Neo soul, jazz, hip-hop, R&B—you can call Tribe Mars all of these things. But above all, they are a group of musicians who thrive in the live setting, not only because of the high level of musicianship that exists across the board in the band, but because of their commitment to building community—and not just with each other but also with the people who come to see them perform.
It is a powerful, inexplicable feeling when you see a band perform for the first time and they immediately grab your full attention and suck you into the vibes reverberating on the stage. That’s what Tribe Mars accomplish every time they perform. You do not leave a Tribe Mars show empty hearted; they leave you feeling full, full of this feeling that you want to share with all of your friends.
There are so many things about their music that keep you engaged, whether it is the soulful vocals, the witty and cerebral rhymes, the locked in grooves of the rhythm section, the transcendent work on the keys and tasty guitar licks, or the elements of interpretative dance. It all comes together, becoming clear to you as an audience member—what is already clear to the members of Tribe Mars—that no member is bigger than the Tribe.
The Tribe features singer Vaughn Kimmons, Aaron Brennan on bass, Robert Grubaugh on drums, Brett Van Patten on guitar and vocals, Shawn Dungee on trumpet and vocals, Andre Burgos on keys, and the group’s emcee Santigie Fofana-Dura.
The community and relationships they have built within the band allows for a vulnerability in their creative process, which allows all of the members to explore new ideas. It also allows the other players to challenge those ideas to maintain the big picture, which is to always serve the song. Solos are not taken just for the sake of taking solos; bars are not spit just for the sake of having an emcee on every track. Sometimes it’s about letting certain instrumental moments breathe, and Tribe Mars seem to understand how to deliver the necessary space for each piece to fit together correctly. Nothing is forced. It feels authentic and it feels powerful. It feels like it moves through you!