Led by its founding members and bandleaders singer/percussionist Irving “Honey” Banister, Big Chief of the Creole Wild West Tribe and drummer Joe Gelini, who have both been involved with New Orleans‘ Mardi Gras Indians for years, the members of the funk septet Cha Wa have developed a reputation for a sound and aesthetic that combines the Mardi Gras indian tradition and the area’s reputation for rhythm and blues and funk. And after playing countless shows in their beloved hometown, the septet’s long-awaited debut album Funk ‘n’ Feathers is slated for an April 1, and the album reportedly draws from the seminal Mardi Gras Indian-inspired work of the 1970s — Wild Magnolias (backed by The Meters), The Neville Brothers and Dr. John‘s Nite Tripper albums; however, the material also has a contemporary twist as the album was produced by Galactic‘s Ben Ellman, who has also worked with the likes of Trombone Shorty, and mixed by San Francisco, CA‘s go-to engineer Count, who has worked with DJ Shadow, Radiohead, Lyrics Born and others.
The album’s first single is a loose, stomping and swinging cover of Dr. John’s “All On A Mardi Gras Day” that feels as though you’re following a hot and jamming band with the marching Indians in their featured costumes marching down the streets of Uptown New Orleans — but with a slick, studio polish that doesn’t scrub away the inherently gritty, street-level funk and the ebullient, let the good time roll-feel within the song. If the song doesn’t make you want to stomp around and dance, then you have a cold, cold heart.
The band has a number of live dates coming up throughout the next few months. Check out tour dates below.
02/08- Riverwalk – New Orleans, LA [Lundi Gras Celebration]
02/08- Tipitina’s Mardi Gras Stands – New Orleans, LA
02/09- 30×90 – New Orleans, LA
02/27- Universal Studios Orlando – Orlando, FL
03/05- Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
03/31- Lafayette’s – Memphis, TN
04/01- Blue Nile [Album Release Show] – New Orleans, LA
04/07- French Quarter Fest – New Orleans, LA
04/10- d.b.a – New Orleans, LA
04/21- Ogden Museum of Southern Art – New Orleans, LA
04/23- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA
04/30- French Broad River Festival – Asheville, NC
06/04- Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival – Augusta, NJ