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    Bit to Do

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    Sometimes, you just can't beat the music scene in this town for sheer diversity, not to mention an element of surprise. There were two music festivals happening over the weekend (Garden Gate Blues and Outskirts), free Beethoven from the Louisville Orchestra at St. Stephen Church on Friday, and the Louisville Ballet appearing at ReSurfaced. I couldn't make it to all of that, but what I did manage to take in was pretty remarkable. The Brooklyn-based band Sinkane and touring partner Helado Negro created a memorable night at Zanzabar Saturday, the perfect antidote to a dreary fall evening.

    Roberto Carlos Lange is the mastermind behind Helado Negro, an electronic mix of irresistible Latin beats, hypnotic melodies, and psychedelic effects, enhanced by shimmery backup groovers who undulate mysteriously behind his warm and appealing voice. Fog, laser lights, and tinselly dancers aside, Helado Negro's music provided the perfect trippy intro into the sophisticated and sensual rhythms of Sinkane, fronted by Ahmed Gallab. 

    Helado Negro

    Gallab's vocals are immediately inviting. Hovering in the upper register, his voice has the smooth, sexy heat of classic R&B singers. There is a wonderful feeling of expansiveness in the music, embracing a rich backdrop of influences from the African rhythms of Gallab's native Sudan to the mournful pedal steel twang from guitarist Johnny Lam. Bass player Ish Montgomery and drummer Jason Trammell delivered the slow, funky grooves for Gallab's slinky synth and vocals. Danceable music this is, and there were a few folks with the moves to match Sinkane's soulful invitation. 


    And just when you thought the night was over, and while Sinkane was still breaking down their gear on stage, a surprise marching band broke through the front door with an invasion of joyous, New Orleans-style, second line jazz. The Detroit Party Band tends to show up at events unexpectedly, and they just happened to be stopping through Louisville. They've toured Europe and played alongside artists as varied as Band of Horses and My Brightest Diamond. All I can say, is you know it's a party when there's a flutist jumping up on your bar table. 

    All in all, it was one of the most entertaining concerts I've been to in awhile. This was a weekend in Louisville where you just about couldn't go wrong.

    Ahmed Gallab


    [Photo Credits: Lee Burchfield]

    Selena Frye's picture

    About Selena Frye

    I'm a writer and editor living in Louisville since 1996. I'm originally from the Blue Ridge of Virginia.

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