The infectious music and dazzling stage show of Cha Wa has been described as “funk with feathers” – a sound rooted in traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian music mixed with funk and soul, creating a non-stop groove machine. See the HBO series “Treme” for more details on the culture of Mardi Gras Indians, whose history dates in the Crescent City dates from 1885. Cha Wa, meaning “We’re coming for ya!” is a slang phrase used by every Mardi Gras Indian tribe. The band features legendary Mardi Gras Indians Irving “Honey” Banister and J’Wan Boudreaux on vocals and Kerry “Boom Boom” Vessell on bass drum, along with New Orleans music veterans Joe Gelini on drum set, John Fohl on guitar, Bill Richards on bass, and Steve Malinowski on organ.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself on the corner of Second and Dryades on Mardi Gras Day, you will hear “Cha Wa” chanted in celebration throughout the streets. Cha Wa brings the New Orleans Second Line parade to the stage. Make sure to put on your dancing shoes!