Larry Bellorín is a musician from Venezuela, who is seeking asylum in the U.S. He thought his musical career was in the past until he met Joe Troop, a GRAMMY-nominated musician and North Carolina native who introduced Larry to the folk music and traditions of Appalachia, which seemed quite similar to the joropo he played in Venezuela. Their duo, Larry & Joe, is the realization of a dream for both musicians. It’s also a reminder for Larry of what — and who — he had to leave behind.
Listen: Dumpstaphunk Brought the Modern Sounds of New Orleans to Mountain Stage in 2014
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With essentially every large American music festival canceled for the summer of 2020, we sure could use a dance-inciting funky live set to pry us off the couch and help us shout it out, shake it off and get our groove back.
Straight from the New Orleans hot-funk time machine comes Dumpstaphunk, which stopped by the Culture Center Theater in Charleston on March 23, 2014, for a smoking set on an all-star night that also included blues ‘n’ soul veterans The Robert Cray Band, gospel legends The Blind Boys of Alabama, and blues torchbearer John Hammond.
Keyboardist Ivan Neville, who’s toured and played with everyone from The Rolling Stones to The Neville Brothers, leads the band, which includes his younger cousin, Ian Neville, son of Art Neville who organically built the band in the early 2000s. Dumpstaphunk debuted at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2003, and has returned every year since, resulting in a couple of live releases.
On this legendary March night in 2014 at Mountain Stage, the band kept everyone on their feet rolling a sweet wave of funk over fans with an infectious double-bass fusion and funk jam style that has made Dumpstaphunk main stage favorites at massive festivals from Bonnaroo to Lockn, and helped draw in everyone from Carlos Santana and Bob Weir to Trombone Shorty, Flea and Chaka Khan to perform with them.
“People have gone crazy about them for a decade and compared them to some greatest funk bands of all time – The Meters, James Brown, Parliament, Booker T – and I think they are carrying on in all that tradition,” said Mountain Stage founder and host Larry Groce introducing the band.
Playing songs mostly off of their album Dirty Word, on Louisiana Red Hot Records, Dumpstaphunk transported the crowd down to the Big Easy in their groove-powered mothership with the set opener “Dancing to the Truth.” Drummer Nikki Glaspie — who spent half a decade as Beyonce’s hand-picked percussionist – trades lead vocals with the band’s two bassists Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, before blasting full steam ahead into the fast-paced rocker, “Blueswave” showcasing the sound and fury of Ian Neville’s shredding lead electric guitar.
Glaspie took over lead vocals to pay respect to Betty Mabry Davis, the female funk pioneer on her smoking hot song “If I’m in Luck,” which was recorded with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea sitting in on the album cut. After the smoke cleared, Dumpstaphunk slid back comfortably into their Sly and the Family Stone-like funk revival with more of their sweet trade-off lead vocals and harmonies served up on two powerful message-packed songs preaching unity and social equality – “Reality of the Situation,” and “Everybody Want Sum.”
“Everybody just can’t get along – that is the reality of the situation/ Instead of hurting each other, let’s look out for one another,” the band sang on “Reality of the Situation.”
Dumpstaphunk continued its powerful voice for unity on their topical 2017 single and music video, “Justice,” featuring fellow NOLA super rocker Trombone Shorty, which bears revisiting in light of recent events.
Currently Ivan is offering virtual “Piano Sessions” on the band’s Facebook page, and they have plans to release their fourth studio album later in 2020.
Dumpstaphunk is one of 60 bands performing at Quarantine Comes Alive, a one-day virtual music fest on Saturday, May 30. This donation-based event will directly benefit the participating musicians as well as Sweet Relief, MusiCares, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, World Central Kitchen, Partners In Health, Trans Lifeline, Backline, and local organizations helping the homeless. Those who donate will be e-mailed a link to watch the event on various platforms.
Eight-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne returns to Mountain Stage for the ninth time on this week’s broadcast. Osborne joined us to perform songs from her latest album including her groove-heavy version of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips,” which we’ve chosen as our Song of the Week.
On March 9, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill creating the Appalachian Regional Commission, known as the ARC. The agency’s goal was to bring impoverished areas of Appalachia into the mainstream American economy. While the ARC serves parts of 13 states, West Virginia is the only one that lies entirely within the boundaries of Appalachia.