Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.
Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own. The fruits of this hard work can be heard on their latest release, STYLO. What Justin Perkins (Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Terrence Houston (drumset), Drew Heller (guitar, organ), Justin Kimmel (bass, keys), and Luke Quaranta (Djembe, Congas, Dundun, Sangban, Kinkini) have wrought on STYLO reflects the many miles and musical journeys that have transpired since their last studio album, TK2.
This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they’ve exhibited in their decade and a half of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as the Festival In The Desert in Essakane, Mali. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets’ Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl’s Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.
Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group’s travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they’ve learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.
Proving that soul music can be exponentially greater than the sum of its parts, The Nth Power is on a mission to share the light. Formed during an impromptu late-night jam at Jazz Fest 2012 in New Orleans, the relentlessly funky and soulful band believes in music as a higher power tapping into an energy that is simultaneously sexy and spiritual, with songs that will inspire audiences to dance, groove, make love or just stand there with goose bumps.
The trio hails from diverse musical backgrounds, races and creeds. Female powerhouse Nikki Glaspie was Beyonce’s world-touring drummer for five years before she joined Ivan Nevilles New Orleans funk outfit, Dumpstaphunk. Bassist Nate Edgar of Groovechild and John Browns Body perfectly compliments singer and guitarist Nick Cassarino who came from the Jennifer Hartswick Band and toured with Big Daddy Kane.
“It’s my dream team,” said Glaspie, “each one of us is a songwriter, so when we get together, everything becomes that much stronger.” Beyond raw skill, however, Glaspie cites a deep spiritual connection as the glue that binds them together. “Music is what brought us together, but its the spiritual bond that makes us play so in touch with each other,” she explained. And at the core of their vibe is a deviously simple concept the healing power of love.
The Nth Power’s inspirational sets have floored audiences at music festivals like Electric Forest, Bear Creek, Catskill Chill and North Coast Music Festival. The band has been relentlessly touring and writing for the past 4 years since their inception and continue to grow in their mission as they spread love and healing through music across the land.
Although the band members are based across the East Coast, they maintain New Orleans as their spiritual home, and the celebratory essence of that city’s music culture is audible in each performance.
Simply put, there is something pretty magical happening in this band, and they’re only just getting started. “Were going as far as you can go on the planet Earth and playing music,” explains Glaspie, “I don’t know how many times we’ve said it we are so blessed.”
Together, The Nth Power wants to change lives through a message of musical love and understanding.