When I think of New Orleans, I envision constant movement — it’s alive in all aspects, whether it be the music, art, or culture. There’s just something enchanting about this city, and when combined with BUKU, they create an unstoppable force. This year, BUKU is bringing some extra NOLA flavor with an eclectic group of talented locals who know how to have a good time. Here are just five of the many you need to check out before next weekend!
I liked James Seville the minute I heard his voice, and even more when I saw he described his music as “rap music that you and your mom can bump together”. He bares his soul in his most recent album, Jamesville, covering a range of experiences he holds close to his heart. “Career Day” is uplifting — the piano and twanging bass are masterfully woven to allow Seville’s personality to shine through. He layers his lyrics beautifully with groovy beats as he teaches us how to be a ‘successful dropout’, from having the essentials (Backwoods, that good gas, and a bunch of fire beats) to the right mindset (you can be whatever you want to be). Start your journey with his entrancing “Glitter and Gold” and “Send2Me”, which are sure to send you down a Seville rabbithole.
The Iceman Special
This four-man crew has labeled their music as “swamp funk”, giving me the impression that they’d fit right in at Suwannee Hulaween. The Iceman Special creates a unique sound that serves as the intersection between rock n roll, southern charm, and something that simply gets you moving. “Losing Your Crazy” really did make me feel that way, urging me to let my hair down, as does “Expectations”. These guys captured my attention from the first hit of the drum to the last lingering chord. The Iceman Special album will have your feet tapping, if not prancing, the whole time.
If caffeine could be consumed as music, this is it. I can actually feel my heartbeat changing to match the pulse of each song. Lleauna, the techno goddess, casts a spell on me with her beats, and I can’t resist. I’ve pored over her SoundCloud, excited to find her full live sets from Techno Club in New Orleans where she often plays. They put me in a trance, dissipating all my troubles as my mind melts away from my head. Some are haunting while others meditative, but they are all completely enrapturing.
Trombone Shorty Academy
Founded by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, the legendary musician who began playing when he was still smaller than his instrument, the Trombone Shorty Academy aims to teach kids jazz. There is an entire culture surrounding jazz, and Trombone Shorty recognized the importance of passing this onto the younger generation so it lives on forever. Culture is important — not only does it define us, but it fosters a space letting us know we belong someplace in this world. One thing I especially enjoyed while watching their performances is the pure fun exuding from the musicians as they enjoyed the universal langauge of music.
This family of DJs, visual artists, and other creative beings all come together to form the Dohm Collective. They aspire to be an immersive experience by providing an all-inclusive art extravaganza. They’ve attended other major festivals, like Bonnaroo and Shambala, promoting a safe space of diversity where all are welcome and accepted. Their “Off The Dohm” mixes showcase each of their resident DJs’ sounds. Kthulu Prime’s wonky, bass heaviness could give Liquid Stranger a run for his money, while Wildfire incorporates combinations of singalong beats and classic dance party bops that only continue to intensify. From their iconic geometric dome to their recent silent disco, I can’t wait to see what their creativity will unveil at BUKU.