Those who have stopped to read the sea of flyers that dot the doors of the freshman dorms and Thorne’s atrium may have noticed one promoting a group called En Jamb. The group, which has grown into one of Bowdoin’s foremost student-led groups, started with three college students playing music together last summer.
While living in Brunswick in July, drummer Manny Coleman ’22, singer Bobby Murray ’23 and keyboardist Johnny Liesman ’22 decided to turn their casual jam sessions into a real group, by booking several performances in venues. near.
“We started playing together and started playing at a few restaurants and places in the area,” Liesman said. “We learned a bunch of songs to play, then… we expanded all three into a bigger group. [for the semester]. “
When the trio started to think about playing for the crowds, they recognized that they would need a name. Due to their shared experience in a poetry class at Bowdoin, the group chose to derive their name from the poetic term ‘spanning’.
“The name comes from us sitting in a room with no band name for about half an hour, and then I guess the prompt was to find something that connects the three of us,” Murray said. “I think Manny [Coleman] came up with ‘En Jamb’ because we were all in poetry together.
After playing a few gigs at area bars and restaurants, Murray saw the band’s potential to perform at Bolos, a bowling alley and bar located on Dunlap Street.
“This summer I was in Bolos with a bunch of friends, and they had live music. I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is really fun,’ ”Murray said. “So I emailed the owner and asked if he wanted to do something like this [with our band]. “
As En Jamb continued to perform, the band welcomed several new members, including singer Lily Randall ’23, bassist Dan Mayer ’21 and guitarist Kevin Ryff ’22. Additionally, the band created a brass section with the addition of saxophonists Danny Little ’22 and Peter Littman ’23, as well as trombonist Atticus McWhorter ’22.
“With every person we bring in there is a new element and a new dynamic that we get,” Liesman said. “It really changes the sound, and we’re always open to playing new songs and new styles.”
As a group that primarily performs covers, En Jamb is eager to expand its repertoire as its membership increases, according to Liesman.
“So far we’ve mainly done covers of popular songs… songs that people know but [that are] also great fun to dance, ”said Liesman. “We play The Doors, we played Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson and Outkast. We’re a very versatile band, and we can kind of play whatever we want, especially with the brass section that we have now.
The group found it initially difficult to rehearse due to the college’s pandemic safety protocols. Fortunately, Liesman said Student Activities has adapted to their practice needs.
“Training has been kind of a struggle for musicians at the moment, but we’ve worked closely with Student Activities to make it safe for musicians to practice together,” Liesman said. “And they’ve been really helpful in that regard.”
While En Jamb has only been playing together for a few months, Murray feels that the band worked incredibly hard, which made the experience interesting for him.
“I can’t say enough about how amazing people are [my bandmates] are and how fun they are to play, and how dedicated they are [they are] to… put something together, ”Murray said.
On a similar note, Liesman expressed how much he enjoys playing with the band and he hopes En Jamb inspires other students to start their own bands.
“One of the reasons I came to Bowdoin was [because] I saw how cool the live music scene was, ”said Liesman. “I really hope people are excited to start their own band and do their own thing.”
Halina Bennet contributed to this report. Lily Randall ’23 is a member of the Bowdoin Orient.