Cha Wa

Friday June 28 @ 10:30pm

Cha Wa band portraits taken on February 19, 2018, in New Orleans, LA. © Erika Goldring.


Not that you need a firm understanding of mardi gras Indian or brass band culture to feel the dance-ready vibrations of Cha Wa’s new music. From the funk-laced beats and bass-heavy sousaphone blasts that kick off their album Spyboy to the gritty warmth of singer J’Wan Boudreaux’s voice. New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit - Cha Wa radiates the fiery energy of the best features of the city’s street culture. “We wanted to take the roots of what we love about New Orleans brass band music and Mardi Gras Indian music and then voice it in our own way,” says the group’s drummer and founder, Joe Gelini. Not only does Cha Wa’s music reflect their culture; there’s also a more serious, social message at work in their music, for example the song “Visible Means Of Support” is about some band members experience with the ‘50s-era Jim Crow vagrancy law used primarily to arrest African-American men. Although “cha wa” means “we’re comin’ for ya” in Indian vernacular, Boudreaux says the album Spyboy is “Cha Wa all around” for a different reason.