Gypsyphonic Disko, Nola-Phonic, Volume One (mixtape)

Gypsyphonic Disko - Nola-Phonic, Volume OneThe talk of the town this last month has been unity. The overarching narrative of the Saints saga has been the way in which this Super Bowl season has brought New Orleanians (wherever they are) together across all lines and boundaries, whether economic, geographic, generational, or racial. Even more than during Mardi Gras, the Who Dat Nation found a strong, common bond with which to relate to one another in the tribulations and successes of the Saints.

That sublime harmony must have rubbed off strongly on Ben Ellman, Galactic’s saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist by day, Gypsyphonic Disko producer by night. At the beginning of January, he and Katrina-displaced DJ Quickie Mart released the first Gypsyphonic Disko mixtape, Nola-Phonic, Volume One, a near-perfect melding of hip-hop a cappella tracks mixed with Eastern European and Central American beats. Most of the vocals come courtesy of New Orleans artists, from sissy bounce rappers Big Freedia, Sissy Nobby and Katey Red to local pioneers DJ Jimi and the Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh and Birdman.

The culmination of the recent unity in New Orleans was the election of Mitch Landrieu as Mayor, winning a resounding victory in all neighborhoods, white and black. This would have made a perfect campaign soundtrack as African-American meets Caucasian (geographically, even) and Latin on this mixtape, and it all comes together to produce a sound that is ideally New Orleanian. This is simply fun dance music, and smart too. Ellman and Quickie Mart found the universal bond between the music of our streets and those across the Atlantic and south of the Gulf of Mexico. The American, European and Latin elements here all come from folk music as party music, and this mixtape shows us all getting down to the same beat.

To download it free, go to