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“New Orleans’s own ska/funk hybrid Saaraba is one of the greatest live acts this music snob has ever seen. They flip through their rolodex of styles like as if the time signatures were identical. Truly gifted musicians; tackling bizarre new territory at times.”
--Larry Hunter, Little Rock Free Press. Little Rock, AR; February 2005

“There are times when being different, musically speaking, is nothing more than an experiment gone wrong. But at others it can be nothing less than a true music lover’s salvation from the drivel that now constitutes ‘popular music.’ Saaraba is a much needed breath of fresh air.”
--Samantha Santa Maria, Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, MS; 2-10-05

“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.”
--Kimberly Nicoletti, Summit Daily News. Summit County, CO; 2-28-05

“Becoming a popular band in the Mardi Gras capital can be difficult given the range of talent in the city, but Saaraba’s members keep it real by doing their style the best way they know how.”
--Anna Beatty Kerr, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Grand Junction, CO; 3-4-05

“Whether you are wearing your Doc Martins or your Birkenstocks, you will be jumping all around. Both of their CDs have a great range of tunes, textures, and grooves, and it is really nice to hear a new sound come out of New Orleans.”
--Marke Steele, The Telluride Watch. Telluride, CO; 3-11-05

“Saaraba’s latest release, Nudivinity, is a nice little thumbprint of the band’s current state of affairs. The tracks are short, infectious, and sonically well-layered. For a band that can stretch it out live, it is nice to see them distilling their essence on record, capturing the vital grooves and not journeying into a repetitive jammed out abyss. The record also illustrates that the band is not just about the party – there are some lyrics that are quite socially and politically conscious.”
--Billy Thinnes, Where Y’At. New Orleans, LA; March 2005

“What ties all of this music together is that it totally encourages dancing and it’s damn fun.”
--Geraldine Wyckoff, Offbeat. New Orleans, LA; October 2004 (Review for Nudivinity)

“If the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Sublime met in Tijuana for drinks, the result might be Saaraba; a five-piece group that at times has a big band sound but can play anything from old school funk and serious blues to Latin beats and reggae. From the first listen of Saaraba’s self titled debut CD, you can’t help but like them.”
--Ryan Clark, The Clarion Ledger. Jackson, MS; 6-24-04

“While there’s plenty of reggae, rocksteady and ska going on, that’s not all this highly amusing and talented group of guys are up to.”
--Geraldine Wyckoff, Offbeat. New Orleans, LA; January 2004 (Review for Saaraba)
- various


Nudivinity (Damngood! Records 2004)
Saaraba (Damngood! Records 2003)




Saaraba has regrouped after an extended Hurricane Katrina hiatus and guess what: Now we have a story!! A lot of people say that you have to have a story if you want to interest people. For those of you that want to read our story, I'm gonna give it to ya and I think it's finally pretty good. For those that don't skip down to read a list of our accomplishments below.
All right here goes...
In the fall of 2002 Danny Marks and Boyana Trayanova moved into an apartment above a vacant grocery store in a historic New Orleans building. This set up a string of legendary parties, the fruits of which became the band Saaraba. Saaraba is a Wolof (Senegal, West Africa) word meaning utopia. It came from an independent Senegalese film of the same title found at the library. It's a cool word but hard to spell and remember--oh well. Anway, Saaraba played around New Orleans a lot for the next couple years, went through two bass players and released a debut eponymous album. By fall of 2003 Josh Riley joined the band and cemented the lineup. Between 2003 and Hurricane Katrina 2005, the band became a New Orleans mainstay. The band spread to the entire southeast region and ultimately all the way to the west coast. During this time Saaraba visited over 50 cities around the country and had some great times. In 2005 the band was selected for both of the prominent New Orleans music publications' awards in the reggae/world category and performed at the world famous New Orleans Jazz Fest. Things were going pretty well. Then, Josh Riley's family grew by one baby forcing him to retire from the band. Shortly after, as the band had just left for an ambitious two month tour, with new bass player Ari Leo when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. This sent the emotions of band members in many different directions. We continued the tour and extended it to include several Red Cross benefits. After the tour the band took a much needed break. In the spring of 2006 Jon Gross took over bass duties with his tuba but the tour was wrought with misfortunes. Many near misses on icy mountain roads and other unfortunate coincidences put the nail in the coffin of the band's pre-hurricane momentum. Danny Marks (me), the band founder left New Orleans for a bit. Band members also pursued other musical projects at this time but nothing came close to Saaraba. The band continued to play intermittently at Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and Halloween events but 2007 saw very little Saaraba activity. Now after a year in New York realizing that making music is way better in New Orleans, Danny is back in New Orleans and Saaraba are working on a new album. Some new faces have joined the group but the music is better than ever. Saaraba is looking to finally pick up on the adventurous musical spirit it had begun to forge when acts of god and man stepped in the way. Anyway,, that's our story. Of course I left out all the most interesting bits that really make the memories but for anyone who has been down the road with a band they know about those things themselves. Anyway...WE'RE BACK AND THIS IS A TAKEOVER!!!


Cities Played: New Orleans, LA; Lafayette, LA; Port Allen, LA; Lake Charles, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; Pensacola, FL; Destin, FL; Jackson, MS; Ocean Springs, MS; Houston, TX; Little Rock, AR; Lawrence, KS; Memphis, TN; Durango, CO; Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; Grand Junction, CO; Crested Butte, CO; Telluride, CO; Colorado Springs, CO; Ft. Collins, CO; Snowmass, CO; Vail, CO; Gunnison, CO; Keystone, CO; Lander, WY; Alta, WY; Ketchum, ID; Sand Point, ID; Boise, ID; Moscow, ID; Victor, ID; Seattle, WA; Clarkston, WA; Spokane, WA; Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; Ashland, OR; Los Angeles, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Colton, CA; Petaluma, CA; Redlands, CA; Upland, CA; Fontana, CA; Davis, CA; Mesa, AR; Missoula, MT; Bozeman, MT; Great Falls, MT; Helena, MT; Chicago, IL; Champaign, IL; Decatur IL; Carbondale, IL; Madison, WI; St. Louis, MS

2005 Big Easy Award– Best Reggae/World in New Orleans
2005 Best of the Beat Award—Best Emerging Latin/World in New Orleans

Special Events:
2008 Apocalypse Ball-- New Orleans, La
2007 Apocalypse Ball New Orleans, LA
2006- Krewe Du Brew Festival New Orleans, LA
2006 French Quarter Festival—New Orleans, LA
2005 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival—New Orleans, LA
2005 French Quarter Festival—New Orleans, LA
2005 Eugene Celebration Festival—Eugene, OR
2005 Hurricane Katrina Benefit—Boise, ID
2005 Hurricane Katrina Benefit—Great Falls, MT
2005 Hurricane Katrina Benefit—Bozeman, MT
2005 Mennonite Disaster Relief Benefit--Upland, CA
2005 University of Redlands--Redlands, CA
2005 Rockin’ October Fest—Petaluma, CA
2004 Loyola University Hurricane Festival—New Orleans, LA
2003, 2004, 2005 Apocalypse Ball (Mardi Gras Benefit for the Louisiana Himalaya association--NOLA

Press Quotes (for Saaraba)

“New Orleans’s own ska/funk hybrid Saaraba is one