Saaraba brings utopia, New Orleans style |

Saaraba brings utopia, New Orleans style

KEYSTONE – After Saaraba guitarist Danny Marks traveled throughout South America straight out of high school, New Orleans drew him in to settle down.”I couldn’t get comfortable with the cleaner places (in America). I needed something dirtier; I needed some culture,” Marks said.Marks and the four members of Saaraba – sax player Joshua Scalf, bassist Josh Riley, drummer Boyanna Trayanova and trombonist Luke Hudleston – converged in New Orleans, bringing along their various backgrounds. Though they all have different musical influences, they share the bond of loving down-and-dirty New Orleans funk.Whether the band is writing a reggae-, ska-, rock- or funk-based tune, once the members filter it through their perspectives, it comes out as an upbeat, Caribbean- and Big Easy-influenced sound audiences love to dance to.Since its formation in 2002, Saaraba has headlined at top New Orleans clubs like Tipitina’s and is scheduled to perform at this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. A $4,000 grant from the state of Louisiana to start a small business helped them create Damn Good Records, which released two albums.

Last summer, Saaraba toured the Western states and decided to concentrate on Colorado after they received a warm welcome; the band’s van broke down in the middle of Main Street in Durango on Fourth of July, but despite the “no parking” signs, the town accepted their misfortune, and one resident even gave him the keys to his truck and house for the day. In Boulder, they picked up $200 in change by playing on Pearl Street Mall in addition to their regular gig.The band likes to infuse its shows with positive vibes; in fact, their name means utopia in Wolof (also spelled Molf), a West African language. It plays Tuesday at the Goat in Keystone.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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