By Keith Johnson, contributing writer
San Francisco Informer
North Bay duo Arcane Dimension will bring their blend of ethereal, ethnic-infused rock music and belly dance to the thirteenth annual Tribal Fest at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center Friday at 4 p.m.
Arcane Dimension are lead vocalist and belly dancer Teresa Camp and her husband, Polish-born multi-instrumentalist Jarek Tatarek whose specialty is the GuitarViol, a unique stringed instrument fretted like a guitar but bowed like a cello. Their self-described style of “Avantgarde World Rock” falls somewhere between Finnish cello rockers Apocalyptica and neoclassical darkwave duo Dead Can Dance with touches of electronica, metal and Middle Eastern music.
According to its website, Tribal Fest celebrates Tribal and Alternative Style belly dance in all its forms including Tribal Fusion, Gothic, and World Fusion and is the largest event of its kind in the world with over 26 countries represented in 2012. 2013 will mark Arcane Dimension’s third Tribal Fest appearance where they’ll premier a new dance piece entitled “Revenge of the Black Widow” inspired by this year’s event theme “Halfway to Halloween”.
“Jarek was finishing up two instrumental songs, ‘The Ghost’ and ‘Metalodic’,” Camp said. “When I heard them I immediately started getting this vision of black widows and that kind of predatory vibe.”
Camp said the dance routine will represent a play between black widows and their prey — with the latter played by Tatarek.
“He’s a knowing prey. He walks into it,” Camp explained. “I don’t want to give it away but by the end the audience is going to be on the edge of their seats seeing if he makes it out or if he ends up on the dinner plate.”
Camp and Tatarek met in 2001 when Camp joined Tatarek’s gothic metal band Halcyon Days as lead vocalist.
“I actually started off playing guitar when I was a teenager. I had wanted to sing but I had very low self-confidence,” Camp said. “But as I started writing songs and coming out of my shell more I really wanted to sing.”
As her confidence grew, Camp realized that she wanted to be a front person.
“That’s when I started auditioning for different bands. Eventually I found Halcyon Days, then I met Jarek.”
Halcyon Days soon broke up, after which the pair formed Arcane Dimension. Their debut album “In Ecstasy & Sorrow” was released in 2005.
“I still hadn’t started dancing at that point,” Camp said. “I always loved to dance and I had taken different kinds of dance but I hadn’t really connected with anything and then shortly after we finished the first album I took a belly dance class and was immediately hooked. I knew this was going to be something I’d be doing for the rest of my life.”
Tatarek’s entrance into the arts occurred in his native Poland.
“I always loved heavy metal music when I was a kid and wanted to play guitar,” Tatarek said. “I played my first show at the age of 15. I formed my own metal band called Ashtaroth in 1988. We got signed very quickly and ended up playing arena shows for up to 10,000 people.”
Despite Ashtaroth’s success, Tatarek decided to try his luck in America and moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1990. He described the experience as a culture shock due to his exposure to so many musical styles. His tastes expanded to embrace world music artists such as Latin-influenced guitarist Ottmar Liebert, Japanese composer Kitaro, Celtic songstress Loreena McKennit and Dead Can Dance.
“It was just something I listened to but I didn’t know what to do with it,” Tatarek said of his newfound musical interests. “It wasn’t until years later when I discovered the GuitarViol that it all came together. I figured I could do something other than metal.”
Tatarek cited Camp’s encouragement to try something different as key to their joining forces as Arcane Dimension with a new vision combining belly dance with his compositions.
“We had a hard time getting gigs as a metal band and it wasn’t really going anywhere,” Tatarek said. “So when we started what we call now ‘Avantgarde World Rock’ we all of a sudden had different kinds of opportunities to play and it’s been an exciting ride for the past three years.”
“The Ghost” was released on May 14 in honor of Tribal Fest and is available for free download at www.arcanedimension.bandcamp.com. Following Tribal Fest, Camp and Tatarek will begin work on a music video for the song “Atlantis Rising” from their most recent album, “Avantgarden”. The video is expected to be released this July.
To learn more about Arcane Dimension, visit www.arcanedimension.net.
To learn more about Tribal Fest, visit www.blacksheepbellydance.com/tf13.