Ever since I started living and working in Harrisburg, I’ve met a lot of people who have helped to expand my musical tastes. Recently, I was introduced to the smooth, seductive vocals of Al Green, and it’s bringing out the soul in me. Fortunately, Harrisburg venues, coinciding with Black History Month, have booked some bands rooted in African culture and sounds. So, get ready to get soulful with a plethora of blues, funk, reggae and classical African music.
THE PLIMSOULS RE-SOULED, 2/4, 9PM, H*MAC STAGE ON HERR, $10
If it weren’t already implied by the name, these guys are going to bring the soul. The Plimsouls Re-Souled was formed out of former Plimsouls guitarist Eddie Munoz and features retellings of classic Plimsouls songs. Back in the late ‘70s, as rock and roll was evolving into that iconic ‘80s rock, the Plimsouls formed as a garage soul-punk band. The Plimsouls Re-Souled, the current revamp of the band, blends together rock n’ roll with bluesy soul that brings you back down South. Set to open the show are The GTVs, a garage soul band from Philadelphia.
NEW YORK FUNK EXCHANGE, 2/10, 9PM, ABBEY BAR, $7
Time for things to get a little funky. New York Funk Exchange is a saucy fusion of old school funk, soul and R&B. Adapted from the classic funk style, their sound is lively and energetic, featuring the big band sound of the Wall Street Horns and rich, soulful vocals of Serena Fortier. This nine-piece band formed in 2007 in Brooklyn and has since built a reputation following their 2009 debut album, “The Funkonomic Stimulus Plan.” Currently on tour, New York Funk Exchange is hyping up the release of their next album, expected to drop this winter.
SIERRA LEONE’S REFUGEE ALL STARS, 2/16, 7:30PM, ROSE LEHRMAN ARTS CENTER, $25
If you’re searching for classical African music, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars has what you’re looking for. As the name implies, the band members are largely refugees from the Sierra Leone civil war. While in a refugee camp, Ruben Koroma and his wife, Grace, joined up with fellow musicians and friends such as guitarist Francis John Langba and bassist Idrissa Bangura. The group made music together while in the camp and continued to play after the war came to an end in 2002, expanding with new members at their hub in Freetown. They’re now celebrating a 10-year career of spreading messages of positivity and hope through their classic reggae and Afrobeat style.
Mentionables: GL8TM, Feb. 11, The Blue Moose Bar & Grille; The NRA Country Concert, Feb. 11, PA Farm Show Complex; Soul Solution, Feb. 18, River City Blues Club; Generations, Feb. 25, Ted’s Bar & Grill; The Chris Paterno Band, Feb. 25, H*MAC; Millennium Music Conference, Feb. 23-25, various locations
2/4 – THE PLIMSOULS RE-SOULED
H*MAC STAGE ON HERR
1110 N. 3RD ST., HARRISBURG
STARTS AT 9PM
2/10 – NEW YORK FUNK EXCHANGE
50 N. CAMERON ST., HARRISBURG
STARTS AT 9PM
2/16 – SIERRA LEONE’S REFUGEE ALL STARS
ROSE LEHRMAN ARTS CENTER
HACC MAIN CAMPUS, HARRISBURG
STARTS AT 7:30PM
2/18 – SOUL SOLUTION
RIVER CITY BLUES CLUB
819 S. CAMERON ST., HARRISBURG
STARTS AT 9PM
2/23-2/25 – MILLENNIUM MUSIC CONFERENCE
VARIOUS LOCATIONS AND TIMES