Cha Wa, “All On A Mardi Gras Day” (2016): One Track Mind

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It’s Fat Tuesday, and the New Orleans funk band Cha Wa has a handful of doubloons to toss at you.

On April Fools’ Day Cha Wa will issue their first full-length album Funk ‘n’ Feathers, an allusion to Mardi Gras Indian funk music that is as tightly associated to the run up to Ash Wednesday as Christmas carols are to…you know. New Orleans’ hometown favorites brings the Big Easy rhythm and blues like only the natives (or adopted natives) can do it, drawing directly from great forbears like Wild Tchoupitoulas, Professor Longhair and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and this album is so authentic and merry, you’ll want to make it a party record year ’round.

Another influence who looms large is Dr. John, and Cha Wa covers his Nola street dance anthem “All On A Mardi Gras Day.” First appearing on Dr. John’s 1970 disc Remedies, it’s been covered countless times, but few have fully captured the festive spirit that this rendition — streamed on the Soundcloud above — does.

Produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman and co-led by drummer Joe Gelini and singer/percussionist Honey Banister (son of the guitarist on the original recording of “Jock-A-Mo”, which is also covered by Cha Wa), Funk ‘n’ Feathers is deep in the tradition.

And “All On A Mardi Gras Day” is the right way to get caught up in that tradition, straight out of the city that made the day before Lent as famous as the day after it.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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