Funky Fraternity

Nothing suggests the spirit of New Orleans like crawdads, Cajun cooking, the mayhem of Mardi Gras, and of course, the Neville Brothers Band. With the release of their 16th album, 2004's Walkin' in the Shadow of Life, the soulful siblings -- Art, Charles, Aaron, Cyril, and Ivan -- mark their 28th year as a brotherly enterprise. In truth, their musical dynasty can be traced back much further; older brother Art, for example, helped etch the band's imprint in 1954, when, as leader of the Hawketts, he scored a local hit with "Mardi Gras Mambo," later adopted as the festivities' unofficial anthem. Aaron took the Neville name to national prominence in 1966 when he topped the charts with "Tell It Like It Is," which is still among the best-known numbers in their collective repertoire. While Aaron's solo career often rivals that of the band as a whole, the Nevilles' blend of Cajun, funk, rock, reggae, and R&B makes their collective effort a unique Creole concoction.

The Neville Brothers perform with the Fabulous Thunderbirds as part of the First Annual Palm Beach Cajun Blues Crawfish Festival, which takes place from 3 to 11 p.m., Saturday, April 2, at Meyer Amphitheatre, 105 Evernia St., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $17 in advance or $20 at the gate. Call 561-799-7966, or visit

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