Sponsored by the Saints and benefiting the Young Leadership Council, Wednesday at the Square finished it’s 2011 series with a bang provided by the funky rock songs of Gravy and Cyril Neville‘s Tribe 13 featuring Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. I’ve seen Cyril sing and play drums many times but this was the first time I’d seen him play with his own group. I caught the last couple funky rock songs by Gravy before Tribe 13 took the stage.
The youngest of the Neville brothers, Cyril, started playing with brother Art in The Meters, then with The Neville Brothers. Thanks to his beloved wife, Gaynielle, who sings with Tribe 13, he found Bob Marley’s music in the mid-70’s and developed, “second-line reggae.” Cyril has since recorded with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Robbie Robertson of The Band among many others.
As a child, Cyril was introduced to the Mardi Gras Indian tradition by his uncle, George Landry, Big Chief Jolly, founder of the Wild Tchoupitoulas tribe. In 1976, Landry and the Neville brothers recorded The Wild Tchoupitoulas, the first album ever released by the Neville family.
Meantime, Golden Eagle Big Chief, Monk Boudreaux, began his musical career during his 30 years as a member of The Wild Magnolias tribe. The Wild Magnolias performed at the first Jazz Fest in Congo Square in 1970. That same year, the tribe/group released the popular single, Handa Wanda, the first ever Mardi Gras Indian recording. I’ve seen Boudreaux sing with Billy Iuso, Anders Osborne and and Tab Benoit’s Voice of the Wetlands All-stars band but I still thrill whenever I see him and his plumed headdress taking the stage.
If that weren’t enough to draw a crowd, Gaynielle Neville is one sexy mama and even their son, Omari, plays drums, sings and dances up a storm. Joining the family was Johnny Sansone on harmonica, who I’d seen play with Anders Osborne and John Fohl at Jazz Fest this year and with Voice of the Wetlands at House of Blues.
Funky and energetic, Tribe 13 delivered songs like the relentless Mardi Gras Indian classic Let’s Go Get ‘Em and the drum-heavy Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya with passion and joy. Despite the heat and humidity, I couldn’t stop shaking what my mama gave me for the entire concert.
A convergence of family, community and Mardi Gras Indian heritage, the concert was a great ending to a great series. I sincerely can’t wait to see what the YLC, the Saints and all the other generous sponsors have in store for us next year.