Island of Black and White
Clockwise from left: Chris Haislet, Brandon Dickenson, Tim Picchi, Nawal Alwareeth
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Growth, change, maturation – as much as we value these forms of metamorphosis in a person, they are often dismissed or discounted when it comes to music and musicians.
When you learn about the evolution of Island of Black and White, the ill-conceived notion that a band – in its first incarnation – is its only authentic form is rendered incorrect. Island of Black and White’s reggae/rock/folk blend is reflective of a musical style honed through years of experimentation with style, influence and execution.
The journey of Island of Black and White began in 2004 with founding member Chris Haislet (guitars, keyboard, accordion, melodica, flute and vocals) and has since experienced a bit of reorganization over time. Even onetime band manager Nawal Alwareeth has taken a more permanent position within Island of Black and White as drummer and additional vocalist. Though the two of them often perform as a duo, the entirety of the band includes newest members Tim Picchi (bass and vocals) and Brandon Dickenson (guitar, steel pedal and vocals), rounding out their eclectic sound as a quartet.
Alwareeth doesn’t shy from discussing the reorganization of late. The benefits of having the right band members far outweigh any negative ideas the changes may have brought about. “Through experience, we’ve learned that it is important to have happy band members who feel appreciated, respected, and a part of something much greater than themselves,” she says.
And their ever-expanding fan base agrees. Having been a part of the local music scene in and around El Dorado Hills for nearly a decade, Island of Black and White have a deeply dedicated following. A following large enough to grant them the privilege of playing for much larger crowds than your typical local band, including the Hot Lunch concert series at Fremont Park, the Cosmic Family Gathering in Placerville and the opening ceremony at Cesar Chavez Park’s Concerts in the Park series, with over 6,000 concertgoers in attendance. “The coolest is always hearing someone you don’t know talk about your band, or seeing your sticker on someone’s car, or your face in a restaurant’s menu,” Alwareeth says.
Though Island of Black and White is known for their unique and heartfelt covers of funk, blues, rock and soul classics, they have been hard at work on a large catalog of original songs they are eager to share with fans. “We have so many originals that we feel need to be shared with the world,” Alwareeth says. “We will hopefully have our album done before the end of the summer; that is our goal!”
That may be a challenging task given the jam-packed tour schedule they have this summer. With shows spanning the state from Tahoe to Sacramento and as far south as Los Angeles, Island of Black and White has quite a year ahead of them. But rest assured, you can catch a show locally every Thursday at Bistro 33’s Sidebar in El Dorado Hills.
Visit islandofblackandwhite.com for more information.