Robin Balliger played flute during high school and college, and she earned a BA in Music at UC Berkeley in 1979. At Cal she performed with the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players and in a free jazz group (although as a teen she also loved funk bands like Tower of Power, The Commodores, George Clinton and P-Funk, etc.) Balliger was a dedicated experimental and free jazz musician, and she saw many great players during the late 1970s including Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton, Ornette Coleman, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and many more. Around 1978 she heard the Sex Pistols album and was inspired by the energy, attitude, and radical politics, and she soon became part of the punk scene in San Francisco. Balliger stopped playing the flute and started playing electric bass in an experimental punk-funk band, The Appliances. By about 1982-83, the punk scene seemed less creative, and she became interested in the music and politics of the two-tone movement, the Afro Beat music of Fela Kuti, and other African styles including Juju and Highlife. This was also the height of the anti-apartheid movement internationally. After playing bass in a Nigerian afro-beat band led by O.J. Ekemode, she co-founded world beat band Big City with guitarist Joe Gore. Big City became one of the most popular bands in the Bay Area during the mid-1980s. Balliger was among the people, including master drummer C.K.Ladzekpo, who were instrumental in efforts to bring Fela Kuti and band to the Bay Area for the first time. His band did an amazing performance at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, but Fela wasn’t able to leave Nigeria.