Michael Gungor is a musician who transcends limits and boundaries. He calls his multiple Grammy-nominated group, Gungor, not a band, but a “collective,” because it varies from three members to 10 members; and the music he and his wife Lisa write, he says, cannot be contained in only one genre.
“We don’t believe in genres,” says Michael, 33.
Gungor — which has been compared to the sounds of Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire, and has been confirmed to perform at SXSW 2014, has recently started an international tour for its new album, “I Am Mountain.”
Michael is the son of a Puerto Rican Protestant pastor from the Bronx, New York, who later moved to Wisconsin where Michael was born and raised.
“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10,” says Michael who met his wife, and life music partner, Lisa, freshman year at Oral Roberts University.
After that year, Michael went on to study jazz guitar at both Western Michigan University and the University of North Texas, while also touring and working as a musician. He and Lisa maintained a long distance relationship throughout those years.
They reminisce about how, as music students, they used to flirt by sharing songs they’d written with each other. They have been through so much since college — they formed Gungor, they had a daughter, now 3, and even founded a label-less, non-denominational church called Bloom — in their hometown, Denver, in 2007.
“We aren’t sure that God is all that into labels; so we aren’t either,” they write on their church’s site.
Lisa says their music, although spiritual in nature, is for everyone. Their headlining song, “I Am Mountain,” she says, is just supposed to bring “hope and light” to people’s lives.
“After a long bout about life and our beliefs, ‘I Am Mountain’ is a surge of hope within that,” says Michael. “Enjoying the mystery of life in the midst of chaos.”