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Multi-faceted Leperkhanz to open for Pato Banton at July 24 Soul Roll

The Village News crowd at the July 24 Soul Roll may have their hands full with the Leperkhanz, a Southern California band with a taste for variety.

The band, formed by accident on St. Patrick’s Day in 2003, has a large repertoire of music under its belt. Reggae, ska, punk rock, techno, orchestral and heavy metal are just a few of the influences that can be heard in Leperkhanz’ music.

Rhy and JP, the band’s drummer, were teaching violin and drums at the Encinitas School of Music. The duo decided it would be fun to have a show in honor of the holiday, and after that, the group was constantly asked to play another show.

“It’s been a fun and interesting ride,” said Rhy. “We’re excited for the show because we’re opening for Pato Banton, and our fans are his fans.”

Besides violin, drums, bass, and guitar, Leperkhanz (otherwise known as the Khanz) tours with instruments including the trombone, baritone sax, percussion, trumpet, tenor sax, and the tuba. The instruments are just as diversified as the music played by the band.

“We get pretty wild,” said Rhy, who says the band sometimes grows to nine members. “We have a pretty unique sound, and don’t just play Reggae. We also play bluegrass, orchestral, techno, and then go on to classical with a heavy metal finish. We have a really hard time selling our band because we don’t fit into any genre.”

In other words, if you don’t like the song currently playing, wait five minutes.

“I can pretty much guarantee that there is something in our list that you will like, just because of the big variety of material we have,” said Rhy. “But I can also guarantee that there will probably be something you won’t like, because of that same big variety of material. People come to our shows for a specific song, and end up liking our other songs.”

In 2005, Leperkhanz released its first studio album, “Tiocfaidh Ar La,” and as a result were nominated for a San Diego Music Award. The band performed gigs in many locales and a variety of climates during their globetrotting, successfully bringing the sound of Leperkhanz nationwide.

“You can find our music on iTunes; we are not an unknown band, and we are not a garage band,” said Rhy. “One of our most requested hits is ‘Power Line.’ It’s an instrumental song that’s focused on a really big blend of classical and heavy metal. Actually, I hesitate to say heavy metal because there are no guitars in the song; it’s all violin. There is just that amount of intensity.”

While it seems that the music from the Leperkhanz is leading the band, the group has their set in a state of controlled chaos.

“We like to put on a polished show, with no open sections for jamming or solos,” said Rhy. “There will be parts that sound like a solo, but it’s all been written down; it’s real music.”

Rhy said that the band considers itself to be a similar to a traditional Irish band, but with the intensity and energy of AC/DC.

“AC/DC is one of our biggest influences,” said Rhy. “We have that same driving force to our music. We are not really rock and roll, though. We are more reggae, bluegrass and disco with a super-pumped energy in all of it. When we play, no one plays heavier.”

Even Rhy, with his violin, gets down during the show.

“I absolutely headbang,” he said. “There are a lot of violinists that play way better than I do, but I’m doing something unique just by bringing that heavy rock energy. It’s brute force over technique. Even our tuba player jams.”

The July 24 Soul Roll will begin at 11 a.m. at the Elder House, 127 W. Elder Street, Fallbrook. It is another show presented by the Village and Valley News for their readers. A beer garden and other concessions will be offered for the enjoyment of attendees.

For more information on the band, go to http://www.Leperkhanz.com. For more information on Soul Roll go to http://www.SollRollexpo.com.

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