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Explaining the sound of Oranga Tango is an oxymoron. It’s not just the sound anyway, it’s about the entire presentation. Their latest move was to add muppets to their show - yes, that’s correct, muppets that Jared bought from

Jared Campbell and I are sitting in the very same place where Oranga Tanga was born - The Sun Shoppe Cafe in downtown Melbourne: It was a Wednesday in April 2014 when the remaining members of the Brevard Busking Coalition came together after one of their members, BrYan Tilford, had passed away. He remembers: “We were still in a state of shock, had canceled 6 months of gigs and didn’t know how to continue.” They met with Frank Dreyer who at that time was their promotion manager hoping he would have the answer. Guess what? He did! He pulled it right out of his brief case and there it was: The name Oranga Tanga, already created as a logo, it was comforting to look at it, and the decision was made - “we keep on going!” Now four years later this original band is going strong with shows around town and a new self-titled recording that will hit the street this September. “We’ve been in the studios of The Zone Productions since late 2017 and we’re putting on the final touches,” announces Jared. The cover is created by no other than Derek Gores, one of Brevard’s most esteemed artists. This release might just become a collector’s item.
    Let’s start with the beginnings and that brings us back to the Brevard Busking Coalition and their rise in 2009. Brevard Live Magazine invited them to participate in their Original Music Series in 2011, then in January 2012 the final competition was held and the “Buskers” took home the grand prize. The following year BBC was nominated to compete in the Brevard Live Music Awards and Brevard music fans voted them to be the “Entertainer of the Year 2013” along with the title “Favorite Original Band 2013.” There was no doubt, Brevard Busking Coalition was a winner and the band was busier than ever. Then came the fateful day in April 2014 when BrYan Tilford didn’t show up for a gig. “It wasn’t like him at all, and we had to go on without him, even joking on stage that the only way BrYan wouldn’t show up is if he was dead,” remembers Jared. His Cheap Moves aka Ian Koss, BBC bass and ukulele player, went straight to BrYan’s house after the gig to find his band mate had passed away. The next day the band honored a performance at the Unity Church that BrYan had set up. Jared: “That was the hardest show we have ever played. And the first real show of Oranga Tanga.”
    There was no way to replace BrYan who had contributed greatly to the sound of the Buskers. The band had to reform, a new name was inevitable. So where did Oranga Tango came from? “It was the name of a lake in a video game - Lake Oranga Tanga in Donkey Kong Country 3.” Makes sense? Maybe in the sequence that absolute nothing ever makes real sense in this band - it does! “We play to have fun, to entertain people with our original performances. It’s nothing more than that,” says Jared who writes the main lyrics, creates the body of arrangements and is the inspiration for this band - and all others that he’s been part of for the past 27 years. “It’s my way to escape the daily routine, the misery. I’m a catalyst for the things around me, sometimes without even noticing it. It’s a way to get it out and to be a kid again,” he admits. But to create the original sound that you experience at their shows takes each and every one of the band members to fill their parts. All of them are multi-instrumental and extremely talented players. They are also friends for many years.

I ask Jared to email the instrument of each player and here’s what I got:
Anthony Darmana - bass, bongos, djembe, drum kit, mandolin, (all sorts of) percussion, keeper of the cosmic clock, triangle, vox;
Cade Austin - bass, cuica, electric guitar, percussion, ukulele, vox;
db (aka David Bitner) - bass, bells, classical guitar, cowbell, cymbals, djembe, doumbek, frog, goat hooves, guiro, kabasa, kazoo, klaves, rain stick, shakers, singing bowl, tambourine, vibraslap, vox, x-ray bongos, jungle keeping, freedom campaigner, audio/visual collector, webeo;
Jared Campbell - bass, flex-itone, kazoo, mandolin, metals, slightly obscene liver enhancing shaker, trombone, vox, phenomenal cosmic power, lyrical gangstrosity, self proclaimed Chair of Ridiculousness;
Tom Van Dyke - bass, drum kit, robble robbles, sweet sweet love.

I guess you get the picture that even for an original band, Oranga Tanga doesn’t fit any profile. Never has, not even as the Brevard Busking Coalition. When they performed at the Brevard Live Music Awards show, people either loved or hated them. There was really nothing in-between. They wear costumes, very colorful clothing, jump around the stage - there is just no room for anything normal. Nonetheless, people who love them are plentiful, they usually draw about 250 fans to their shows, and everyone has a great time.
    Even original bands have their influences, and here is Jared’s answer when asked about those: “There are many of us, and we’re all musical omnivores. You name it, one of us will be into it. Shredding guitars? Check. Beatles and XTC? Check. Tom Waits and every project Mike Patton has ever involved himself with, no matter how worthless? Check. Late ‘70s Christian Rock? Uh, wait a minute… no there it is. Check. Balloon and Violin Duets? Didn’t know you’d heard about it, but check.” And there you have it. I’m confused, so he adds: “People say we remind them of Frank Zappa, Gogol Bordello and They Might Be Giants. These bands sound nothing like each other, so they must be tuning in to some alternate dimension. We’re trying to sound like Adrian Belew, Alex Lifeson, Anthony Bourdain, the Asylum Street Spankers, Billy Squier, Charly Garcia, Christ, Clifford Simak, Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors, Gandhi, Ginger Baker, Heavy Vegetable, Hefner, J. Giles, Jimmy Page, John Hartford, John Trudell, Keith Moon, King Crimson, Metallica, Mickey Hart, Mitch Mitchell, Mr. Bungle, Pixies, Robert Heinlein, Rocket from the Crypt, Salvador Dali, Silla Electrica, Steve Vai, Talking Heads, Tijuana Sound Machine, White Hassle, World Music (not worldbeat), Yann Martel, Tonstartssbandht, Sundiver, the Young Fresh Fellows, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, and Neem Karoli Baba.”

Maybe explaining the sound of Oranga Tango is an oxymoron. It’s not just the sound anyway, it’s about the entire presentation. Their latest move was to add muppets to their show - yes, that’s correct, muppets that Jared bought from “It’s kid friendly and a lot of fun,” explains Jared. It is not surprising that you do not see a regular Oranga Tanga show in one of the Space Coast’s top 40 dance clubs. Nonetheless, they have done over 300 shows so far at places like the Iron Oak Post, The Kilted Mermaid, Intra-Coastal Brewery, in the Eau Gallie Art District at Derek Gores studios, in 2016 they performed at the Orange Blossom Jamboree Festival, and, to no surprise to those who know them, they are considered for the Nerd Cruise that is planned for 2019. And that makes sense! They also have their own shows at Open Mike’s where they introduced the muppet show for the first time. “We choose the places where we perform carefully,” states Jared and he’s proud of that. After all, Oranga Tanga is a musical project. None of the members are taking a pay-check, instead the money is getting re-invested into their projects. “That’s how we pay for the recording sessions, the mixing, and our cover art. We know what we want and we pay for it.” So far the band has done very well. The Brevard Busking Coalition has released two CDs during their existence: It will Come Back To You and Last Night At The Old Hotel. We are very curious about their first self-titled Oranga Tanga release that Brevard Live Magazine will review upon release.

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Brevard Live Magazine
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