Dubioza Kolektiv

I first met the Dubioza Kolektiv while cleaning oil off a Harlequin Duck.  

It was May, 1989 and I was helping with efforts to reduce harm to wildlife from the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound.  It was a horrific time.  I was de-stressing a male Harlequin prior to cleaning, a process that can take several days.  I was whispering Arthurian legends to the duck and gently stroking the its head when I was approached by Brano Jakubovic.  He seemed nervous, which is not surprising as he was one of the only people on the rocky beach not wearing a banana yellow hazmat suit.  He looked out of place, not to mention cold, in his cycling shorts and pirate vest, but I’m not one to judge.  I’m lost, he said.  

You look it, I replied.  

The duck was still.  

I was looking for Anchorage, said Brano.  

You’re a long way out, I said.  About 200km that way, I pointed towards the setting sun.  

That way! he shouted over his shoulder.  Behind him, six under-dressed men mumbled between themselves, adjusted the instruments they carried and started off walking.  I jogged after them careful not to upset the duck under my arm.  

Are you in a band, I asked.  

Yes, said all seven in unison.  

We could use some music, I said while indicating the devastation around me.  The duck quacked in agreement.  The seven men whispered to each other.  

We have a gig at Chilcoot Charlie’s in two days, said Vedran Mujagic.  

Two days?  I scoffed, you’ve got plenty of time.  

Vedran shook his head. We must walk, he said.  

No, you don’t, I said, see that?  I pointed to a helicopter hovering in the distance.  The pilot is a close, personal friend of mine, she’ll take you to Anchorage tomorrow.  

Well then, said Vedran, let’s jam.  They set up their instruments and jumped right in to an acoustic rendition of Kazu from their album Apsurdistan(2013).  As they played I noticed the duck under my arm relax into an almost blissful trance.  I quickly gathered more of the oil covered birds from around the beach and noticed that they too were lulled into a stupor by the music.  

When the band finished, I rushed to them. You cannot leave, I said, you could do so much good here.  These birds take days to de-stress, with you around we could save more lives than I thought possible.

Well, if you put it that way, said Brano looking to other members of the band, we’ll stay.  

They played on that beach for four months and we’ve been close friends ever since.