“And one mo’ thang, I must confess / When I’m on my gig, that’s when I’m at my best / When your average man cuttin’ nine to five / I’m gittin’ it up into over-drive / I play fo’ the sick, I play fo’ the blind / I play fo’ the pearls, I play fo’ the swine / I play fo’ the rich, I play fo’ the poor / I play fo’ them youngsters, I play fo’ the old / I’m a musician, what you ‘spect of me / I’m on a mission: love in the first degree / Now, another thang about me you don’t know / Got so much love, I’m about to overflow / The ol’ time soul, the heart of a chile / My imagination is runnin’ wild / And just in case you got the slightest doubt…”
- Coco Robicheaux, “I’m A Musician”
Coco Robicheaux crafts the kind of swampy sound you want to dive deep down to the bottom of, to scoop up all those dark emerald tones that drift in the depths of bayou currents. Haunting guitar riffs and the gut strings of violins and keys build aged piers for wisps of raucous spirits to dance across. Like sandpaper, he works the grit of his voice into something smooth. It’s spooky, playful, raw and inspired, and leaves no wonder as to why he’s billed as a “mojo soul master.”
After years of toil—often gratis for good causes—in the obscure corners of New Orleans, in 2009 Robicheaux was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. But more than a musician (as often creative types are) he’s a talented sculptor, multi-medium visual artist and actor, featured most recently on HBO’s Treme.
Direct from the Big Easy, Robicheaux comes to the Valley Isle for a weekend of performances starting off at Stella Blues Cafe’s fast-becoming-famous Supper Club. The restaurant plays perfect host to intimate evenings befitting players like Robicheaux (who will be accompanied by fellow New Orleanian Hubie Vigreux). Vaulted, warm wood ceilings—augmented by the technical sorcery of Village Audio & Lighting—capture and create incredible acoustics, placing Stella among the finest venues for live music. Every Supper Club show thus far has been heralded as “magical” by patrons and press alike; so for someone backed by the “spiritland” and every bit of hoodoo goodness, Robicheaux’s South Maui performance should be likewise, at least.
From there, Robicheaux and Vigreax will travel the shape of their home state’s largest city’s nickname (“Crescent City”), out to East Maui for a weekend with the 8th annual Hana Film Festival (for which their Stella show helps celebrate the kickoff; see News & Views, page 7, for more). Sunset performances through to Sunday will no doubt paint an appropriately rich backdrop for this versatile musician, and meet and greet opportunities throughout the festival will abound.
So fill up your gas tank, grab your overnight bag (and your friends) and plan for an artful weekend all around the skirt-hem of Haleakala, with Robicheaux’s brand of legendary “mojo soul,” Hawaii’s own musical greats and locally made films, all sure to inspire.