Kalimba, the spirit of Earth, Wind and Fire comes to Vallejo – Times-Herald


Widely regarded as one of the most innovative, exciting and entertaining bands of the 1970s and beyond, Earth, Wind & Fire cultivated a huge fanbase spanning generations over the years, with music that inspired countless people to sing, dance, and play music too.

After selling millions of records, including hits such as ‘September’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and ‘Shining Star’, the group – fronted by Maurice White until his unfortunate death in 2016 – galvanized a line of bands that pay tribute to them by playing covers of their unforgettable songs for fans who can’t get enough of them.

One such group of musicians is Kalimba, The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire, who are scheduled to play Saturday afternoon at Vino Godfather in Vallejo.

This group, however, approaches their craft with a slightly different mindset.

“Our concept is that we’re not trying to be Earth, Wind & Fire,” says Kalimba guitarist Michael Cole. “We honor their spirit and their music.”

After his older brother introduced Cole to Earth, Wind & Fire in the early 1970s, he quickly became a huge fan, bustling about trying to learn how to play the band’s music.

“I started playing guitar in middle school. I played in a live band, a jazz band in high school, then we started an R&B band and we actually played a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire – well, we tried to cover,” laughed Cole. “It’s a challenge. They’re very smart in their arrangements and their approach to music. They’re absolutely geniuses because sometimes it’s things that aren’t as complex as they seem, and then it there are other times when it is more complex than it seems.

After playing in several bands near Seattle over the years, Cole was approached by Kalimba singer Chazz about 12 years ago to talk about joining the band. After a short wait, he did, and the band took off, making a name for themselves as the first “tribute” band. The group has performed all over the United States and even opened for the Village People in Dubai in the Middle East.

Cole says that he and all of his bandmates meticulously studied both the musical style and the physical performance of the Earth, Wind & Fire musicians in an attempt to recreate the band’s true sound at the time.

“As a musician, you are simply passionate. Either way, being able to get on stage and then share the music you grew up with. A group of artists that you’ve looked up to over the years is like a big plus,” Cole said.

If you are going to: Kalimba, The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire will play at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 2, at Vino Godfather, 1005 Walnut Ave., Vallejo. Tickets cost between $35 and $40. For more information, visit ftpresents.com.


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