Cosa Brava

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Cosa Brava
CosaBrava April2008.jpg
Cosa Brava performing at Jazzit in Salzburg, Austria, April 5, 2008.
Background information
OriginUnited States
Years active2008–present
Associated actsSkeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat
MembersFred Frith
Zeena Parkins
Carla Kihlstedt
Matthias Bossi
Shahzad Ismaily
The Norman Conquest

Cosa Brava is an experimental rock and free improvisation group formed in March 2008 in Oakland, California by multi-instrumentalist and composer Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog). The band comprises Frith on guitar, Zeena Parkins (Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog) on keyboards and accordion, Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) on violin, Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) on drums, and The Norman Conquest on sound manipulation.[1] All About Jazz described their music as "somewhere between folk, Celtic, modern chamber, Latin, funk, Eastern, and prog-rock".[2]

Cosa Brava's first performance was in Oakland, California on March 20, 2008. They then went on to tour Europe in April 2008, playing in France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.[3] In May 2008 they performed at the 25th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada,[4][5] and in December 2008 at the Knitting Factory in New York City and the ICA in Boston.[3]

Cosa Brava recorded their first album, Ragged Atlas in San Francisco in December 2008, which was released in March 2010. John Kelman in a review at All About Jazz said that the album "transcends time and genre" and is "one of 2010's most auspicious debuts".[6] A second album entitled The Letter was released in March 2012.[7]


Fred Frith's career began as a "rock musician" with Henry Cow in 1968, but has since diversified into a number of different genres, from avant-garde jazz to contemporary classical music. He has written scores for film and dance, and music for orchestras and string quartets. He became Professor of Composition the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California in 1999. The motivation behind the formation of Cosa Brava arose out of Frith's nostalgia for rock music. He said, "I really miss what you can do with a rock band. I miss developing material through the push and pull of cooperative rehearsals, I miss what happens when you move away from 'the parts' and start formulating things with a collective ear, I miss the single-minded commitment to a group identity."[8]

Frith had previously worked with Zeena Parkins in Skeleton Crew and Keep the Dog, and had collaborated with Carla Kihlstedt on several albums. The Norman Conquest had been a student of Frith's at Mills College.[9]




  1. ^ "Fred Frith – Cosa Brava". Vortice Associazione Culturale. Retrieved April 25, 2008.
  2. ^ Corroto, Mark (May 1, 2010). "Ragged Atlas". All About Jazz. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Fred Frith concert schedule". Fred Frith homepage. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  4. ^ "25th Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville". International Festival Musique Actuelle Victoriaville. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  5. ^ "Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville: Day 5 – May 19, 2008". All About Jazz. May 22, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Kelman, John (May 3, 2010). "Ragged Atlas". All About Jazz. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "Cosa Brava: The Letter". Intakt Records. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Frith, Fred. "Fred Frith: Cosa Brava Quartet". Inclinaisons. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "The Norman Conquest biography". The Norman Conquest homepage. Retrieved April 29, 2008.

External links[edit]

External image
Cosa Brava by Heike Liss at Intakt Records.