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      Cha Wa in Oxford

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      May 24, 2019

      Friday   9:00 PM

      1006 Van Buren Avenue
      Oxford, Mississippi 38655

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      Cha Wa

      From the funk-laced beats and bass-heavy sousaphone blasts that kick off their album Spyboy to the gritty warmth of singer JWan Boudreauxs voice, New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa radiates the fiery energy of the best features of the citys street culture. Spyboy was produced by Galactics Ben Ellman and features special guests Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (The Wild Magnolias, HBOs Treme), Nigel Hall (Lettuce, Nth Power), and Danica Hart.Cha Was debut, Funk N Feathers, explored contemporary riffs on the traditional music Boudreaux grew up singing alongside his grandfather, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, in the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian tribe. Now Spyboy ups the ante by digging deeper into the sound of New Orleans culture and giving it a modern twist. The discs largely original material takes advantage of the bands new horn section to highlight the musicians personal ties to the street music of their hometown. We wanted to take the roots of what we love about New Orleans brass band music and Mardi Gras Indian music and then voice it in our own way, says the groups drummer and founder, Joe Gelini. Dating back to the late 1800s, the Mardi Gras Indian tradition began when African-American men first marched in Native American dress through the streets of New Orleans on Mardi Gras day. The tradition, which includes a host of songs shared among the various tribes, has been kept alive for over a century and today is as vital as ever. Mardi Gras Indians have influenced the biggest names in New Orleans music: The Meters, Dr. John, the Marsalis family, the Neville Brothers, Trombone Shorty and others. The most prominent Mardi Gras Indian today is Monk Boudreaux, the Big Chief of the Golden Eagles tribe, and his grandson JWan Boudreaux (who holds the position of Spyboy in the tribe) is stepping up with Cha Wa to propel their culture forward. JWan joined the group when he was still in high school. At the time, Gelini, then a recent Berklee School of Music grad, had been playing drums for Boudreauxs grandfather, having learned the traditional Mardi Gras Indian beats from original Wild Magnolias bass drummer Norwood Geechie Johnson at Sunday night Indian practices in Uptown New Orleans. As the band evolved, JWan emerged as the front man. On Spyboy, Boudreauxs vocals (with support from Thaddeus Peanut Ramseys smooth-voiced Indian style), the booming, funked-up sound of the bands new four-part horn section, and Gelinis mix of second line grooves and soulful Indian rhythms have all combined to kindle a new fire in Cha Was ever-developing sound.Although cha wa means were comin for ya in Indian vernacular, Boudreaux says the album Spyboy is Cha Wa all around for a different reason. With songwriting contributions to Spyboy from band members Joe Maize, Thaddeus Peanut Ramsey, Ari Teitel and Clifton Spug Smith, along with JWan and Gelini, Cha Wa ignites an entire new generation with contemporary anthems set ablaze by its high-flying ensemble. Says Boudreaux, Everyone put their minds together to make this music. Everyone had input on at least one song. And the whole band has a different type of connection these days. Everybodys bonded now. Everybodys just having fun.The track Get On Out the Way -- with its loose, 70s funk rhythm, tight horn parts and deep, bouncing sousaphone -- brings that celebratory vibe to life by spiking a traditional Indian phrase with a fast-moving brass band twist.Theres also a more serious, social message at work in Cha Was music. Gelini and Monk wrote Visible Means Of Support about Monks experience with the 50s-era Jim Crow vagrancy law used primarily to arrest African-American men. On the JWan-penned, big beat-centric Chapters, the singer tackles more contemporary issues, in this case, the internal struggles he faced while being raised by a single mom.The mellow, piano and vocals-only JWans story sees him taking a different approach to bridging the gap between beauty and harsh reality in New Orleans when he explains, spoken word-style, the basics about how and why Mardi Gras Indian culture developed.We dress up in the Indian suits to pay homage to the Native American Indians, because around the time of slavery, they were the first ones to take us in, he says, elaborating on the song. Everything on our suits is handmade -- the beads, the patterns, we sew together pieces of fabric and make the panels, we make the boots -- everything.Not that you need a firm understanding of Indian or brass band culture to feel the dance-ready vibrations of Cha Was new music. Its dance music so I think people are attracted to it. Even if people have no idea what the history is, its automatically infectious, Gelini explains. Jwans the next generation, the drummer adds. Hes keeping this flame lit.

      Cost: 25.00

      Categories: Concerts & Tour Dates

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