Mumbo Gumbo rocks regional park
It was years ago at concert number 30 Jerry Firth proved he was Mumbo Gumbo’s biggest fan. Chris Webster, the lead singer of the seven-member band, forgot the third verse of one of their songs. While the music cycled with uncertainty, she called on Firth.”She leaned on me…and said, ‘Jerry, do you remember the third verse?'” he said. He only had to belt out three words before her memory kicked back in.Firth celebrated show number 51 Saturday, joining 200 others for the Gumbo on the Green concert at Truckee Regional Park. He will travel within 100 miles of his residence in Tahoma to see Mumbo Gumbo, a Sacramento based band”They are the band that got me to dance,” he said. “(At my first show) there were nothing but seats. I just got up and danced, and I wasn’t even drunk. It was beautiful.”He’s been dancing at their concerts ever since.”Mumbo Gumbo is infectious,” he said “There’s ‘dead heads,’ and there’s ‘gum heads.’ I kind of coined the word years ago.”Firth was rivaled by a family of dedicated fans, who attended their 30th show Saturday. Warren and Joanne Senour first heard the band on the radio station KTHX eleven years ago. Their two children Michelle, 10, and Angie, 7 grew up listening to their music and attending concerts. Both own hats signed by all the band members.”We used to plug in a CD when the kids were at the babysitters,” said Warren. “Some of the first music they heard was ‘Love makes me stupid.'”While Joanne was attending school, Mumbo Gumbo’s music helped her survive the commute from Reno to their home in Stagecoach after a long day of class.”They got me through my master’s program,” she said. “To be ale to roll down the window and crank up the music-they kept me awake”Mumbo Gumbo has been together for the last 13 years and has released seven albums. They play an average of three to four times a week in the summer, once per week in the winter at various venues the region. The exact genre of the band is somewhat of a mystery.”We get asked that all the time and we just tell them, ‘just listen to us for an hour and you decide,'” said band member Steve Stizzo. Their styles range from rock and roll, reggae, blues, jazz, Irish, African beats, Cajun, R&B and boogie-woogie.”We steal from everybody,” he joked. “There’s seven people in the band so you’re gonna get seven different influences.”Webster and Tracy Walton, guitarist and back-up singer, compose the music. The songs are “dance inspired, golf coast inspired, life inspired…” Walton said.Webster and Walton’s rich harmony, along with the music from guitars, saxophones, piano, drums, washboard, bass, and accordion motivated even the shy to dance.During the last song, Mumbo Gumbo invited the audience up on the stage. People of all generations danced in the colored stage lights only feet away from the musicians.Renegade, a local company that holds concerts in the Tahoe Truckee area, was responsible for organizing Saturday’s concert. Since the late 1980s they have focused on bringing the bigger names, like Mumbo Gumbo and their opening band, Echo, into the area.Echo is a duo from England and based in New York. Joy Askew and Nakamura sang a unique sounding jazz mix accompanied by bongo drums and a synthesizer.The concert drew people for birthday parties, picnics and dancing, and continued well after dusk.”When Gumbo plays, ‘there are no strangers here.'” Firth said, quoting one of their songs. “They’re so happy up there. To them it’s not a job-it’s fun.”Please run this information as a sidebar:Renegade shows coming up at Truckee Regional Park Amphitheater:July 24BlackaliciousBukue-One and LifesavasHip-hopReggae at the Lake Series, August 2 and 5August 2CultureCapletonAlso Lambsbread and Verbal KintAugust 5TootsMaytalsAugust 23moe.Improvisational rockAugust 30Charles HunterJazzAdam Levy(Songwriter/guitarist for Nora Jones)August 11Andre NickatinaHip-hopTickets are available at various local businesses or call (530) 583-2801 for credit card orders. For more information visit http://www.renegadshows.com
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