Ever since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Galactic has
been on a five-man crusade to keep all facets of the city’s deep musical
heritage alive and jamming.
For its most recent effort Ya-Ka-May, the band enlists a host of guest vocalists with ties to
the Crescent City’s musical scene – Irma Thomas, Big Chief Bo Dollis, Allen Toussaint, Trombone
Shorty, Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
An album featuring artists from
every part of the city’s musical map – Brass, Jazz, Rock, Soul, Gospel – and
the city’s own precursor to Hip Hop – Bounce – has no right to work, said many,
including Galactic Keyboardist Rich Vogel in a recent interview with this
The surprise is that by using
Galactic’s Funk/Blues/Rock as a base, it truly does.
Whether the sound is Funk with
an ample dollop of Brass accentuated with Big Freedia’s urban growl on “Double
It,” the in-your-face growling rap of Katey Red and Sissy Nobby in “Katey vs.
Nobby” or straight-up Galactic Funk on “Friends of Science,” the sound is
Like Galactic’s guest-laden 2007 album From the Corner To The Block, the
vocalists aren’t shy about adding their musical footprints to the tunes while
respectfully not straying too far afield.
“We’re still about making music to rock,” Vogel told me. “That
is how Galactic started, with the necessity of keeping the energy up and the
vibe going. Everyone in this lineage shares that; that’s why it works.”
Standout Tracks: “Double It,” “Friends of Science” NANCY DUNHAM