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Nat Geo Music recently published an interview with world-touring Asheville-based band, Toubab Krewe. Nat Geo Music’s record label released the group’s new album, “TK2.” Here’s the intro; click the link to read the Q & A.
The band’s next hometown show is Dec. 30 at the Orange Peel.
A band from North Carolina meets the music of West Africa.
by Ashley Owen
Potpourri. Melange. Other. Members of Toubab Krewe use these words to describe their sound. As guitarist Drew Heller describes their music, “Creole, the literal meaning of the word… It’s a mixture, it’s a language sprung from many languages.”
A group of friends that played music together for years, Toubab Krewe officially formed in the late ‘90s in Asheville, North Carolina. Blending influences of Southern rock with West African sounds and tempos, Toubab Krewe can’t be put in a box. Instead, they would rather be put on a plane. Their dynamic jams instill feelings of travel and motion, reflecting what the band has done ever since its formation. Tours throughout the United States for the past five years straight, plus numerous trips to places like Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea, have produced a sound of uniquely vibrant proportions.
Inspired early on by albums like “New Ancient Strings” by Toumani Diabate and Ballake Sissoko, and percussionists like Mamadi Kieta, Toubab’s instrumentation exemplifies the band’s blending of cultural norms: Heller on delicately dirty electric guitar, piano, and occasionally the Malian soku, a one-string fiddle; David Pransky on grooving electric bass and occasionally the “cigar-box guitar”; Teal Brown on crashing drum set and congas; Luke Quaranta on moving, hand-heavy West African percussion like the djembe, dundun, and karignyen, a metal-scraper; and Justin Perkins on West African strings like the trance-inducing kamelengoni lute, and the kora, the famous Mandang 21-string harp.
Toubab Krewe is perhaps best experienced live, the five-piece group jamming and weaving intricate songs that mesmerize and energize. Their positive vibes and passion for music are unavoidably contagious, whether they’re in a small, intimate venue or in front of thousands of people at music festivals like Bonnaroo and Mali’s Festival in the Desert.
The group’s previous two studio albums and live album are now joined by TK2, a digital-release on the Nat Geo Music label - showcasing the ongoing evolution of truly talented musicians as they continually hone and develop their trademark style.