In partnership with the Southern Folklife Collection, Carolina Performing Arts is kicking off their 10th season with a concert featuring the nationally renowned Rebirth Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk.
Both bands represent some of New Orleans' most popular genres of music, and have been drawing crowds to the city’s infamous Jazz Fest for years.
“Rebirth is more of a classic brass band, while Dumpstaphunk explores the more modern edge of funk,” said Mark Nelson, director of marketing and communication for CPA.
Nelson said he was excited about CPA’s opportunity to showcase the bands, and that their different styles stem from similar roots and meld to create an atmosphere of fun and levity for all listeners.
Rebirth Brass Band will be the first of the two featured in the performance, highlighting the unique intonation of a time-honored brass ensemble.
“When someone thinks about a New Orleans brass or street band, that’s exactly what Rebirth is,” Nelson said. “They’ve been playing together for thirty one years — since they were in high school — and they’ve played all over the world, even being featured in the HBO drama, “Treme.”
Rebirth has received massive recognition for their contribution to music culture, winning a Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2012. Nelson said their dedication to brass band is immense, mentioning how they continued playing after all nine members lost their homes in hurricane Katrina.
“Two weeks later they were back on the road for their national tour,” he said. “I mean, these guys really live and breathe this music.”
Dumpstaphunk demonstrates a vocal and bass heavy take on modern funk, while still exploring traditional gospel, second line and R&B.
“Funk is a very distinct genre of music,” said Dumpstaphunk publicity director Margaret Willard. “Lot of bass, real rhythmic, but it’s also not a category on iTunes or Spotify, and there’s no top billboard for it. These guys are kind of leading the charge for funk music today.”
Willard said the band has an impressive pedigree, with members Ivan and Ian Neville coming from the world famous Neville family, whose music has been a part of New Orleans culture for decades.
“Everybody in the band is sort of tied to the Neville family in some way,” she said. “They’re really carrying on the legacy for the original guys.”
The band first played together at Jazz Fest in 2003, and have since received numerous accolades for their work. Over the last few years, they’ve collaborated with musicians such as Amy DiFranco and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Some cities you can’t hear (music) all the time, but the hospitality of its music is a big part of New Orleans,” said bassist Nick Daniels III. “In Europe there’s just art everywhere, and that’s really their culture, and what they do there. Here in America, that’s music. It’s not just a New Orleans culture, it’s an American culture.”
Daniels is one of Dumpstaphunk’s two featured bassists, in addition to being one of their singers. Though he’s been an accomplished base player since the late 1970’s, Daniels actually started out with drums.
“Between fourth and tenth grade I got into percussion instruments, and I started playing in local bands at about sixteen,” he said. “One day I met this base player, and he was playing by himself, plucking and slapping the base, and I was like, man, show me that… it’s been base ever since.”
Dumpstaphunk’s performance with CPA will mark the final performance of the band’s current drummer Nikki Glaspie, who is moving on to tour with her band, “The Nth Power.”
“It’ll be bittersweet,” Glaspie said. “I’ve gained life experience from touring around with them. It’s like I’ve gained three older brothers and they’ve really showed me how to do and not to do things.”
Both bands will play tonight at UNC’s Memorial Hall and will commence the Southern Folklife Collection’s 25th Anniversary weekend celebration.
“People are going to get a real taste of New Orleans,” said Nelson. “An unmistakably upbeat party atmosphere.”
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