From the sidewalks of New Orleans to the Trans Musicales in Rennes via the Quai Branly Museum, 79rs Gang and its Afro-Caribbean mix will get you dancing.
Did you know ? Since the end of the 19the century in New Orleans, in the southeastern United States, African Americans draw inspiration from Native American culture to mark their rebellion. In February, during the Mardi Gras carnival, “bands”, which are actually groups of dancers and musicians dressed in glittering outfits made of embroidery and feathers, parade through the city …
This Sunday, December 4, before their Parisian concert at the Quai Branly Museum, to accompany the exhibition “Black Indians of New Orleans” (until January 15), we therefore expected to meet two of its most famous figures. famous: Big Chief Jermaine and Big Chief Romeo, at the head of the 79rs Gang. A devilishly dancing and percussive brass band whose musical delirium, mixing blues melodies, country rock guitar and Creole folklore, has already been recorded on three discs: Fire on the Bayou (2014), Nola calls. Sewing machine effects (2019), beautiful gathering of rappers, singers and musicians from Louisiana, France and Benin to celebrate Afro-Caribbean culture; and finally Expect the unexpected (2020), their most successful delivery, discreetly set with electro productions.
“Originally our music comes from the marching bands that parade through town during Carnival.” Big Boss Romeo
“My friend Big Chief Jermaine had a family problem and therefore will not be present on our French mini-tour”, We immediately alert Big Chief Romeo, with a massive and good-natured presence, a gold chain around his neck and a cap screwed on his head, whom we meet accompanied by the smiling drummer and producer Eric Heigle. He is also a minor celebrity from New Orleans, a member of the zydeco group – Cajun rock to dance to – the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and he was seen in the studio by the famous Arcade Fire.
“Originally our music comes from marching bands parade through the city during carnival. Its main supports are the drum, the tambourine, the cowbell bell, with deep sounds, the clave, an Afro-Cuban bell used in salsa, with a higher pitch; and of course singing to encourage the audience to fight and hope through dance,” patiently explains Big Chief Romeo, lead singer of the band. “The lack of one of the two lead singers is absolutely not serious, since on stage we are a group of eight musicians who send wood and very experienced”, adds the equally gracious Eric Heigle. “On Expect the unexpected, the idea was to record a disc of real songs that you could listen to in your living room. But hey, at a concert we make more music to dance to than collapse on a couch! »
What did we see and hear at the concert at the Musée du Quai Branly? Four vocal percussionists in line, magnificently supported in the background by a fantastic conguero in an Afro-Cuban style, a discreet but very gifted country rock guitarist, a funk bassist. And in the role of the conductor who holds the ensemble with his wands, Eric Heigle. To support Big Chief Romeo on lead vocals: Bad Boy Trigger, a quickdraw of a small hitter from the ghetto, probably has nothing to envy in concert for the absent Big Chief Jermaine. He has a beautiful presence and his voice overflows with emotion in a rhythm’n’blues style. If you don’t dance and sing tonight in Rennes, you’re dead.
Concert at Trans Musicales in Rennes, Saturday 10 December at 23.50, hall 8.