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NEW MUSIC: Grammy-winning New Orleans funk band Cha Wa rocks @ Tiny Desk

When the members of Cha Wa were invited to take over NPR’s remote Tiny Desk, they knew they brought us into the heart of New Orleans. They’re performing at a “hallowed space for Black American music,” as Bob Boilen put it in his introduction: Preservation Hall.

It was only fitting, as Cha Wa is the true embodiment of New Orleans street culture. Their collective includes lifelong members of the city’s centuries-old Black Masking traditions – including Joseph Boudreaux of the Mardi Gras Indians and Aurélien Barnes of The North Side Skull & Bone Gang – along with many of the top musicians from NOLA’s world-renowned Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs and Second Line brass bands.

Together, Cha Wa keep these storied legacies in Black American music alive on the national stage with modern influences from New Orleans funk, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and soul.


Only five years into their story and already GRAMMY nominees in the Best Regional Roots Album category, Cha Wa returned in April with their new album My People, which they performed four songs from at the Tiny Desk.

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