Looking at the band's line-up - 3 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, a 10-piece woodwind section and percussion - one might easily believe IG Blech to be just another one of those numerous marching bands. However, first glance leads to a complete failure! The repertoire is more likely to give you some hints about the special blend and variety of styles and genres, that have made this ensemble an unmistakable one. Not easy to pigeonhole though! Listening to a set or two of IG Blech's worldwild mixture then will lead you to a simple but precise conclusion: HeavyMessingWorldMusic. A game on words that works well both in German and English (German "Messing" = Brass). Or to be a bit more modest: IG Blech - Berlin's premier World Music Brass Band.
Ever since its inception back in 1975 the band has been searching for a new street band repertoire, tracing arrangements throughout Europe and the world, writing Original material and presenting all this in a highly individual way, e.g. dressing up for special occasions and from time to time fitting musical aspects into specially created choreographies.
Many years before the term was communicated and the public became aware of World Music via prominent artists or movements such as Salif Keita, The Bulgarian Voices, the Klezmer Revival or the fashionable hype for Afro Cuban Traditions, IG Blech had already started playing its wide range of urban traditions from Brazilian Frevo to East-European Yiddish Freilachs to Afro-Cuban Salsa to 9/8 metre songs from the Balkans to Caribbean Calypsos and Turkish-Anatolian dance tunes. Meanwhile IG Blech has proved, that the blend of a brass band together with a male singer can sound extremely attractive, provided there is at least one microphone to pass on the funk. And this is for sure: James Brown, the godfather of soul, would feel delighted listening to IG Blech's re-invention of his "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag".
Apart from this non-electric, unplugged, mobile Jazzy World Music-Crusade IG Blech has always strived for a meaningful presentation of their music. This policy includes actions such as anti-racist campaigns and ecologist's manifestations.
In 1988 IG Blech - on behalf of the Senat of Berlin (West) - promoted the "Blechreiz '88-Festival, a 4-day event with as many as 300 participating musicians as part of the celebrations of the "Berlin - Cultural City of Europe"-Festival. The great Final was presented at Berlin's fabulous venue Tempodrom. Recent years have seen the band play the "Arrivée d'Airs Chauds" at Douarnenez (France) in 1988, 1989 and 1992, the European Cultural Capitals Glasgow (Scotland) in 1990 and Anvers (Belgium) in 1993 as well as many domestic and foreign festivals: Potsdamer Abkommen (Germany) in 1992, Warsaw (Poland) 1994, Beaucaire Festival (France) 1995, Newcastle (England) and Haarlem (The Netherlands) in 1996 and the Carnaval de Nice (France) in February 1997. In 1997 and 1998 the IG Blech Brass Band also participated in the Fête de la Musique (June 21st) and took part in live Broadcasts on the occasion of the birthday celebrations of SFB4 Radio MultiKulti FM 106.8. Just before the end of 1998 the IG Blech Brass Band was anounced winner of the World Music Contest Musica Vitale established by the Federal German states of Berlin and Brandenburg. 2001's schedule includes a four day trip to Rome (Italy) and concerts at some of Europe's major World Music Festivals. And at least: A new CD-release.
"Unusually multicultural and highly innovative" - tip Berlin
"Virtuoso, entertaining, very individual" - zitty Berlin
"... can irritate and impress in the same moment" - Berliner Zeitung
"in this currently matchless Ensemble comedy shows up by itself" - Der Tagesspiegel
"Crisp riffs, propelling rhythms, breathtaking arrangements and a no-pardon irony: the legendary IG Blech know how to combine good music with a cheerful atmosphere. - Katerina Pavlakis 1 zitty Berlin