Galactic was formed eighteen years ago in New Orleans, and they cut their teeth playing the biggest party in America: Mardi Gras, when the town shuts down entirely to celebrate. To make Carnivale Electricos, the members of Galactic (Ben Ellman, harps and horns; Robert Mercurio, bass; Stanton Moore, drums and percussion; Jeff Raines, guitar; Rich Vogel, keyboards) draw on the skills, stamina, and funk they deploy in the all-night party of their annual Lundi Gras show that goes till sunrise and leads sleeplessly into Mardi Gras day.
Carnivale Electricos is beyond a party record. ItÍs a carnival record that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city _ make that, whole cities _ vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil. Armed with a slew of carnival-ready guests from high-school students to 72-year-old Al ñCarnival Timeî Johnson (who remakes his all-time hit), Galactic whisks the listener around the neighborhoods to feel the Mardi Gras moment in all its variety of flavors.
What pulls all the diverse artists on Carnivale Electricos together into a coherent album is that one way or another, itÍs all funk. Galactic is, always was, and always will be a funk band. Whatever genre of music anyone in New Orleans is doing, from Mardi Gras Indians to rock bands to hardcore rappers, itÍs all funk at the bottom, because funk is the common musical language, the lingua franca of New Orleans music. Even zydeco can be funky — and if you donÍt believe it, check out ñVoyage Ton Flag,î the albumÍs evocation of Cajun Mardi Gras, in which Mamou Playboy Steve Riley meets up with a sampled Clifton Chenier inside the Galactic funk machine.
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