Akara is the brainchild of Joshua Penman, a conservatory-trained classical composer turned electronica producer. He was working on orchestra music and chamber music and opera, and meanwhile going to Burning Man and underground psytrance parties. As Joshua’s success in the classical music world grew – his shamanic-journey orchestra piece “Songs the Plants Taught Us” has been performed by over fifteen orchestras – he began more and more to mix the psychedelic sounds he fell in love with at parties with the deep expressiveness and structure of the music of his training and upbringing.
Akara is the fruition of a twelve-year process of experimentation and development. Fed by an enormous number of musical streams – from the twelfth-century polyphony of Perotin to the hyper-current West Coast bass-music scene, Akara’s influences include Shpongle, Claude Vivier, Indian classical music, The Glitch Mob, Steve Reich, Maurice Ravel, an-ten-nae, Beats Antique, Frou Frou, Irish traditional music, old-school jungle, Phillip Glass, Air, Tuvvan throat singing, Bluetech, Orbital, Peruvian icaros, and Amma Bhajans.
Akara features the otherworldly vocals of Femke Weidema, a highly trained musician and accomplished songwriter in her own right, leaving her country/pop/Latin roots to be reimagined and recreated as extradimensional psychedelic goddess. Live, Femke and Joshua are joined by a small orchestra of classical musicians – two violins, viola, cello, flute, and Indian mandolin – to deliver a level of virtuosic performance unusual in the electronica world.