Shipsea is one half of Instrumenti from Riga, Latvia. The band - whose name translates as "Tools" or "Instruments" - is actually a gifted duo, consisting of the mysteriously named Shipsi and Reynsi. Classically trained, this twosome celebrates a generic range that runs all the way from "beatbox to operatic counter tenor." Boyish falsettos and institutional orchestras work side by side: kitsch, glam, and self-deprecation are to be expected. At the same time.
This good-natured display travels well. So much so, in fact, that Instrumenti have no problem declaring themselves the "best live act from the Baltics of the last decade." Supporting Mika and James Blunt hasn't hurt, either. The duo has even performed on the same stage as Scissor Sisters; things again are looking up.
Needless to say, assistance is required in various forms when performing live. Instrumenti's growing professional demands cannot be managed without extra hands. That assistance is sometimes provided by musicians and technicians... wearing panda masks. The logic behind those playful costumes, apparently, is less artistic than it is societal: "Pandas symbolize lazy, easy-going development and great kindness, too. They're often associated with themes of peaceful and positive coexistence. Plus they look kinda stylish... Black and white, yin and yang...!"