Guthrie Green Hosts Tulsa Roots Music Bash
By JULIE WENGER WATSON
LOS LONELY BOYS: The popular Austin-based band will be joined by sounds of The English Beat with Dave Wakeling, Afropop star Rocky Dawuni and rapper Joe Driscoll with Sekou Kouyate at the Second Annual Tulsa Roots Music Bash, which returns to Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa April 18.
The 2nd annual Tulsa Roots Music Bash returns to Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa April 18. The lineup for this free, all-ages festival includes Austin’s Latin blues-rock band Los Lonely Boys, the ska revival sounds of The English Beat with Dave Wakeling, Afropop star Rocky Dawuni and rapper Joe Driscoll with Sekou Kouyate. The Calliope Youth Circus opens the day at 2:30 p.m., performing acrobatics on the lawn. Children’s activities, belly dancing and hula-hoops are also part of the mix.
Grammy award-winning Los Lonely Boys (brothers Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza) headlines the Bash. The band’s self-titled debut album was a big hit, with lead single “Heaven” reaching the number-one spot on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. The band has remained in the spotlight since, releasing its sixth album Revelation in 2014.
The English Beat, featuring Dave Wakeling, takes the stage at 6 p.m. At the forefront of the British ska revival movement in the late 1970s, the band took its musical cues from the Jamaican ska music of the 1950s and fused it with an infectious mix of reggae, pop, soul and punk. English Beat songs like “Save It For Later,” “Doors of Your Heart” and “Tears of a Clown” were the soundtrack of the early 1980s and continue to receive regular radio play decades after their release.
Thirty years after the band’s last record, Wakeling and his fellow musicians are back in the studio working on a new album. “It’s exciting times,” Wakeling says. “We’ve done 13 songs with the full intention that 12 of them will see the light of day and one of them might get used as a bonus track for the tour.” Fans will get a live preview of the new tunes in Tulsa prior to the album’s planned release in August.
For Wakeling, the fact that his earlier songs continue to resonate with fans is very rewarding. “It’s really satisfying. I mean the rest of it is all well and good – the fast cars and the even faster women and even faster money come and gone and all of that; it’s very interesting and a bit dangerous at times,” he laughs. “But to also write a song and have someone 20 or 30 years later tell you that your words meant something to them for ages and that it helped them in a certain circumstance or situation…I think probably (that’s) about as good as it can get.”
Ghana-born Rocky Dawuni wraps his uplifting message of hope and unity in beautiful melodies and danceable grooves. His latest release, Branches of the Same Tree, highlights his diverse musical influences. “My foundations as a musician are extremely eclectic. I grew up with really traditional African music, Highlife, drums, the real ethnic instruments…and then also influences by everything from African pop to Afrobeat to funk to hip hop to jazz,” Dawuni explains. While Dawuni doesn’t preach with his music, he does see it as a way to impact people’s lives. “I’m always trying to make sure that the music is always inspiring people to do better or is pointing to certain issues in a way that is not too judgmental but allows everybody to come to the table and find solutions…My music has political undertones and social undertones because its ultimate intention is to push towards change and push towards empowerment.” Dawuni is hoping to bring that message to Oklahoma. “I’m looking forward to meeting all of the good people of Tulsa and bringing the music and sharing it with them.”
For more information on this event, visit www.tulsarootsmusic.org.