That sound Hoosier. Whatever form it takes, it has become a fixture in the music world.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s a fusion of classic genres that have come together to create unique sounds. Indiana-based bands known as the “Forgotten Tribe” and “Huckleberry Funk” use these sounds to blaze their own paths on the music scene. “We’re more of a counterculture to help inspire those out of that box,” Forgotten Tribe bassist Khaleel said, “General Spazz,” Harrison said.
“[We are] go through ‘Forgotten Tribe’ for anyone who feels forgotten in the world,” Forgotten Tribe lead singer Khiry “Managan” Hollowell said.
Both bands use their diverse cultural and musical backgrounds to create their art and aim to share it with others. “We’re able to bring people with different styles of music together in one place, and magic can happen there,” said Forgotten Tribe guitarist Angel “Ocho” Ochoa.
Brothers Khaleel and Khiry founded the band, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they joined guitarist angel, Omar Aguilera and drummer, Ray Sarmiento. Both groups decided they were stronger together.
“It shocked me because it was so good,” laughed Ray. “We always enjoy each other’s company and each other’s vibe.”
Omar is the most versatile of the group, playing more than five instruments, including conga, accordion and melodica.
He believes his role in the band is to help “keep everyone together” and with his sweet demeanor and talent, it’s not hard to see how he makes their dynamic flow on and off stage.
The band chose the historic Melody Inn as their meeting place and backdrop for their story. Khiry explains why. “When others may not be looking at you right now because we’re just getting started, Melody Inn gave us an opportunity,” he said.
Forgotten Tribe hopes to continue building their African American and Latino fusion sound and become popular enough to “have a life making music”.
During their interview, Huckleberry Funk, another group of five men jumped into the conversation. A group from which they are inspired, they call them their “big brothers” in music.
“I wouldn’t call us a trailblazer because the talent is there,” said lead singer Dexter Clardy. “I feel like we’re in this new phase of pioneers helping to try and push the sound of Indy.” Their band refers to their style as funky soul and gritty R&B. “We all like to describe funk more as an attitude than a genre,” Clardy added. “We’re all very different individuals, but we make sense on stage and we want people in the audience to come in and feel like you are.”
When asked where they wanted to meet, they unhesitatingly chose “the Hi-Fi Annex”, a popular concert venue in Indianapolis.
“It is the place [where] it was very obvious. [We] made our video release here, and performed one of our most popular songs to this point here for the first time. Only the scene itself is changing because people are realizing how much talent exists here. We’re just proud to be part of it.
They also commented on what they believe is a growing music community in Indiana, as well as a new sense of competition to stay top of the list when people want to be entertained by a live band. “The more bands that do this and fight for a spot, one night, it makes everyone better,” said saxophonist, producer and keyboardist Alex Dura.
“A lot more artists are starting to lean on each other and this camaraderie of just ‘I’m doing something completely different from you, but I’m supporting what you’re doing,'” Clardy said.
Although the members of Huckleberry Funk plan to perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden one day, both bands dream of touring and playing their music around the world.