Toubab Krewe

It’s one thing to sprinkle ethnic influences into your sound. It’s another altogether to spend years studying under master musicians in their home countries. The latter shows a level of dedication that is all but unheard of in rock music, but that didn’t stop Asheville’s Toubab Krewe from spending years developing their sound before even becoming a band. Every single member of the Krewe has studied music in Mali, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast – on repeated visits. Even more exceptional is the group’s sense of honesty: purism, apparently, is not the goal, and while the Krewe’s members clearly have respect for the various traditions they’ve studied, they don’t overshoot the mark and fall prey to reverence. There is, after all, another tradition they have equal respect for, and it’s called rock music! As such, they make no bones about what they are: a hybrid, but a guitar-based rock band nonetheless. And because they took their time blending the Mandinka and rock elements, the two forms sound perfectly natural together – hardly the work of wide-eyed collegians over-eager to fetishize or glorify other cultures. And, sure, the band jams, but to call it a “jamband” would be a disservice when it’s more like a true musical cross-breed. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Wed., Sept. 30, 9 p.m., 2009

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