Toubab Krewe brought their blend of world music, rock and roll, and improvisation to the 11th-annual Purple Hatter’s Ball at the Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park for an uplifting set of amazing jams. One of the most impressive things about Toubab’s set was the fact that one of the players was playing with the band for the first time ever. Thanks to some travel shenanigans that kept bassist Justin Kimmel from making the show, Hive Mind four-stringer Dave McSweeney stepped in and helped keep the low end popping.

With a new album, Stylo, out after a lengthy hiatus, Toubab Krewe looks to be ready to take their music to the people with a series of festival appearances and road gigs all summer long. With the New Orleans-based rhythm section of Luke Quaranta on percussion and Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston on drums, the duo nimbly blended African, South American, and American beat styles into a satisfyingly diverse backdrop for the rest of the band. Guitarist Drew Heller is the epitome of restraint, never overpowering the melody but instead letting his licks be carried along with the sonic tide. Meanwhile, Asheville, NC’s pride, Justin Perkins, demonstrated his amazing prowess with both the kora and the kamel ngoni as his plucked tones rang out with clarity and joy.

This, and all the other music made over the course of the weekend, honored the fallen and elevated those left behind. Purple Hatter’s Ball memorializes a fallen friend of the scene, Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, who was taken from the world far too soon due to a tragic series of events precipitated by antiquated drug and informant laws. Festival promoter Paul Levine founded Purple Hatter’s Ball and the charity that bears her name to gather those who loved her and use the energy created to help change the world for the better. Check out the Rachel Morningstar Hoffman Foundation here, then check out the unique and heartfelt tunes below to see the love that is Rachel’s legacy.



“That Damn Squash”



“Hang Tan”