Brass band The Soul Rebels will take the stage Sunday at The State Theatre.
Snare drummer and co-founder Lumar Leblanc grew up in New Orleans, where music was a major part of everyday life. He thinks the city will always be influential, not only to himself but to the style of the band. He also thinks that the city helped establish his musical diversity that carries through to the core of The Soul Rebels.
“Growing up in such a rich cultural environment in New Orleans, we were exposed to so many different vibes and expressions of music in our culture,” Leblanc said. “You can see us performing with Metallica and Marilyn Manson, but also we play show with Nas, Talib Kweli, Rakim and many other artists in the hip-hop, pop, funk, hard rock and jazz worlds.”
Leblanc and band co-founder Derrick Moss (bass drum) originally met as members of the Young Olympia Brass Band.
“We decided we wanted to play the music we were hearing on pop radio growing up, but within the context and with respect to our culture’s tradition of the New Orleans brass bands and marching bands we grew up in,” Leblanc said. “We started a new band fusing the brass band legacy with a modernized and contemporary sound. We played around New Orleans without a proper band name until opening up for Cyril Neville at Tipitina’s, where Cyril dubbed us ‘Soul Rebels.’ ”
The band may be trained in jazz and feature brass, but their genre is much broader than a simple definition. Leblanc describes the band’s sound as powerful, funky, deep and soulful — a blend of the brass band legacy with a modernized approach borrowing from pop and hip-hop.
“We’re very much a fusion of the brass band sound within the context of contemporary music,” he said.
The Soul Rebels is known for powerful live performances featuring music designed to get the people moving, and Leblanc is excited for the band’s upcoming performance in State College
“The audience can expect to hear excitement and high energy, a non-stop flow of in your face Soul Rebel music,” he said.
After their current tour, The Soul Rebels plan to return to the studio.
“We’re working on a new album,” Leblanc said. “The first album we’ve made in over five years. It’s very exciting and I think everyone is going to be very moved by this project.”
After playing State College, the band will head to New Hampshire and Virginia before returning home to New Orleans for a series of shows this fall.
“Family is our foremost priority,” Leblanc said. “We travel and tour year-round, so when we’re not on the road working, being with our families is what we’re engaged in.”
IF YOU GO
- What: The Soul Rebels
- When: 8 p.m. Sunday
- Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
- Info: www.thestatetheatre.org