Press

Praise for Leah Bowden and her projects:

“The excellent trap-drum mallet work of Percussionist Leah Bowden was a constant delight” – San Diego Reader

“It’s an anarchic steel-toe to your earballs. It’s the asymmetrical ‘X’ carved into your heart.” – San Diego Reader 

“Amazing, kinky sound: grinding bursts of punked-out free-jazz paired with heavy gongs and hysterical, operatic screams” – San Diego CityBeat

Praise for red fish blue fish during Bowden’s tenure (2010-2017):

“Riveting… the highlight of the program” -New York Times

“Unforgettable” – San Diego Union Tribune

“Red Fish Blue Fish — a California-based percussion ensemble — worked its way through the marathon-like strains of “Music for 18 Musicians.” The performance was nothing short of transcendent, with each ensemble member taking on a unique and integral set of musical responsibilities. In many ways, watching the live version of the piece felt like taking apart the exterior of an extraordinarily complex machine and witnessing its different gear shifts and machinations for the first time. Each component of the music was rendered with such remarkable endurance and detail that both the compositional brilliance and musical execution seemed to be as one. Reich’s music is nothing without its performers, and the concert setting makes that abundantly clear.” – Variety

“The sounds of gongs and bass drums spread out in waves, filling the Faculty Glade on the UC Berkeley campus and then receding in a long, controlled fade. Later, there were banks of marimbas and vibraphones to offer a more subdued counterpoint… In the louder movements, such as the ones for snare drums or sirens, that made a compelling sort of bleed-through. When the music got more intimate, with the low thrumming of marimbas, listeners had to huddle in close, as if to protect a guttering candle against the wind.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“All six of the musicians wore earbuds to monitor a click-track that the audience did not hear. After Bowden began alone with one rhythmic phrase, the others joined in, either doubling that phrase or playing counter ideas, spreading the mallets around the boards to achieve overtones and moving toward the first in a series of crescendos. A sound engineer off to the side of the group manipulated some of those sounds to achieve an amorphous droning bass, similar to a large tabla…

“One of the many fascinating aspects of this performance came when the group would intensify the dynamics — at that point, the multiple layered overtones would swirl into the high ceiling and produce long pitches that sounded like a woman singing. I had to ask after the show if that was someone on tape or some sort of hidden electronics producing that effect. Turns out it was just the magic of acoustics.” – NBC San Diego

“Among the roughly 1,200 listeners present, some sat or sprawled on the hardwood floor, eyes closed in deep contemplation. Others circulated constantly, approaching each percussion station as a new and distinctive trail marker on a picturesque nature hike. Still others mingled, greeting friends, their murmured conversations lending some small part to an engrossing aural environment conjured at the heart of a teeming metropolis.” –New York Times 

“It would be challenging to find a professional percussion collective with a greater national presence or the verve and vitality of this constantly evolving group.” – San Diego Union Tribune

“A triumphant performance of legendary 20th century composer Steve Reich’s works” – San Diego Reader

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