In the opening of her highly anticipated Coachella act, Beyonce tipped her hat to New Orleans’ own Rebirth Brass Band on Saturday night (April 14), kicking off a performance inspired by historically black colleges and culture that was quickly dubbed “Beychella.”
The show was chock-full of drum lines, step routines and dance-team-style choreography, and the 36-year-old singer played most of the show backed by a marching band made up of HBCU alumni, according to Jon Caramanica’s review of the performance for The New York Times.
“The choice instantly reoriented her music, sidelining its connections to pop and framing it squarely in a lineage of Southern black musical traditions from New Orleans second line marches to Houston’s chopped-and-screwed hip-hop,” Caramanica wrote.
And it all started with a sound every New Orleanian likely recognizes in their sleep: Rebirth Brass Band’s “Do Whatcha Wanna.”
The band’s manager, Howie Kaplan, said Rebirth did not know she would be using their song, but was not surprised by the news.
“She must know good music,” said Keith Frazier, one of the band’s founding members.
Kaplan said Beyonce has sampled the track before, and Rebirth only has positive feelings about her use of it.
“There’s a reason she used our music,” Kaplan said.
According to Kaplan, both Beyonce and her sister Solange, who has lived in New Orleans for about four years, have come to more than one Tuesday night show at the Maple Leaf. He said although the band did not know in advance the singer would be using their song, he is confident they will receive proper compensation.
The Coachella performance marked Beyonce’s first live show in over a year. She was slated to headline the California festival last year, but had to cancel after her doctor recommended she limit activity during the end of her pregnancy with twins Rumi and Sir Carter.
Beyonce will take the stage again next week as headliner for the festival’s second weekend.