music community.

The Red Sea Pedestrians have performed at Michigan-area venues and festivals including The Ark, Jeff Daniels and Friends at The Michigan Theater, Wheatland Music Festival, Kalamazoo State Theatre, Blissfest Music Festival, The Traverse City Film Festival, The Earthwork Harvest Gathering, Coopers Glen Music Festival, Porcupine Music Festival, Thumb Fest, Spirit of the Woods Music Festival, Nor East’r Music Festival, Hoxeyville Music Festival, Bell’s Brewery, Founder’s Brewery, LVD’s Concert Hall, The Wealthy Theater, and both the 2008 and 2011 WYCE Jammie Awards.