The Horns of Africa



The umbrella genre "world music" is basically the audible legacy of European colonialism; Western instruments and sounds intermixing with indigenous musical traditions to give birth to global beats still evolving in an ongoing cycle today. The West African nation of Benin's Gangbe Brass Band and North Carolina's Toubab Krewe are both great examples of that natural fusion -- proving that while the historical relationship of human rights between West Africa and the Deep South may be embarrassing, to say the least, it's gold in the studio.

The 10-man Gangbe Brass Band combines ebullient horns with chattering African percussion and call-and-response lyrics in their native Fon language. Their most recent release is the 2004 EP, Whendo, which stretches their fusion of jazz, marching brass band music and West African percussion and dialects. A full front of horns include several trumpets, trombones and a saxophone, and you can hear strains of big band music up through be-bop. They've also grown to incorporate other popular African music, echoing at times the juju music of King Sunny Ade. As they have toured the globe, more influences have turned up. Whendo even features a playful, globalized take on the raunchy Bourbon Street stripper classic "Night Train."

Gangbe make a rare four-set appearance at Jazz Fest. The band also has an evening club appearance at Rosy's with Toubab Krewe. On its self-titled debut album, Toubab crafts a deep, expansive sonic landscape of low, buzzing blues guitar, Afrobeat, reggae and cool jazz variations laid across the subtle rhythms of Malian desert blues. Gangbe Brass Band of Benin 2:10 p.m. Fri., May 4, Congo Square/Louisiana Heritage Stage; 5:40 p.m. Jazz & Heritage Stage; 12:40 p.m. Sat., May 5, Congo Square/Louisiana Heritage Stage; 5:45 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage The Gangbe Brass Band and Toubab Krewe Rosy's Jazz Hall, 500 Valence St., 896-7679 10 p.m. Sat., May 5 Tickets $25.

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