Gumbo Diablo is a Boston-based quartet specializing in a sound they call pan-Americana – roots rock that crosses borders and boundaries. Mixing traditions such as zydeco and r&b from Louisiana, cumbia from Colombia, forro from Brazil, and modern roots-influenced rock, they have been amazing audiences since 2009 with their unique live performances. With a sound driven by soulful vocals, accordions, keyboards, bass, drums, and percussion, Gumbo Diablo has the versatility to pack the dance floor, captivate a rock club, or hold court in a small restaurant.
The group has just released its debut album, The Gods We Were Before. Featuring 10 original songs and a cover of Luiz Gonzaga’s “O Fole Roncou,” it is a showcase of the band’s pan-Americana sound. If New Orleans is the northern port of the Caribbean, then Gumbo Diablo will take you on a musical journey from there to points south, creating music that is distinct, international, and joyful. The group is touring throughout the Northeast in support of this release.
“Gumbo Diablo have come up with a lively, entertaining sound on their new CD, The Gods We Were Before. Roots, Cajun, rock and roll, and the coolest accordion work around combine into something fun, edgy, and inspiring. Whatever influences are brewing in any song, Gumbo Diablo never scrimp on structure, style, and talent. Their album doesn’t just have a little bit of everything from Americana roots; it plays each influence well, and the band reaches that point where influences do not matter nearly as much as the fetching originality they have created”
BILL COPELAND — www.billcopelandmusicnews.com
“‘The Hard Sell,’ by Boston’s Gumbo Diablo, may well be my first music crush of 2012. I’m terribly addicted to this song, with its strange zydeco-meets-indie madness and its rocking accordion. (Yes, I said that.) There’s nothing about this song that’s not completely awesome, and indeed, the rest of the band’s 2011 album, The Gods We Were Before, holds up. There’s an incredibly vivacious spirit about this band, along with a sense of juggling madly on the precipice between musical nostalgia and what’s fresh and new. Much, much fun”
VICTOR D. INFANTE — WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
“Can Gumbo Diablo really be from Boston? From their album’s opening accordion kick, the band is unabashedly Bayou, rollicking with a groove that reeks of New Orleans sweat and hurricanes (the drink, not the storms). If their recorded output reflects their live energy, this band’s a must-see”
PETER CHIANCA — THE PATRIOT LEDGER
“Gumbo Diablo deliver spot-on flavors of New Orleans and the breezy Caribbean…a flaming hot dish of Cajun, roots-rock sounds sure to quench everyone’s musical thirst”
DOUGLAS SLOAN — METRONOME
“…a heady brew…bristling with energy…fearless”
MICHAEL WITTHAUS — THE HIPPO
“…irresistibly appealing…a refreshing world music stew of life-affirming numbers”
FRANCIS DIMENNO — THE NOISE
“Gumbo Diablo is a rollicking, boisterous, and unapologetic band whose sound runs the gamut from folk to dancey pop to the occasional sweet, slow, old-timey waltz. When you see them live, expect to be surprised–and please don’t forget your dancing shoes”
ADWOA GYIMAH-BREMPONG — TEA PARTY BOSTON
“It’s hard to sit still during their fiery up-tempo covers, like their medley of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and ‘Sea Lion Woman.’ And yet the band is no less enthralling when they slow things down: the heart-wrenching ‘Louisiana 1927′ is sincere in its raw grief thanks to Wendy’s haunting vocals and Ken’s mournful chord progressions. However, it is Gumbo Diablo’s original songs that make the group stand out. In a flooded field of local bands, Gumbo Diablo retains fans with their originality and dependability”
SARAH JESSICA JOHNSON — THE DIVERSE ARTS PROJECT
Wendy Kinal: lead vocals, percussion, accordion
Wendy’s earliest musical memories are of her Polish father playing accordion in the living room and the Latin and Caribbean beats surrounding her during her childhood in South Florida. Her first job (and gig!) was as a “Christmas” Karaoke Hostess on a Seminole Indian Reservation in snow-less Fort Lauderdale. Since then, she’s expanded her musical repertoire, and has been heavily influenced by Brazilian culture and music. As a practitioner of capoeira and a former member of the Northeastern Brazilian band, Batuque do Norte, she learned the power of percussion and of call-and-response music to connect people. She loves exploring the musical traditions of the US and other countries, bringing vocals, percussion, and accordion to the mix. She’s had a wild and educational ride with Gumbo Diablo, and looks forward to more sonic journeys.
Ken Hiatt: accordion, keyboards, backing vocals
Ken grew up playing Western classical music on the accordion. After many years of lessons, contests, and pieces that were far beyond his ability to understand them, he took a 10-year “break.” During this time he picked up the drums and played throughout the Boston area in several jazz and rock groups. Gradually his musical tastes turned toward “world” genres, and he kept hearing the accordion in new and unexpected contexts. In 2003 he took up the squeezebox again, inspired by a Klezmer band he heard at a friend’s wedding. He has played Klezmer and Greek folk music, but now he spends all his time trying to make Gumbo Diablo happen.
Dave Langhoff: drums
Mattapoisett native David Langhoff studied with Jackie Santos in his formative years and has been performing steadily ever since his adolescent age. A founding member of Squagymre (VT-based jam/college rock) and the Swamptones, he currently subs for the Bill Dwyer band. David has always been attracted to roots, reggae, Latin and world rhythms even though his primary weapon is rock and roll. He now looks forward to giving Gumbo Diablo his arsenal of beats and synchronicity. David plays Pearl drums and Paiste Signature cymbals exclusively.
Jeff Trout: bass
Never content with mainstream music, Jeff has played in a variety of bands with unconventional styles. Self-taught and drawing inspiration from Stu Hamm, Frank Zappa, and Philip Glass, he spent years recording in his home studio before joining Caribbean group Dell Smart & Exit/In. In 2010, along with Exit/In alumni Rob Carlson and Ted Millen, he formed a trio playing Rob’s complicated acoustic guitar-driven music. The stars aligned and in 2012 he joined Gumbo Diablo, laying down the groove to their unique mixture of sounds.
Gary Mendoza: percussion
Mike Crutcher: electric guitar
Kevin Aucoin: saxophones