New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs, 79rs Gang, take the main stage at Red River Revel
Behind the splendid theater and music of the Mardi Gras Indian parade lies a turbulent
history: both the legacy of American slavery and segregation that birthed the unique New
Orleans tradition and the internecine conflicts that marked its early days, after it took shape in the 1800s to honor the bond between Native Americans and Black Americans in their distinct but entwined struggles against white oppression.
In this context, it was a significant moment when Big Chief Romeo Bougere of the 9th
Ward Hunters and Big Chief Jermaine Bossier of the 7th Ward Creole Hunters, who had a
personal rivalry to match that of their krewes, joined musical forces as 79rs Gang. After
announcing their reconciliation-minded Mardi Gras Indian music to the world in 2014 with their debut album, Fire on the Bayou, they elevated it to another level of pop panache on the 2020 breakout Expect the Unexpected, which seamlessly incorporates singsong fusion of parade chants, drumlines, and hip-hop. The result is a danceable, dexterous popular watermark for a celebrated but guarded cultural form for which 79ers Gang are the best ambassadors since The Wild Magnolias in the 1970s.
Jermaine and Romeo – working alongside writer/ producer Eric Heigle (Arcade Fire, The Soul Rebels, Lost Bayou Ramblers) – have created an album in Expect the Unexpected that is rooted in the unique traditions of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian culture, while launching that culture forward, bringing each track to dance floors and block parties around the world.
“Romeo and Jermaine are two of the baddest Indian singers out there, not to mention Romeo can play tambourine as well as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Said Heigle. “That along with the concept of solidarity that is embedded within the 79rs Gang concept makes this project super unique. They worked really hard on this music and I couldn’t be prouder of 79rs Gang for Expect the Unexpected.”
Additional album collaborators include Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, LCD Soundsystem’s Korey Richey, Grammy Award Winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton, American percussionist and vocalist Cyril Neville, Haitian music collective Lakou Mizik and many more notable musicians. Album artwork was created by New Orleans artist Ceaux Young.
The 79rs Gang take the main stage of the Red River Revel in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana at 7:00 PM CST as direct support for the opening day’s headliner. For more artist profiles, follow The Red River Revel on social media our on the official website: redriverrevel.com.
Created in 1976, the Red River Revel is a 9-day annual arts festival in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana at Festival Plaza. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Red River Revel’s primary function is a showcase of the arts and ongoing arts education. Each October, the event attracts a diverse national audience of over 75,000 attendees, 75+ original art booths, and over 30 local/regional/national live music performances. As a community partner, the Revel employs local non-profits at develop exciting food options that also serve as a fundraiser for the 12 non-profits who participate. During the week, thousands of 4th grade students attend the Revel to participate in an arts educational workshop, create their own art, and experience performances and seminars from the artists themselves. The 46th Annual Red River Revel is scheduled for October 1st – 9th, 2022. For more information, visit https://redriverrevel.com or follow the Revel on Facebook and Instagram at @RedRiverRevel.