Who: Kostaman and the Vibrations
When: Every Friday night
Where: Longhorn Saloon
Kostaman and the Vibrations move to prime time Friday, Dec. 14 at their new home at the Longhorn Saloon.
“We are looking forward to a new beginning,” said Kostas Lymbertos, better known as Kostaman. “The band is changing. Rob Funk is leaving. We have to make things new and get some different people into the mix and see where it is going to take us. It’s exciting to start a new project.”
The new project includes what Kostaman calls a “friendly takeover” of Gnar Boots with guitarist Sean Rose, drummer Jay McNeil and DJ Buddha joining the reggae Vibrations. Buddha will be dropping his prefix and picking up a shiny new trumpet for this new gig.
“We have a good vibe together,” Kostaman says of the Gnar Boots relationship. “With fans from both bands, we are going to have lots of support.”
A saxophone will also be added to the new Vibrations with The Kid trekking up from Vancouver for Whistler gigs. The 6’5” looker will be a welcome addition, Kostaman says with a chuckle; both a little ear and eye candy for the ladies.
The band has come a long way since its first recordings with Setting Down Roots in 2005. A three year residency at Moe Joe’s every Thursday night followed by multiple western Canada tours clocking in the shows has built a solid foundation for the experimental sound, mixing up blues with roots and reggae.
“Our first album was a labour of love,” Kostaman said. “Half of the (Whistler) music community is on it. It was our first go in the studio. Listening to it two years later, I don’t think it represents our show. However, I still love it. It’s really groovy reggae.”
Part reggae, part groove and a whole lot of funk make up the Kostaman equation that demands dancing from its listeners. The multi-cultural group, originating from all corners of the globe, has performed more than 600 shows over the past three years. They’ve performed twice at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, playing alongside other world-beat greats such as Toots and the Maytals, Michael Franti and Xavier Rudd.
With new members also comes new music. Kostaman has already laid down a few tracks for the band’s second coming. The new song, Mama Seh (available for listening at myspace.com/kostaman123) is a much more polished production, complete with steel drums and catchy hooks, than the previous album. Kostaman is still producing his albums independently, although he is seeking a producer for his work.
Until that time comes, Kostaman is just trying to think like one, drawing on band experiences that continue to inspire.
“I keep thinking how would they do it,” Kostaman said. “How would Sublime do it? What would it sound like? And then I start stretching that idea further and further and experiment trying to find something really groovy. I believe Mama Seh on My Space was recording number 12. We recorded it everyway possible until we found the right fit.”
Kostaman has never shied from hard work. He, along with vocalist and band manager Jana Marie Dupuis, co-founded a charity organization called Bands Against Hunger. The non-profit hosts music shows and festivals to create awareness and raise funds for humanitarian issues both close to home and around the globe.
Busy bringing the new team together, recording and setting up shop in a new venue, Kostaman said Bands Against Hunger events will be pushed until the new year. However, the Bands Against Hunger bulletin board for musicians to post flyers and show posters is always open for business at Gone Bakery in Whistler Village.
The first Friday night show of the winter season will include old and new Vibrations, including Kostaman, Dupuis, Rajan Das, Phil T Beats, Dave Morris and DJ Phroh as well as the newly assimilated Gnar Boots. Rob Funk is also returning from his new home in Nelson for the inaugural show.
“It’s going to be another community, another vibe,” Kostaman said of the new show residency. “I am looking for locals to come out and partake in it… The kind of people Whistler attracts is really happy people. We all came here for the same reason, a love of nature. Reggae brings you that same vibe in the nighttime. The children love the reggae music. Old folks love the reggae music.”
And so does Whistler now: every Friday night.