Group's genre-defying music has true international flavor

When you go to a Children of the Revolution show, you might as well leave your preconceptions about "world music" at the door.

A Children of the Revolution show is an amalgamation of movement and music, a continuous loop of activity on stage. The performances are highly physical, with flamenco and Greek dancing, set to a medley of musical styles, including Latin, Greek and Native American, hip-hop, R&B, techno and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll.

"We didn't expect it to be as big as it is, but we had no boundaries of how big it could be," said the group's co-founder and lead vocalist, Vassili.

Five years after Vassili and musician Eric Jaeger formed the group, the Children of the Revolution have mushroomed into a 10- to 12-member collection of musicians, and will release their fourth CD, "Liberation," with concerts tonight and tomorrow at Benaroya Hall.

Jaeger and Vassili, along with his father Nickolas Vassili, also have opened other avenues to showcase world music artists in the Northwest.

The trio run Eleftheria, a music store near KeyArena where world music fans can pick up Children of the Revolution's albums, alongside other artists like Omar Torrez.

It's also the home base for World Music 2000, the production company founded by Nickolas Vassili, who produces Children of the Revolution's music.

"That's why we opened the store, both to produce Children of the Revolution" and other world music artists in the Seattle area, he said. "There's so much talent in the city."

The founding members of Children of the Revolution are branching out into film as well. During the past three years Jaeger and Vassili have been working on a feature film, a mockumentary of sorts, that is slated to air on PBS in the fall.

The film, "Keep Holding On," is "a world music 'Spinal Tap,' " Vassili said. "Primarily it's making fun of ourselves and the world music scene."

Children of the Revolution formed in 1998, after Vassili and Jaeger each migrated from Los Angeles to Seattle. Both were musicians who were unsure about their next steps. They met while taking flamenco guitar lessons here, and hit upon the concept that would become Children of the Revolution.

The band is now made up of musicians with roots in Greece, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Venezuela, Iraq, Japan and the U.S. Along with Jaeger and Vassili, the band includes flamenco dancer and guitarist Encarnaciòn, bassist Andy Zadrozny and percussionists Daniel Carvalho, Mustafa Alkhedairy and Tor Dietrichson, belly dancer Amelia Moore, Flamenco singer Keiko Ooka, violinist Jeffrey Sick and vocalist Bob Beer.

Periodically, the band is joined by guest artists, including Yva Las Vegas, Omar Batiste, Shawn Weaver and Johnny Kalsi from Afro-Celt Sound System.

Creating music that has a global message, expressed through the collaboration of musicians representing different corners of the world, is what some would call "world music." They call it "world rock."

"No one leaves our show and says that was a great world music show," Vassili said.

The band is most known for its live shows, but its size limits where the band can play — intimate nightclubs pose a challenge.

But that hasn't hampered the band's success locally, with shows at the Folklike Festival, Bumbershoot, the Paramount Theatre and Meany Hall, among others. The group has also performed abroad, including before a crowd of 30,000 in Taiwan, and plans to launch a tour of the states and Canada by the end of the year.

"We rock harder than anyone else," Vassili said. "People sometimes expect a sit-down, relaxed show. There's no moment in this show when there's not a ton of activity happening on stage."

"Every show we do," Jaeger said, "we play it like it's our last one."

Tina Potterf: 206-464-8214 or

Concert preview

Children of the Revolution perform three concerts to mark the release of their latest CD, "Liberation," at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, in the Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle, $25. (206-628-0888, or in person at the Eleftheria music store, 512 1st Ave. N., Seattle, 206-352-6308.)