I want to introduce you to a beautiful, colorful sister named Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball.
She is the lead singer of musical group Tank And The Bangas, an ensemble that threatens to flip the world on its head with their free-spirited funk, jazzy RnB and soul music, intricately fused with the power of spoken word poetry.
The group members are all perfectly seasoned musicians that use voluptuous vocals, beauteous bass, side-splitting saxophone, and dominant yet delicate drums to their advantage, ensuring that no performance is ever the same.
Twelve million people around the world have since fallen in love with Tank And The Bangas after watching their Tiny Desk Concert in 2017. The energy and excitement from Tank’s smile are infectious, as she expresses her disbelief that her band won the NPR Tiny Desk Concert of 2017.
“I can’t believe I just won Tiny Desk. Oh my God, I did it with big hair and a tiny desk. I won Tiny Desk“. The mass of the message from the music that permeates from the tiny desk is transcendental, addressing issues about needing to make money quickly and being a selfless lover.
Tank And The Bangas are based in New Orleans, Louisiana, wearing their identity on their sleeves and reinforcing it in their collaborations with artists from the same city.
After releasing their second studio album Green Balloon in 2019, the group collaborated with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to present the Orpheum Session Volume 8 in support of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
This heartwarming philanthropic effort unveiled their faithfulness to the power of music and the necessity to preserve it by all means necessary.
American rapper and Queen of Bounce Big Freedia is another New Orleans native that aligns naturally with Tank & the Bangas and their efforts to promote the musical culture of their city.
Their single “Big” features Big Freedia and her explosive presence represent the finest that New Orleans and bounce music offers with enough booty-shaking to make your brain quake.
The group’s collaboration with big names like Robert Glasper, Alex Isley and PJ Morton is not their most extraordinary claim to fame. Seeing and hearing them perform live makes it difficult for your life to stay the same.
In April 2019, the group had their TV debut on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, performing the single “Nice Things” from their Green Balloon album.
They start their performance with a dreamy synth as Tank charms the audience with a piece of spoken word that unintentionally has you snapping your fingers.
“This boy be in my DM at 2 am telling me I look real beautiful today. Told me what he could not say in the daytime. Like showing a black girl love can only be in the nighttime“.
Her face transforms from disgusted to liberated as she starts singing about acquiring nice things from the love interest who seems to be dragging their feet in the romance department.
On The Today Show in 2020, the group performed the song “Ants” from their Green Balloon album, single-handedly breathing life into an otherwise sleep-inducing morning show. The outfits are coordinated and colorful, and Tank’s poetic rant about being a misunderstood dark-skinned beauty is a digestible mouthful.
It is refreshing to witness a performance where the performers look like they are having the time of their lives, and that refreshment is revived every time I watch a performance by Tank and the Bangas.
Their energy is not just in their musical talents, but it is in their chemistry and how that enhances the viewing experience. One can tell that they do not do it for the hype but to be on the right side of music history.
The latest single, “No ID”, is an ode to old-school groove music to which lovers of music can bob their heads and shake their shoulders. Tank And The Bangas do not compromise on a visual performance’s power on the mind and the heart.
From riveting live performances to the captivating cinema of their music videos, no performance is ever the same, and I believe that at least one will stick to your brain.
They are featured on Spotify’s Nu-Funk playlist and are gearing up for a big year with the release of the third studio album Red Balloon on May 13. I invite you on the crazy rollercoaster that is Tank & The Bangas of sound, and rhythm, and love, of light, expression, and things that make you feel whole.
Words by Nonjabulo Malinga