The Soul Rebels
2014 was an explosive year for THE SOUL REBELS riding high from touring four continents including Europe, Australia for the second year, debuting in China, selling out shows in New York City, collaborating with artists spanning from Joey Bada$$, Big Freedia, Lotus and String Cheese Incident to sharing stages with Kanye West, The Allman Brothers Band, Gary Clarke Jr., John Mayer, Jack White, Dave Mathews and Disclosure. Closing out the year, The Soul Rebels returned home to record the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s official soundtrack, quoted by the iconic festival as “Soul Rebels, the soundtrack of Jazz Fest 2015”.
How do you follow up a year like that? As only The Soul Rebels can, with a jam packed plan for 2015 featuring touring, collaborations, festival appearances, recording a new album and a 3-night annual residency with special guests at New York City’s Brooklyn Bowl.
The Soul Rebels started with an idea shared between founding members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc – to expand upon the pop music they loved on the radio and the New Orleans brass band tradition they grew up on. They took that tradition and blended funk and soul with elements of hip hop, jazz and rock. Together with a group of young, like-minded musicians from all over New Orleans, they formed The Soul Rebels and set out to make their mark on the music they love.
The band has settled on an eight-piece lineup that can be heard on their international debut release Unlock Your Mind. The Soul Rebels built a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in the party like atmosphere of a dance club. When not touring, The Soul Rebels’ weekly show at New Orleans’ Le Bon Temps Roulé is known to erupt with the kind of contagious, shout-along musical mayhem that The Rebels bring with them wherever they perform.
On their travels, The Soul Rebels have collaborated live and played with notable artists and bands including Metallica, Green Day, Maceo Parker, Galactic, Slick Rick, Trombone Shorty, Joey Bada$$, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Big Freedia, The String Cheese Incident, Rahzel, Styles P of The Lox, Eric Krasno, Suzanne Vega and John Medeski as well as being billed on shows with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Estelle, Cee Lo Green, Arcade Fire, Ice Cube, George Clinton, Shaggy and many others.
The Soul Rebels have been a mainstay at festivals all over the world, from the stages at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, to Electric Forest and Austin City Limits, to recent festival appearances at the Bryon Bay Bluesfest in Australia, Shanghai Jazz Festival in China and the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Soul Rebels continue to chart new territory as they combine topnotch musicianship and songs with grooves that celebrate life in the time-honored New Orleans style.
"The Soul Rebels, New Orleans' finest brass ensemble..." -VICE
“The Soul Rebels are the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong.” -VILLAGE VOICE
"New Orleans’ top-shelf brass ensemble The Soul Rebels...wind-wielding wizardry of New Orleans’ finest." -OKAYPLAYER
"Brace yourselves folks, these men are quickly solidifying themselves amongst NOLA's proud big brass elite... and seem intent to sublimate the homogenoustones of the contemporary urban music landscape with the lush instrumentation of our culture's root." -OKAYPLAYER
"The Soul Rebels are rebelling against one, albeit detestable thing: starchy paint-by-numbers music." -VIBE
Grammy nominated, artist/producer, Kokayi's latest record Pro Deo et Patria was voted: Best records of 2012 by Boldaslove.us, #6 of best records of 2012 by the Washington City Paper and # 3 best indie record of 2012 by RoxFontaine.com. The lead single Birdus Ghetti for Pro Deo et Patria was featured as an exclusive download on MTV Hive.com. His songs can be heard in Kevin Hart's "Laugh at my Pain" and an original composition appears in the Bernie Mac documentary "I Ain't Scared of You". Kokayi's record Robots & Dinosaurs received a 93/100 from the taste makers at Okayplayer.com, with the video "RoxTar" from that record winning "The Freshmen" contest for MTVU.
As an educator, he has lectured and facilitated workshops with youth groups and at Colleges and Universities in the United States, Europe, China, Mongolia, Russia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Bahrain, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Canada. Kokayi is guest faculty with the School of Improvisational Music at NYU and has worked with the US State Department providing cultural exchange and collaboration with the programs; The Rhythm Road: Artists Abroad and 1beat fellowship.