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In preparation for the upcoming groundbreaking celebration concert, "Bring Back the Funk," on June 27th on the National Mall, I sat down with NMAAHC's music expert, Timothy B., to discuss some of the headlining musicians.
Tell me about your role here at NMAAHC.
My role here is a lot of fun. I work with the curators to identify artists and people of interest for our exhibitions, acquire collections, and figure out how to tell stories through the exhibitions.
Tell me about Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk.
They are one of those bands that you want to see live. The founder, Ivan Neville, is New Orleans music royalty. His father is Aaron Neville of The Neville Brothers. Ivan started Dumpstaphunk in 2003 after doing a number of solo projects and collaborations. Dumpstaphunk is Ivan’s main focus right now. In fact, they are releasing a new album this summer.
Tell me about Ivan Neville's relationship with the Neville brothers.
He's performed with them and has been on some recordings with them, but he’s really gone off to this other kind of realm of sonic identity. Ivan has chosen a funkier path for right now. What’s really interesting about their music is that it is funk music, but it is New Orleans funk, which is different.
How is it different?
New Orleans music in general is on a whole different level in a way. Dumpstaphunk brings in so many other influences because New Orleans is based on so many different things that come together. Their style of funk incorporates all of that. They have been influenced by people like George Clinton and others before them, but add their own flavor to the music.
How about our other performer Meshell Ndegeocello, how did she get into the music scene?
Meshell was actually born in Germany but grew up here in DC. She has taken what she learned from Go-Go and other styles of music while growing up in the region. Meshell carved out her own funk identity. She will say that she is first and foremost a bass player, but she is also a terrifically talented singer and songwriter.
What should we expect to hear from these performers? What will it be like to hear all of these different styles together?
Well, I think that they are all so unique, but it makes perfect sense to have them together. Meshell is a singer songwriter, as well as a funk musician and a powerful bassist so she brings a kind of soulful, storytelling aspect to her performances. But she has also covered Dolly Parton and it’s great! Dumpstaphunk have something similar to a jam band following, so people will be up and they will be dancing and singing and interacting with the performers and it will be really fun. Then, of course there is George Clinton and P-funk.
It will be a really nice opportunity for everyone to contribute their own sound but also come together and have fun.
You can see a live performance by Meshell Ndegeochello, Ivan Neville and Dumpstahphunk and George Clinton on the National Mall on June 27th. Visit our Bring Back the Funk Page to learn more and see the live webcast!