Flow Tribe, a six-piece funk/rock band from New Orleans, has been celebrating their Louisiana roots via their music for ten years now, since forming in high school. After K.C. O’Rorke (vocals, trumpet), Chad Penot (bass, vocals), John Michael Early (harmonica, vocals, keyboard, washboard), Bryan Santos (guitar, timbales), Mario Palmisano (guitar) and Russel Olschner (drums) formed the band in 2004, most of its members attended separate colleges, with Olschner joining the National Guard and eventually being deployed to Iraq. However, they maintained an ongoing friendship and continued playing during breaks. Having never lost their passion for performing or their Big Easy spirit, they were ultimately brought together by the devastating impact Hurricane Katrina had on their hometown.
“Most of our families lost their houses. It was one of those situations where you realize nothing’s permanent,” said O’Rorke. “So we said, ‘Let’s really try to do this band thing.’ It has always been based on that foundation, that chemistry, that friendship – and it just grew from there.” Dedicated to revitalizing and rebuilding the city that influenced them, the band continued honing their craft, creating an undeniably talent-laden and diverse sound reflecting the cultural and historical mixture of music rooted in New Orleans.
Alligator White, Flow Tribe’s latest EP, is a wide-ranging combination of funk, rock and Latin music, and the perfect representation of their genre-spanning talents. According to O’Rorke, “The bottom line with us is that it’s feel-good, joy-filled, backbone-cracking music. It’s always about a good time, but it’s really always about the groove. As long as the groove is there and it gets people moving, then our mission is accomplished.”
Known for their high-energy live shows, the band gained much of their notoriety playing shows for fans and displaced Hurricane Katrina victims throughout the Southeast. Having already performed alongside artists like Galactic, Trombone Shorty and John Fogerty, and having played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival three times so far, Flow Tribe is now set to play Voodoo Fest in New Orleans this weekend.
For now, check out the Elmore exclusive video premieres of “Shaking and Shivering” and “Won’t Be Long” (off Alligator White) performed live (and filmed by Kapture NOLA) at New Orleans’ legendary Tipitina’s.
– Samantha M. Lopez