When you mate old-world music with a jazzy back alley of Paris, you get the band 3 Leg Torso.
The quirky quintet will play at the San Luis Obispo Odd Fellows Lounge at 7 p.m. Sunday and promise not only to offer their eclectic catalog of music but to give the audience regular Academy Awards updates via their manager.
The band recently released its second instrumental album after recording two spoken-word albums with National Public Radio spoken word artist David Greenberger. The newest addition to their repertoire, “Astor in Paris,” was an attempt to mimic the influence of modern tango artist Astor Piazzolla had on the tango culture and how he opened up the dance to more people, according to the band’s accordion player Courtney Von Drehle.
“(We were) imagining Piazzolla as a Frenchman and all his innovative ideas he had for tango he did with French music,” Drehle said.
The tracks on “Astor in Paris” can best be described as the type of music you would listen to as you wander the narrow cobblestone streets of various foreign countries. Most of the songs feature a continuous building of momentum that either comes to a full end or a tone-wise change in a direction that will leave you wondering whether or not a new song has begun.
The song “Zemer Attict” is almost stressful in its buildup, and with the addition of the Xylophone, “Danza Lucumi” almost has a tropical feel to it.
The group is currently adjusting to life as a quintet after originally starting as a trio more than 12 years ago.
“‘Astor in Paris’ was more about the spirit as a quintet. We have the opportunity – we have the chance – to give other people the helm,” said Béla Balogh, 3 Leg Torso’s violinist and trumpeter.
3 Leg Torso found success worldwide as its music was featured in a Bosnian television series, several documentaries and a Blockbuster commercial. In 2003, Drehle won a fellowship to the Sundance Composers Lab, and the band’s debut album reached no. 12 on Amazon.com’s Top 100.
These successes preceded the critical acclaim showered upon Gogol Bordello, a New York City Gypsy punk band, and newcomer Beirut, two other artists attempting to bring the old world sound to a mainstream audience.
“(Our goal) is to write new and innovative music for ensemble with accordion,” Drehle said. “Accordion was always dorky, not really any more. . The industry and world music is growing and getting more sales now.”
Both Drehle and Balogh agree that although old-world music is becoming more lucrative, the band continues to create “world chamber music,” its own self-made genre.
While “chamber music” – an ensemble of a small group of people – does not necessarily sound like the type of music one can party to, the band encourages dancing at their shows.
“When we debuted ‘Astor in Paris’ we actually had a couple of students that ended up dancing naked in front of everyone,” Balogh said. “It wasn’t encouraged, but it was worth it in the end.”