Grammy-nominated and New Orleans-originating band Tank and The Bangas recently premiered two new songs in anticipation of their upcoming album Red Balloon, set to release May 13th.
The tracks, entitled "Stolen Fruit" and "Black Folk," each came with accompanying music videos and were released as a celebratory punctuation mark to end Black History Month. Filmed in locations surrounding and within the New Orleans area, the videos mix evocative lyrics and imagery to create a loving expression of Black culture in America.
Frontwoman for the band and lead singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball remarked that "'Black Folk' is about my love for Black people—everything that they are, everything that they do…All the beautiful things about us and the things that we like to cover up." With features from neo-soul prodigies Alex Isley and Masego, the song and its accompanying visuals blend together personal expression and cultural nuance to craft a loving salute to the city of New Orleans and the Black community as a whole.
With regards to "Stolen Fruit," Ball explained that "there's 'Strange Fruit' and this is 'Stolen Fruit,' because not only were the fruit strange, but they were stolen. They weren't from here." The track touches on the legacy of slavery and the erasure of heritage to speak on rebirth, with a sunny refrain that reflects on a sweet escape.
Both tracks are representative of the direction taken in Red Balloon, which itself is a product of the band's abrupt stoppage in touring due to the pandemic. The hiatus has reportedly allowed for the group to evolve as artists and come together as a more unified whole. In light of this, Red Balloon promises a new direction for the band characterized by unique observation and social commentary, as well as a celebration of the beauty of Black life.
In addition to the release of the album later this spring, Tank and The Bangas will also be starting an extensive 2022 tour, which began on March 5. Accompanied by fellow New Orleans natives Big Freedia and Trombone Shorty, as well as Cory Henry, the tour is set to pass through NOLA April 30, just in time for Jazz Fest. Tickets and dates are available and will be updated on the band's website.