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Cha Wa

From the funk-laced beats and bass-heavy sousaphone blasts that kick off their Grammy-nominated album “Spyboy” to the gritty warmth of singer Joseph Boudreaux’s voice, New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa radiates the fiery energy of the best features of the city’s street culture. “Spyboy” was produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman and features special guests Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (The Wild Magnolias, HBO’s Treme), Nigel Hall (Lettuce, Nth Power), and Danica Hart. —

Cha Wa’s debut, “Funk N Feathers,” explored contemporary riffs on the traditional music J’Wan 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 disc’s largely original material takes advantage of the band’s 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 group’s 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 J’Wan Boudreaux (who holds the position of Spyboy in the tribe) is stepping up with Cha Wa to propel their culture forward.

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“I’ve seen the future of New Orleans music and its name is Cha Wa.” – Paste

“…a grand gumbo of singing, chanting, intoxicating rhythms, and some deep funk grooves that are simply impossible to resist.” –Popmatters

“The album finds the band impeccably blending together traditional New Orleans street music styles and transforming them into a modern mix of fiery, toe-tapping sounds.” – Glide ”Cha Wa, with bass lines played on sousaphone, plus a trumpet and two trombones, bring the city’s brass band tradition to bear. Add sick jazz-funk guitar and two frontmen in full beaded holiday regalia, and the result was a portable Mardi Gras dance party.” -Rolling Stone “...the torchbearers of Mardi Gras Indian Funk…” - Relix

“...sashaying second-liners…thicken the air with assertions of rollicking celebration across a program of originals and reconditioned old standbys.” –DownBeat

“Cha Wa blends Mardi Gras Indian tradition and modern pop magic” - No Depression “Cha Wa creates a sound that successfully mashes up Mardi Gras Indian–based aesthetics with brassy horns direct from a second line parade.” - Offbeat “The result of this intoxicating mix of spirit and soul is Spyboy!” -Grateful Web

“This is what the evolution of New Orleans’ music sounds like.” - New Orleans Magazine

“Mind blower alert.” –Midwest Record “Here’s a band that takes you to the streets of New Orleans.” - Jazz Weekly “Shallow Water” is the most radical reimagining of an Indian standard in recent memory

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Funk 'n' Feathers

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