RIVERWEST CURRENTS review June 2014
"World Be Free is a gift from the Universal Love Band to the Community. Complex rhythms permeate themes of transformation and empowerment. The band connects a wide age range, and diverse cultural backgrounds in friendly, creative, original music collaborations.
This album has been a journey inward and downward, four years in the making and overcoming intense obstacles for each of the band’s members. It is a celebration as well as a mourning of loss. A calling from the roots. A community gift and an intention. It is a question as much as a response.
How can the World Be Free? What am I going to do about my inner peace? How can that spread into an interlocking peace, woven and present with people? When do I call on spirit to help me? How do I let go?
There is always a story to every song. A simple hope to work, play, and dream. Celebrating the good work done. Acknowledging, encouraging, and thanking the Powerful Woman. You are the Master, now make a plan and take a stand. Soothing our inner child and the interconnected child.
Community, light a fire underneath us! Wake up! What are we going to do?
And sometimes the journey is to go to the river, sit, and cry from your enslavements. Let your tears join the waters to wash us. Maybe in the stillness we find our connection and liberation.
It’s going to be all right.
The album is an attempt- a very human attempt- to become more human, get out of our own way. It is a practice of presence. To be, for this one, radiant moment, alive.
We thank you for listening and connecting.
About the band’s name
Why the band name? The name is a translation of the Sanskrit word maîtri, which means “loving kindness/friendliness”. It refers to abundant feelings of immeasurable kindness. I guess you could call us Maitri Band for short.
Several members of Universal Love Band have a deep, in one case 19-year connection to monk-friends in the Tibetan monastery of Drepung Loseling, now in exile in south India. This spring, KT Rusch and Jessica Vega Gonzalez traveled to the monastery and to rural village Banavasi, playing ULB music on ukuleles for school children and Buddhist monks in exile as well as people we met along the way.
Members of the band also participate in monthly healing music sessions for people with disabilities. From United Community Center on S. 9th Street to Right Way Center for Independence on N. 3rd Street, we bring music to sites across Milwaukee. Community outreach has included Express Yourself Milwaukee with whom kt has a ten-year relationship, with some band members participating over the years."
"Universal Love Band @ Club Timbuktu
If they played only instrumentals and didn’t sing in English, Milwaukee’s Universal Love Band could be mistaken for a group from somewhere on Africa’s western shore. Relentless Afro-pop rhythms take center stage on their latest album, World Be Free, while the band’s name spells out the message of their lyrics. ULB’s album release party is meant to reflect a sense of community with displays of flower art in the East Indian tradition by Sharada Gudigar and tile-making for the Center Street Peace Post directed by ceramic artist Muneer Bahauddeen. African food will be served. There is no cover but a free-will donation is encouraged." Shepherd Express pick of the Week. May 2014