For decades, neurologists have been prescribing music for diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Theres no doubt that Rupa Marya, a practicing physician at UCSF, understands its therapeutic effects, but her own music reaches for a more universal need of the human heart connection. Drawing on a childhood spent in India, France, and Berkeley, the striking chanteuse easily marries Colombian cumbia, French chanson, Indian raga, Gypsy jazz, and sultry folk music in a bevy of tongues. While her lyrics linger over the dark moments in life, they are accompanied by the jubilant, intoxicating April Fishes, and it is this mysterious relationship between light and shadow, hope and sorrow, which has made her band a sensation at home and in Europe. In recent years, Maryas growing concern for the undocumented patients she was treating at her day job led Rupa & the April Fishes to visit Tijuana and Texas border towns, where the band stayed with deported migrants, chronicling their stories with the help of documentary photographer Lars Howlett. The resulting multimedia project, Catapulta!, is a touching, harrowing, heartening interplay of music, images, and tales told by the band with the help of circus performers Malamaña, dance choreographed by Sara Shelton Mann, and sculptures by Carlos Cartagena. A physician and an immigration lawyer are on hand to answer questions, and 50 free tickets are available to folks without papers at each performance.
Oct. 9-10, 8 p.m., 2009