The Felice Brothers’ journey from the Catskills to the Rockies
By Summer Olsson
Listening to the earthy, earnest songs of The Felice Brothers, it’s easy to hear the band’s roots and the influence of its journey. Palenville, N.Y., is a hamlet of about 1,400 residents, nestled at the base of the Catskill Mountains near the Kaaterskill Falls. The fictional character Rip Van Winkle was supposed to have hailed from the town. It was there that brothers Ian, James and Simone Felice, the poor sons of a carpenter, grew up and began playing music. The brothers often held neighborhood jam sessions and played regularly during family backyard barbecues.
Niger, a landlocked West African country roughly twice the size of Texas, is one of the poorest places in the world. Mostly covered by desert, this hot, dusty zone is home to multiple ethnic groups, many of which are still nomadic. They lead their camels, cattle and goats along the edge of the Sahara in search of savanna pastures and water sources, sometimes clashing over limited resources. Two such groups are the Tuareg and the Wodaabe, who each have their own histories, social structures and religious beliefs.