CHA WA is a New Orleans-based band. The core of the collective is Joseph Boudreaux on vocals, drummer/ founder Joe Gelini, guitarist/musical director Ari Teitel, Aurelien Barnes, the trumpeter and percussionist and keyboardist Andriu Yanovski. Their mission statement is to carry the torch for the traditional sounds of the Crescent City – but to offer those special sounds with a contemporary twist…  a sort of melding of the jazz, Cajun and Indian traditions with Meters style funk, second-line brass, hip-hop and smooth soul music. Boudreaux says: “With New Orleans music, you have to keep the traditions, it’s rooted in tradition. You add your originality and connect to those roots.”

Cha Wa launch their latest album, ‘My People’ on April 2nd via Single Lock Records (the respected Muscle Shoals and New Orleans based label) and it’s the follow-up to 2018’s Grammy-nominated ‘Spyboy’. In the meantime, you can catch the flavour of what to expect when the LP’s title track wins release on January 15th. The track, ‘My People’ features all those elements that the band hold dear.  It’s polyrhythmic, it’s percussion heavy, it offers the shuffle of classic Mardi Gras Indian sounds and is underpinned by a heavy bass line and storming brass fills and solos. It’s a big, big sound.

Band founder Joe Gelini says: “‘My People’ feels like pure joy, a distillation of generations of New Orleans expression, but it also never fails to remind us how hard-won that joy was and still is. “My people – we’re still here”! Mardi Gras Indian songs are inherently songs about freedom and that struggle is as relevant today as it’s ever been.”