they say, "This plane is going to Seattle." Or maybe they say Memphis or even Bilbao. Then they tell you that if you're not going where the plane is going, you might want to disembark now.
So you're on the plane to the world of the Wyoming Fireants band. We live mostly along the east face of the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming where we play dance music of the Americas. This includes two-steps and waltzes from Louisiana's Cajun and Creole communities; polkas, huapangos, waltzes, and rancheras from the Texas Conjunto tradition; and cumbias from Colombia. To these musics we add bits of anything we like and are capable of playing—fandangos and arins from the Basque Intermountain West, sones from Cuba, forro from Brazil, old swing and jazz from wherever that music may come from, square dance tunes from Appalachia, and a little bit of Klezmer taught to us by unsuspecting friends. If given the opportunity, we can play Québecois tunes for contra dancing.
The tenor sax player Tab Barker introduced us at his Sod Fest event outside of Sheridan, Wyoming by saying, "Most of you know the Fireants—they'll play any kind of song as long as it's not in English." While we actually can sing in English, there's a big truth in Tab's words—that we love to sing in as many of America's languages as we can. The United States is a country of vast cultural crossings and we hope our music can reflect those crossings and offer a little of the breadth and consequent beauty of the American experience.
Fireants painting by Dollie Iberlin
"It's not what you play but who you play it for." (Tony de la Rosa)