The Crescent City’s explosive ensemble Cha Wa just released their sophomore studio album Spyboy a couple of weeks ago, and it captures them at the top of their game. The album finds the band impeccably blending traditional New Orleans street music styles and transforming them into a modern mix of fiery, toe-tapping sounds. Produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman and featuring special guests Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (The Wild Magnolias, HBO’s Treme), Nigel Hall (Lettuce, Nth Power), and Danica Hart Spyboy is a collection of classic compositions, two covers (“Hey Baby” and “Soul Rebel”), and seven newly written, brass-infused songs.
Breaking out on the inimitable NOLA music scene, Cha Wa was founded by drummer Joe Gelini after he paid his dues playing behind Monk Boudreaux and other iconic Crescent City artists. The band is unique in combining three of the major threads of New Orleans music, and the fact that its members compose original songs in that vein. With songwriting contributions to Spyboy from band members Joe Maize, Thaddeus “Peanut” Ramsey, Ari Teitel and Clifton “Spug” Smith, along with J’Wan and Gelini, Cha Wa ignites an entire new generation with contemporary anthems set ablaze by its high-flying ensemble.
While Spyboy is already out, the band has a new video for the song “Chapters” and today we are excited to premiere it right here on Glide. “Chapters” is a lively and spirited brass filled affair, bursting with the energy of a street brass band wailing away on the corner of Frenchman St. during a rowdy Saturday night, but with a latin flair that comes courtesy of trumpet player Eric Gordon. The band’s 21-year old singer J’Wan Boudreaux projects his booming yet smooth vocals with a defiant power as he reflects on his own life history. In listening to “Chapters” and Cha Wa in general, the energy is palpable and the listener is immediately transported to a New Orleans dance party in the street. This is what it’s all about.
Reflecting on the inspiration behind the song, J’Wan Boudreaux says, “This song is about how people may judge you on your appearance, but they dont know what you have been through to become who you are.”
Talking about the musical aspect, Joe Gelini adds, “The arrangement blends contemporary popular music with traditional Mardi Gras Indian and brass band genres. ‘Chapters’ pays homage to the street culture of New Orleans.”