Formed in 1978, Ancient Future is the world's first and longest running musical organization dedicated to the mission of creating world fusion music.
Two of the founding members, Matthew Montfort and Benjy Wertheimer, came from Colorado in 1977 to study Indian music at the Ali Akbar College in San Rafael, California. There they met flutist Mindia Devi Klein and members of the Diga Rhythm Band (an offshoot of the Grateful Dead featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain, Mickey Hart, and Jerry Garcia), and formed a new band with them. They rehearsed at the Grateful Dead studio and performed a number of concerts before splitting up into two groups: a Latin band, and the world music group Ancient Future. Ancient Future can therefore be thought of as an offshoot of an offshoot of an offshoot of the Grateful Dead.
The original members of Ancient Future studied with the master musicians of many world music traditions. They used their knowledge of world music to create something new and uniquely their own that is respected by pundits from the cultures whose traditions are a part of the mix. For example, according to INDIA CURRENTS, Ancient Future "plays with technical brilliance and gypsy-like fire," and their music "demonstrates the continuing beneficial influence of Indian music upon world culture."
Over the years, Ancient Future has expanded its musical vision through collaborations with master musicians from more than two dozen countries, cultures, and musical traditions who are now an integral part of what is today more than just a band. Ancient Future has grown to become a large multinational music ensemble with many smaller ensembles within it.
The various ensemble configurations of Ancient Future have performed over a thousand shows worldwide, headlining such venues as Carnegie Recital Hall (New York City), Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), Hult Center for the Performing Arts (Eugene), Yoshi's (Oakland), Sangeetha Indian Music Concert Series (St. Louis), and even the Atlantis nightclub in Beirut which features a Piranha tank in the middle of the dance floor! They have appeared at all types of festivals including the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra (Spain), Northwest Regional Folklife Festival, Oregon Country Fair, Sand Harbor Jazz Festival, California WorldFest, Monterey World One, Sierra Nevada World Music, SLO Mozart, Harmony, and the Summer of Love 30th Anniversary.
Ancient Future has released seven full length studio CDs selling over 150,000 units. Over a million samplers featuring Ancient Future on labels such as Putumayo and Narada have been sold, and more than one million Ancient Future songs have been distributed commercially on sites such as iTunes.
"Ancient Future is a rare kind of band that might simultaneously aggravate purists, confound New Age dilettantes, seduce skeptics, and dazzle just about everybody else. Delicious compositions, intricate arrangements, crisp playing and impeccable production put these ambitious voyagers in a league of their own." - Derk Richardson, SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
"Marvelous rhythmic patterns ... truly magnificent tonal balances ... the shifting dynamics,the fabric of the ensemble, the emergence, (then gradual disappearance) of melodic lines and the esprit de corps are MESMERIZING." - Philip Elwood, legendary jazz critic, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
"Many artists have been running toward world music, trying to inject new life into their compositions. For most, it's a superficial exercise; but for Ancient Future, it's at the core of what this band has been doing since the late '70s. And the band traverses this fusion terrain with deft arrangements and beautifully wrought interplay." - John Diliberto, TOWER PULSE!