Versatility is a good quality for every business professional in America going on job interviews, but it is not a word one often uses when referring to a band. Most bands fit into a genre, and they stay there for their existence. This is not the case for Galactic; with ya-ka-may, they bridge genres. Just to put it in perspective, they encompass bluegrass, rap, blues, soul and tribal drums in the song “Heart Of Steel.”
Founding members Jeff Raines and Robert Mercurio originate from Washington D.C. but moved together to New Orleans to attend school in the ‘90s, which explains where some of the musical influence, such as rap and DC electronica, comes from. On the third song, “Double It,” the band brings in NOLA rapper Big Freedia to accompany them on their twist of urban jam.
This is a NOLA record for younger generations. Hopefully ya-ka-may foreshadows where NOLA music is headed being a little more experimental with less concentration on the traditional jazz. There are still plenty of horns and guitar in modernized versions. Interestingly, it takes nine tracks before any sort of blues make an appearance, and “Dark Waters” isn’t even a clear cut blues track.
Even though Galactic themselves are a jam band and do not have a vocalist, on 13 of the 15 tracks they bring in someone to help out, and more often than not it’s a hip hop artist. No complaints here. ya-ka-may is universally appealing.