Since 2015, Toubab Krewe has limited live appearances to primarily festivals, leaving many of their fans wondering if they would ever have the opportunity to see them again. So, you can imagine the surprise when they announced a new album, set to be released in early 2018, and a 16-city tour to promote its upcoming release. Fans let out a collective cheer across the U.S., chomping at the bit for their region’s show date to finally come.
After months of anticipation, the day was finally here. The Krewe’s first stop on a 4-city tour through Florida was November 8th, at Jack Rabbits, one of Jacksonville’s most intimate music halls. One of the many benefits of attending concerts regularly is the continuous exposure to new (to me) music. Since my friends rarely lead me astray, I often leave the venue wondering “What the heck took me so long?!” Based on all the buzz, I knew, without a doubt, that this was going to be one of those nights.
I was fortunate enough to see the masters of Latin, LPT, play at Suwannee Roots Revival last month. I’m not even sure how they were able to fit every member of the band onstage but, somehow they made it happen. As expected, LPT played a seamless and fun show that had me and fiends bouncing and vibing.
[Editor’s note: this isn’t all of the LPT members]
During stage change, I asked a number of people what their expectations were for the evening. The overwhelming response was “I can’t explain it. You just have to listen for yourself. You’ll understand when you hear them.” Many fans indicated that TK vibes off the energy of the crowd. Since the air was practically vibrating with excitement, the consensus was that the night was going to be “ridiculous.”
From the moment the guys took the stage, I understood what everyone wanted to tell me, but just couldn’t explain. Toubab Krewe played one long set, treating us to a sneak peek of tracks off their new album, with a healthy peppering of fan favorites throughout.
While Toubab’s roots are deeply tied to Asheville, NC, they have traveled the world extensively. This rhythmic collective has drawn influence from the musicians they’ve met along the way, blending West African, Caribbean, and Appalachian tones into their own, unique sound. Without uttering a single word, their joy and tenacity for with which they played brought out raw emotion and ensured everyone in the room was on their feet from beginning to end. The unique sounds of the kora, djembe, and soku were dancing in my head long after the show was over.
Toubab was, as promised, an experience in multi-cultural musicality. They worked familiar territories as well as the ragged, fringe edges of traditional music from many different genres. Their one long set format showed off their great transitioning skills and a good amount of stamina and band cohesiveness. And it was easily recognizable as to why they have such a devoted fan following. Towards the end of the show, after countless ebbs and flows, the band and audience both seemed to exhale, almost as if all involved had just completed an epic journey; one in which each person were part of an orchestrated series of maneuvers. A thoroughly enjoyable trip, to be sure.
If you missed them on tour, you still have one more chance to catch them. Toubab Krewe will be playing at Salvage Station on November 25th in Asheville. Although, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more of them in the coming months.
Toubab Krewe and LPT Photos
by Camie Hileman