Toubab Krewe. Photo by Kyoko Takenaka

JuJu Fest to celebrate West African music during Jazz Fest

JuJu Fest, a celebration of West African and other diasporic musical styles in New Orleans, will take place during Jazz Fest season for the third year in a row. A variety of players from all corners of New Orleans’ music scene and beyond will participate in the celebration, which is slated to feature numerous events between April 28 and May 7.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

This year’s lineup includes shows from instrumental rock outfit Toubab Krewe, a new supergroup called Megawatt: Afro-Dub Soundclash, Mandé-inspired rock band Pirate’s Choice, Ghanaian-style brass the FuFu All-Stars, pscyhedelic west African funk band the Wahala Boys, the debut of Weedie Braimah’s djembe fusion project Weedie Braimah & The Hands of Time and more.

“This year’s Fest has taken on a real life of it’s own, it is going to be amazing. I am so excited for Toubab Krewe’s first club shows in two years as the band returns from a touring hiatus and has a new album and more tour dates on the way,’ says percussionist and JuJu Fest co-founder Luke Quaranta, who also plays with Toubab Krewe and Pirate’s Choice. “Live for Live Music presenting MegaWatt is an incredible addition to the Fest, the lineup is unique and it’s going to be really fun exploring afro and dub styles with all these cats. JuJu Fest co-founders Raja Kassis and Sam Dickey will both be debuting new projects, The Wahala Boys and The Fufu All-Stars, respectively.  And Weedie Braimah will be doing the same as he debuts his djembe fusion band Weedie Braimah & The Hands of Time on a co-bill with the Pedrito Martinez Rumba Project. This is a bill Weedie and I have been dreaming of for a minute. West Africa and Cuba will be in the building.”

The celebration will kick off on April 28 at Frenchmen Street’s 30/90, where Weedie Braimah will host his “I Can Play the Drum II” birthday bash at 11pm. The whole thing will finish up on May 7 when Pirate’s Choice, The FuFu All-Stars and The Wahala Boys close out the festival at Blue Nile’s Balcony Room at 10pm. Of course, plenty of other gigs will go down in between. 

Tickets for the JuJu Fest shows can be purchased via their respective venues.


Here’s a look at the JuJu Fest 2017 schedule:


April 28

– I Can Play the Drum II’ Weedie Braimah’s Birthday Bash @ 30/90 11pm feat. Weedie Braimah, Luke Quaranta, Sam Dickey, Raja Kassis, Max Moran, Alfred Jordan, Michelle Welchons, Munir Zakee, Amadou Kouyate, Jawara Simon, Dwayne Muhammad, Wes Anderson, Ricio Fruge, Etienne Stoufflet, plus special guests


April 29

– The FuFu All-Stars @ Blue Nile Balcony Room 10pm feat. John Perkins, Etienne Stoufflet, Jon Ramm, Sam Dickey, Steven Glenn, Luke Quaranta, Wayne Doc Matthews Jr.

– Keng & The Pantheon of Funk @ 30/90 2am feat. Keng Harvey, Danny Abel, Bru Bruser, Sam Dickey, Luke Quaranta, Terrence Houston, Drew Meez, Norman Caesar, Lenny Green, Tanya Boutte


April 30

– The Wahala Boys @ Blue Nile 10pm feat. Raja Kassis, Luke Quaranta, Weedie Braimah, Walt Lundy, Eric Vogel, Daniel Meinecke, Ricio Fruge, Wes Anderson, Brad Walker, plus special guest Bajah


May 1

– Toubab Krewe @ d.b.a. 2am feat.  Drew Heller, Justin Perkins, Luke Quaranta, Terrence Houston, Justin Kimmel


May 2

– Pirate’s Choice @ 30/90 12am feat. Luke Quaranta, Raja Kassis, Sam Dickey, Alfred Jordan, Justin Kimmel, AJ Hall + special guests 


May 3

– The Wahala Boys @ Maison 9:30pm feat. Raja Kassis, Luke Quaranta, Walt Lundy, Eric Vogel, Daniel Meinecke, Ricio Fruge, Wes Anderson, Brad Walker

– Live for Live Music presents MEGAWATT: Afro-Dub Soundclash @ Maison 1am feat. Bajah, Adam Deitch, Borahm Lee, Raja Kassis, Josh Werner, Weedie Braimah, Luke Quaranta, Khris Royal, Maurice Brown


May 4

– Toubab Krewe @ Blue Nile 11pm feat. Drew Heller, Justin Perkins, Luke Quaranta, Terrence Houston, Justin Kimmel


May 6

– Pedrito Martinez Rumba Project + WeedieBraimah & The Hands of Time @ Blue Nile Balcony Room 12am feat Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Clemente Medina, Rogelio Ernesto Gatell Coto, Yudisleidy Valdes Mena, Lazaro Dayan Soria Lorenzo, Diosvany Villadares Terry, Weedie Braimah, Luke Quaranta, Sam Dickey, and more


May 7

– JuJu Fest 2017 Finale – Pirate’s Choice, The FuFu All-Stars, The Wahala Boys, & Special Guests @ Blue Nile Balcony Room 10pm feat. Raja Kassis, Luke Quaranta, Sam Dickey, Alfred Jordan, Eric Vogel, Ricio Fruge, Jeronne Ansari, Michael Watson, Steven Glenn, Weedie Braimah, Daniel Meinecke, Ricio Fruge, Wes Anderson, Brad Walker