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Funkamungus at Alex's

They're funky, they're new and they're making their debut this weekend at Alex's in Ashland. "There are many really good bands around here, especially of late, and many of them play funk, but they also play rock and reggae as well," say Chris Keefe, lead vocalist for Funkamungus.

Funk music dates back to the late '60s when bass lines in music were adapted to be more melodic and more of a focus of the songs. The "slap bass" technique is used by modern funk musicians such as British band Jamiroquai and bassist Les Claypool.

"Funkamungus was put together by using Craigslist to seek out musicians interested in playing some funk tunes," Keefe says.

Vocalist Marria Mitchell rounds out the lead vocals with Keefe, with Olivia Doty singing backup.

John DiFruscia brings the important element of bass to the group, and the horn section includes Sean Kent on tenor saxophone and Sedi Waroff on the trombone.

The rhythm section includes Matt Terreri on drums and Peter Gross on rhythm guitar, and Ray Mikota on keys brings Funkamungus' sound together.

The Ashland-based group will present off-beat covers while it works on a set list of original pieces. The band members' long range plans include at least two shows a month at local venues, and they would like to perform around the region.

"Having a good time is what it's all about," Keefe says. "It's like there's a party on stage and the audience is invited."

Check out myspace.com/funkamungus for music samples. There's a version of "I Like It" by the Brand New Heavies, sung by Mitchell; Funkamungus' horn section struts its stuff in James Brown's "It's Too Funky in Here;" and Mikota presents a strong keyboard solo for an introduction to Jamiroquai's "Cosmic Girl."

Funkamungus will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at Alex's, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. Cover for the show is $3. Call 482-8818.

Funkamungus - Photo courtesy of Chris Keefe