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What's Up Magazine


Sep 04, 2012 12:37PM ● By Anonymous

Telesma started coming together as a group in 2002, when Ian Hesford (didgeridoo, doumbek, kubing, barrel drums, and throat singing) and Jason Sage (keyboard, samplers, percussion, and vocals) collaborated with the intention of mixing ancient instruments and rhythms with modern electronic sounds and technology. Over the next couple years, they added Chris Mandra (guitar, manDrum, and vocals, Joanne Juskus (vocals, percussion, and kartalas), Bryan Jones (bass, upright bass, and percussion), and Rob Houck (drums, and electronic percussion) to their lineup.

“That’s a ton of instruments!” you might be thinking to yourself. And yes, it is. And a lot of varying backgrounds, too.

“Nothing prepared me for the wild, blatant ‘creativity whirlwind’ that is Telesma,” says Juskus. “Each player brings something so different from one another, both musically and energetically, that you’d think it couldn’t work as a cohesive whole, yet it does.”

Telesma’s music is a wild mix of chanting vocals, psychedelic guitar riffs, and tribal percussion. It’s hard to really pin down their genre. In one song, they can sound like a tribute to ancient music, and in the next, they sound like they could be opening for Pink Floyd.

“I think diversity and intensity of the music sets Telesma apart,” says Jones. “There’s the combination of improvisation and composition and the many layers of sound created by the different instruments. Also, our live shows are exciting experiences in and of themselves.”

Such shows include multimedia video projections, belly dancing, and artists painting onstage with the band. Not to mention that Hesford appears in full body paint.

On April 20th though, a show at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore took a tragic turn when Hesford suffered a sudden heart attack while performing. He was rushed to the hospital, and after nearly two hours, his pulse was revived. Now, he’s back to playing with the band.

“Ian’s recovery has been miraculous. It’s been an inspiration to watch him literally come back from the dead, and put all of his energy into healing and becoming better than ever at playing his instruments,” says Jones. “Ian is still faced with medical and personal bills that have been backing up since he couldn’t work for so long.”

The band has established a trust fund to aid in his recovery. Concerned fans can donate at

“We’re so grateful for the love and support we’ve received from our fans and family,” says Jones. “Watching one of our band members collapse onstage was certainly one of the most difficult things we’ve ever experienced, but it’s really made us all come together in our mission to create meaningful music.”

Telesma is taking it slow this summer while Hesford recovers. They’re focusing on promoting their newest studio album Action In Inaction, which is available at CDbaby or iTunes. You can learn more about the band by visiting their website.