Black Bear Combo is a raucous mutt channeling the common energy between traditional music from eastern Europe and the Balkans, punk rock, and free jazz. Since 2002 we’ve brought our sound to clubs, basements, festivals, weddings, funerals, parties and streetcorners across the country. Featuring Rob Pleshar (tuba), Andrew Zelm (euphonium ), Dersu Burrows (bass drum), Doug Abram (saxophones), and Gerald Bailey (trumpet).
Charlie Baran of Radio Free Honduras has lived a life of music. Before moving the the United States he was a founding member of the legendary Honduran musical group Banda Blanca, who’s song “Sopa de Caracol” became the #1 Billboard Top Latin Songs hit in 1992. Now a maintenance man at a Catholic grade school by day, Charlie has kept his musical flame glowing largely through acoustic solo performances around Chicago for the past ten years.
Charlie Baran is a true virtuoso. No one sees him perform without recognizing the presence of a true master – an heir to a rich tradition of Honduran music, as well as a guitar slinging showman and a gifted songwriter whose skill transcends all genres. But throughout most of his career he has existed in the shadows – until the formation of Radio Free Honduras.
Radio Free Honduras is a diverse collective of Chicago musicians, all united under one goal – supporting the artistry of Charlie Baran and bringing this tremendous talent into the spotlight where it belongs. Founded by Dan Abu-Absi, longtime guitarist for JT and the Clouds and Birds of Chicago, Radio Free Honduras plays mostly Baran originals, but their live shows often feature a wide variety of reimagined cover songs. This band provides Charlie with the wide musical pallet his talent (and songs) deserve. Abu-Absi has gathered a large, revolving collective of some of Chicago’s most talented musicians; lively percussion, eclectic instrumentation, and rich harmonies all provide the backdrop, allowing Charlie to do what he does best – stunning guitar work, tapping into what seems a limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm for music.
Charlie Baran has lived a long and storied musical life – but very few are familiar with his side of the story. Radio Free Honduras has made it their mission to change that.