In 2002, during a fit of frustration with the New York music scene,Swedish-born saxophonist and composer Ilhan Ersahin andwife Fernanda founded the East Village nightclub Nublu. And now, fiveyears after the Avenue C hole-in-the-wall has gone from a birthplace toa home for its distinctive sound, Ersahin and company are ready toparty.

To celebrate Nublu's fifth anniversary, Ersahin has enlisted 18 bandsand ten DJs to perform sets over ten consecutive nights, beginning onJune 15th. While this may seem like a musical overload, any night at thebar, located on Avenue C between 5th and 6th streets, entails aperpetual, beer-soaked dance marathon to the Nublu-beat. Ersahinexplains, "At Nublu, when the music starts it goes, we keep the flow.Right when the bands stop the DJ takes over. There's a feeling of a longthing. It's a bit more about the trancy, spiritual thing than aperformance... Every night is like an experience." And an experience iscertainly guaranteed. The fifth anniversary celebration features bandslike Ersahin's own Love Trio and Nublu Orchestra playing after aneclectic set of DJs, including Moby and the Brazilian Girls. As Nubluapproaches its anniversary, it's clear that they're onto something. Howis this venue still standing amid the fallen LES-gems Sin-é and Tonic?The answer dates back to Nublu's beginnings.

As Ersahin himself describes it, the club that now showcases some ofthe freshest music in Alphabet City began as a home for his own musicalexperimentations, some of which had already made Ersahin famous inTurkey, his father's native country. "I will never be a pop star,"Ersahin explains, "but I definitely am a figure to young people [inIstanbul], bringing in new music from the West... A lot of people see meas this underground figure." With the creation of Nublu, Ersahin soughtto translate his subterranean sound into an above ground haven where hecould unabashedly showcase his musical identity.

Ersahin recalls the clubs formation: "At that time I started Nublu,me and the people I was surrounded with -- the musicians I was hangingout with, the people I was playing with --felt there was a scene. Wedidn't really fit in anywhere." The musicians Ersahin is referring to --Jesse Murphy and Kenny Wolleson -- began playing as Love Trio. After 13years of living in the East Village and still no place to call home,what could Ersahin and company do besides build their own?

Ersahin credits the Nublu sound to an amalgamation of influences,none more important than the East Village itself: "Everybody there isinfluenced by a lot of music...What we were doing was kind of in betweenall those things. It's kind of like our own sound. It's a New York basedthing; it's an East Village thing." As much as Nublu's sound is an EastVillage thing, the club and its musicians, with Brazilian Girls beingthe lone exception, have remained on the periphery, and it's noaccident.

Ersahin and those that operate Nublu intended to create a trulyunique experience, one that, to this day, has been protected from bothhype and commercialization. "We don't do things that are fashionable,"Ersahin explains. "It's not like these beats are hip. I like to seepeople shaping their identity, getting into art because it is about art.It's about giving something; it's about trading and nurturing things ina scene and seeing how it blossoms and how it takes turns." The steadygrowth of Nublu's popularity -- as evidenced by last year's launch ofNublu Records -- can be attributed to the venue's patience andwillingness to foster something unique, a process that, according toErsahin, necessitates an eschewing of traditional advertisingtechniques. He explains the strategy, "We don't even list. I want it totake time. I didn't wanna be like, ‘Hey! We're a club come, come, come.'I wanted it to be an organic thing. It's about the music, so people willeventually come. I go there because it's good music. They come becausethey know it's going to be some kind of good live music."

Nublu Orchestra and Wax Poetic, two acts you will find bothon Nublu Records and regularly performing at the club, showcase the scene'ssignature fluidity. With the Orchestra, you'll hear one of Ersahin's ownsaxophone solos wavering over a techno-inspired drum-machine beat withthe supporting orchestra maintaining a free jazz feel (likely theinfluence of notoriously eccentric conductor and composer Butch Morris);alternately, with Wax Poetic, you'll find Bebel Gilberto or even NorahJones' -- who was the lead vocalist for the group before exploding ontothe pop-jazz scene with 2002's Come Away With Me -- vibrato-fusedvocals accompanied by reverby piano and ethereal, atmospheric marimbas.If being part of Nublu means anything, it's about representing yourselfthrough music: "What Jesse [Murphy] actually said in one interview, it'slike a listening session. It's like we listen to each other to see whateveryone else has to say: what's your personality, what's mypersonality? We're trying to find our own personality within thosebands. And that's why every band is different." And that's why everynight at Nublu is different.

Ersahin and the Nublu collective anticipate the challenge ofsafeguarding this unique scene they've created: "I feel like the energyis here and Nublu is a part of that. That's why we have to protect thatoriginality." Expect that energy and originality at this year's fifthanniversary celebration. Ersahin, when asked if he plans to celebratethe club's sixth anniversary with twelve parties, is already thinkingbigger. "Next time," he promised, "we have to do 15 days."

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