After four years of traveling the East Coast, steadily building a reputation as a live act not to be missed, Asheville music ambassadors The Fritz, played a strong year of sets showing thousands of new fans what throngs of Southeastern music lovers have known for years: The Fritz likes to get funky. As much as they take their funk seriously, the band takes it’s rock-honed songwriting just as seriously, but the wellcrafted song is not the only final product in the live forum. Individually, the members of The Fritz are masters of improvisation, carefully weaving their personality into each performance.
While the music may range from hard driving soul to progressive rock, a common thread of The Fritz’s passionate energy reigns true in each show. Whether live or in the studio, the band creates an energetic dance party every time. In March of 2013, The Fritz released Bootstrap, a collection of songs written over their years touring the Southeast. The boys played their biggest year to date in 2015. Completing appearances at festivals such as Wakarusa and Camp Barefoot, they are currently working on their upcoming third audio and video release. New fans and old eagerly anticipate the new music. The Fritz looks forward to a great year in 2016, as they continue their relentless drive to bring intoxicating live music to crowds everywhere.
Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.
This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they’ve exhibited in their half decade of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as Festival In The Desert in Mali. Their globe-hopping propensity has made them an emerging headliner at their hometown’s famous Orange Peel and a familiar face as similar venues throughout the country. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets’ Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl’s Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.
Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group’s travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they’ve learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.
“Toubab Krewe has such a visceral, ear-yanking quality that in the band’s capable hands you just might find your definitions of what is/is not rock n’ roll and worldbeat being completely rewritten. This is the sound of liberation.” – Blurt
“a futuristic, psychedelic, neo-griot frenzy.” – Village Voice
“a new standard for fusions of rock n’ roll and West African music.” – Afropop Worldwide
“one of the most innovative voices in music today.” – Honest Tune