In 2007, the Ginger Ninjas became the first band in the history of rock and roll to tour by bicycle, unsupported by automobile. On a 5000 mile odyssey from their home in Northern California to the pyramids of Southern Mexico, they promoted transportation cycling while also exploring the frontiers of pedal-generated electricity, using their own bikes to power a hyper-efficient sound system. The audience took turns getting on stage to pedal the bikes to make the sound, taking crowd participation to a new level. Originally conceived as a one-time adventure/statement/experiment, the band became addicted to low-impact touring, and now does so exclusively.
The Ginger Ninjas’ mobile human-power stage is the first of its kind in history. Coupling super efficient digital amplifiers, lightweight components, and generators attached to working bicycles (as opposed to purpose-built stationary bikes), the system allows a band to play off-grid anywhere, wall outlet or no, and to also carry the system to a gig on the same bicycles (Xtracycle sport utility bicycles). This enables a new kind of completely self-sufficient bicycle touring, sans automobile support. On the band’s most recent tour, the system and touring style enabled them to avoid generating close to 60,000 pounds of CO2, or 95% of what a similar sized band creates in a similar tour.
The band’s lead vocalists Eco Lopez and Kipchoge Spencer met on a piano bench. They played a 30 minute song together, a transcendent gospel soul thing that made them both tremble. The Ginger Ninjas became their musical love story, as written on the back of a magic envelope. Listen to either alone and you hear a fully formed solo artist. But together, they blend as only those who’ve found their muse can, spacially, lyrically, and sonically, creating something bigger than its parts. With their jazz-trained band, or as a duo, they skip through genres, from folk punk to folk funk to Latin ballads, simple ska, and fantasy American bluegrass, he with the grabby rhythms and brainy rhymes, she with the clean melodies (in Spanish, English, and French), a Russian hat, and heart melting voice.
They call their style “mind shaking love groove folk funk roots explosive international mountain music for a pleasant revolution.”
The band will be appearing at the Harmony Festival Eco Village in Santa Rosa, 11:30 Saturday June 7 and 4:30 Sunday June 8, and will be providing human power for the festival’s eco-village stage throughout the weekend. The Solar Living Institute will also be providing Solar Power for the speakers on the stage. And the Eco Village is sponsored by Clear Edge Power + The Solar Living Institute, DPI, Next Generation, Rawfood Central in Sebastopol, California Flowforms.