Culture Dose: Toubab Krewe

Photo by Micah Mackenzie

Malian rhythms and surf-rock meet Appalachian folk sounds at the Tractor this Saturday

Toubab Krewe hails from Asheville, North Carolina, yet the group has traveled far (Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali) to truly find its sound. The quintet counts African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita among its many influences. The musicians admit they cannot easily be fit under one genre; the group’s been described as a unique “instrumentally-driven powerhouse,” one that flawlessly swirls together roots music from many corners of the world.

Photo by Micah Mackenzie
Photo by Micah Mackenzie

The band’s latest album TK2 (released in 2010 on Nat Geo Music) features Justin Perkins (on kora, kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Vic Stafford (drums, congas), Drew Heller (guitar, piano, fiddle), David Pransky (bass, guitar) and Luke Quaranta (djembe, percussion). Since forming in 2005, the band has played a slew of major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa as well as rocking out at overseas gatherings like the Mali’s Festival In The Desert.

Last September, Toubab played at the sold-out NYC benefit Musicians for Mali that they helped organize, and they are staunch supporters of organizations like the International Rescue Committee and instruments4africa that emphasizes cultural preservation. Talented musicians who also are also do-gooders championing important causes? Now these are some guys we can stand behind.

Check out Toubab Krewe’s one-of-a-kind sound for yourself at Ballard’s Tractor Tavern this Saturday night, February 23.