Cha Wa: Funk 'n' Feathers

New Orleans' own Mardi Gras newcomers Cha Wa make their debut on their album, Funk 'n' Feathers. It's an apt title, as it encapsulates their fun-loving vibe tied to the traditions of the Crescent City's Mardi Gras Indians. Playing a spirited version of the parading brass and drum bands common during the season, they follow in the footsteps of groups such as the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and while they might not have the likes of Allen Toussaint or the Meters backing them up, they manage just fine on their own, incorporating modern twists like elements of psychedelic rock and hip-hop into the mix.

Ably produced by Galactic horn-player Ben Ellman, Cha Wa tear through a bunch of up-tempo variations of some Mardi Gras classics, such as Dr. John's "All on a Mardi Gras Day" and the traditional favorite, "Jock-A-Mo." If you can't get motivated to move around with this album, then I can't do nothing for you, man! But if you dig your tunes with the sonic equivalent of spicy crawfish and okra gumbo, Cha Wa is looking for ya!

-Eric J. Lawrence