Brooklyn Funk Band Turkuaz Plays Covington Ahead of Talking Heads Tribute Dates with Jerry Harrison, Adrian Belew

Before joining Harrison and Belew for shows celebrating the 40th-anniversary of 'Remain in Light,' the ensemble performs Friday, Jan. 24 at the Madison Theater with special guest Neal Francis

click to enlarge Turkuaz - Dani Brandwein
Dani Brandwein
In the diverse and danceable world of Funk, Brooklyn-based Turkuaz is the full monty, drawing on tried-and-true genre giants like Parliament-Funkadelic, while folding in potent elements of AfroBeat, Disco, New Wave, Gospel and Classic Rock, plus Pop music of every discernible sub-stripe.

Now in their 12th year, the horn-drenched, nine-piece outfit generates enough live power to serve as a back-up generator in the event of an East Coast blackout. They have no trouble translating that power in the studio, particularly on their all-too-brief 2019 EP Kuadrochrome, a four-track teaser of soulful, ass-shaking dynamite that follows the band's exquisite 2017 single, “On the Run,” produced by former Talking Heads guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison.

Formed in 2008 by guitarist/vocalist Dave Brandwein and several fellow students at Boston's Berklee College of Music (including vocalist Sammi Garett, who splits her time between Turkuaz and singing with Cincinnati’s own Funk giant, Freekbass), Turkuaz spent the first three years honing their live sound and building a fan base on the Jam band and festival circuit. The band's studio debut, 2011's Zerbert, was an incredible introduction but their 2012 sophomore album, Live at Southpaw, was the clearest proof of their volcanic stage presence. The following year, Turkuaz dropped their self-titled third album, the mind-blowing Covers Vol. 1 (featuring covers of songs by Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin and The Box Tops by way of Joe Cocker) and A Live Affair, their second live set, all in the space of three months.

After an EP and another studio set, Turkuaz released 2015's Digitonium, an expansion of their basic Funk foundation that became a viral sonic curiosity when fans somehow discovered that the album was in sync with Disney's animated classic, The Sword in the Stone. You can almost hear the bubbling of bongwater.

Perhaps the biggest news of late in the Turkuaz universe is the fact that Jerry Harrison has tapped the group to be his Talking Heads when he presents the entirety of Remain in Light this summer to celebrate the album's 40th anniversary; Northern Kentucky native Adrian Belew — who played guitar on Remain in Light and its subsequent tour — will also be performing on those festival shows with the ensemble.

Interesting trivia note: “Turkuaz” is the Turkish word for turquoise, but Brandwein named the band after a Turkish market where they bought cigarettes and soda while they were recording their first demos. Cue the bongwater.

Turkuaz plays Friday, Jan. 24 at Covington's Madison Theater. Soul artist Neal Francis — whose great album Changes was released last year on Loveland, Ohio's Colemine Records — opens the show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets/more info:

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