Drawl | Southern Spoken Word Poetry
About This Show
Drawl is a weekly podcast about Southern poets by Southern poets. Follow along as we feature poetry performances, conversations with poets, and lots of laughs in between. Hosted by Desireé Dallagiacomo & Donney Rose also known as Donney Rose & Desireé Dallagiacomo. Come thru.
Most Recent Episode
"Going Out With A Bang(a)" (Tarriona "Tank" Ball)
Coming from New Orleans, Tank and the Bangas are surrounded by plenty of grand musical traditions. And the five-piece group has a rare knack for combining various musical styles—fiery soul, deft hip-hop, deep-groove R&B and subtle jazz—into one dazzling, cohesive whole that evokes the scope of New Orleans music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own.“It’s music that can’t really be put in a box,” says singer and poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball. She fronts the band with vivid charisma that helped Tank and the Bangas win NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Concert.Contest by unanimous acclaim, standing out among 6,000 entrants because of what Bob Boilen called “the depth of their lyricism and the versatility of their players.” Ball’s lyrical depth has been years in the making. She came up in the strong local slam poetry scene before meeting her bandmates: Merell Burkett on keyboards, Joshua Johnson on drums, Norman Spence on bass and synth keys and, eventually, Albert Allenback on alto sax and flute. “Growing up, I always could sing, but I wrote better than I sang, so I focused on writing,” she says. After her team won the National Poetry Slam Championship two years in a row, Ball turned her full attention to Tank and the Bangas.What started as a loose collaboration at an open-mic night in 2011 has grown into a mesmerizing musical force that’s only picking up speed. After a featured set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival early in the band’s career, the musicians built a reputation outside their hometown by grinding it out on the road, honing their live show and releasing the 2013 album Think Tank, all the while converting audiences into passionate fans and garnering critical acclaim, from the New Orleans Advocate to The New York Times. “It made us work hard,” Ball says of playing Jazz Fest. “It made us want to feel deserving of it.”Their hard work is paying off: The Huffington Post says Tank and the Bangas defy description onstage, adding, “It’s music that you have to experience.” The experience is subject to change from one night to the next. “One show will feel very electronic, or hip-hop, and another show will feel slow and vibe-y and jazzy, and then another show will just be poetry and off-the- cuff riffs,” says Johnson. “As a band, we don’t like to hear ourselves do the same thing for too long, so we might change a small thing here or there, and if we change enough