When one thinks of funk music, it’s easy for the mind to leap to some of the genre’s early pioneers like James Brown and George Clinton.
And while it certainly never died off after its peak in the ’70s, funk has been making a significant comeback in recent times thanks to a number of modern bands that are helping to propel its popularity.
One such group, Turkuaz, has been a major player in the genre’s resurgence. This nine-piece ensemble out of Brooklyn enjoys a dedicated national following thanks to its relentless touring schedule and aggressive, yet accessible songs.
“These last maybe 10 years, (funk) is just growing all the time,” said Dave Brandwein, vocalist and guitarist. “It’s definitely around, and it’s a word that I think a lot of people don’t even necessarily know. In terms of your average person, I think a lot of people are learning what funk is for the first time, which is cool.”
The band works diligently to bring its “Powerfunk” sound to the masses, not only with seemingly constant touring, but also an ability to crank out a significant number of well-arranged tunes. Turkuaz’s last album, Digitonium, boasted 24 tracks, and the band is continuously writing more, even while touring.
“On the road we have kind of a mobile demo production rig that we bring around,” Brandwein said. “Sometimes we’ll be on tour, in a van or on the bus, writing and demoing stuff.”
But the hard work is paying off — Turkuaz has been enjoying some notoriety that’s brought the group to the cusp of mainstream success, including a viral Facebook video with more than 2 million views and the New York Knicks using the band’s music at games.
Brandwein is excited for the future of not only his band, but the genre as a whole. He credits a growing number of groups who have been major contributors to this revolution of funk, including Lettuce, The Fritz, The Motet, Dynamo, Space Capone, Juno What?, Dumpstaphunk and Chromeo.
“There are just so many emerging in the scene,” Brandwein said. “It just seems like it’s a really prominent thing, especially in the live festival scene.”
Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo
March 19, 9 p.m.
$15 advance, $18 day of show, 21+
bellsbeer.com, (269) 382-2332