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Local Listens: Mambo Sauce

Welcome to Local Listens, where we profile some of our favorite Washington musicians. This week, we shine the spotlight on Mambo Sauce.

Image courtesy of Mambo Sauce.

No one really knows what’s in the mysterious red sauce served with chicken wings and fries at local Chinese restaurants that goes by the name of mambo sauce. Luckily, the recipe for the band with the same name isn’t a secret. Mambo Sauce is two parts female (Joy Carter and Patricia “Twink” Little), five parts male (Alfred “Black Boo” Duncan, Jermaine “Pep” Cole, Drew White, Chris Wright, and Khari Pratt) with a hint of go-go, rap, and alternative music all mixed in.

Just as Mambo Sauce (the condiment and the band) is unique to DC, so is go-go music. The genre can be traced back to Chuck Brown. In the ’70s, it began as a spin-off of funk music, which is, according to Twink, “driven by heavy percussion and intense crowd participation” known as call and response. Black Boo couldn’t have described it better: “Go-go is to DC what hip-hop is to New York. It’s not just music, it’s a culture.”

The band has been around nearly five years. Most of the members already knew on another before the group’s inception, and some played in other groups together. Many people have probably heard Mambo Sauce and don’t even known it, as its song “Welcome to DC” is used as the official intro song for all Washington Wizards home games. While Mambo Sauce is well known locally, go-go music hasn’t made much of a mark outside of the District, so the band’s goal is to take it to a bigger stage.

The next step? Release an album. Black Boo says that the band’s album, The Recipe, will debut within six months. But until then, experience Mambo Sauce as go-go music was meant to be heard—at a live performance. The band plays at Left Bank on Saturday, February 7, and at Jammin’ Java on Saturday, February 14.

Read our Q&A with Mambo Sauce after the jump.

Name: Mambo Sauce.

Age: The group is nearly 5 years old.

Hometown: DC.

First song that made you want to play music:
Black Boo: “ ‘Cool it Now’ by New Edition.”

First instrument:
Chris: “First and only instrument: keys.”

Local spot to seek inspiration or write music:
Black Boo: “Mambo Sauce rehearsal.”

Best local venue:
Joy: “Fly.”

Best bar to hear music:
Khari: “Any place Mambo Sauce is playing.”

Favorite local band other than yours:
Pep: “Backyard.”

Best thing about Washington’s music scene:
Twink: “The level of talent. Washington has a lot of talented musicians, producers, singers, rappers, dancers—you name it. Fortunately for Mambo Sauce, we were able to get the best of the best!”

Worst thing about Washington’s music scene:
Black Boo: “The lack of support and the crab-in-a-barrel syndrome.

Craziest tour/show memory:
Chris: “We were supposed to play at some college (can’t remember the name) for some fraternity (can’t remember that name, either). Well, this particular fraternity had a thing with plungers. For some reason they liked to throw plungers, and me being the unlucky one, I got hit. In the eye. It’s the most random thing I’ve ever seen happen or had happen to me.”

Finish this sentence: “When not making music, you can find me . . .”
Black Boo: “. . . handling business pertaining to Mambo Sauce.”

Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
Joy: “Beatles.”

Digital download or hard copy?
Khari: “Depends on the artist. I have to buy certain artists’ CDs.”

Rolling Stone or Spin?

Twink: “Rolling Stone.”

Club show or festival?
Twink: “Both! Clubs are more of an intimate setting, allowing you to connect and interact with the crowd on a more intimate level. But festivals draw huge crowds, allowing you to expose your music to a larger audience. When it all comes down to it, I just love to play music, so I don’t care where I’m playing.”

What groups influence Mambo Sauce’s music?
Black Boo: “We all came from different musical backgrounds, so there’s too many musical influences to name, but for me, I was influenced by Jay-Z, Eminem, Biggie, Nas, and Pep. Pep’s my hero.”

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Joy: “Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall.”

What’s the best thing about being in a go-go band?
Pep: “The energy and the reaction from the crowd.”

Do you have day jobs or are you all full-time musicians?
Twink: “We are all full-time musicians at heart. Unfortunately, we all can’t afford to be full-time musicians, so most of us work. Chris and Drew are full-time musicians, though.”

What’s the best part of a Mambo Sauce show?
Chris: “Well, I’ve been a part of every Mambo Sauce show, but I’ve never really seen one before. I think the best part of the show would be the energy of the band. I’ve been told by a few people that the girls in the band are one of their favorite things about our show.”
Joy: “The energy and intensity.”
Twink: “We have five colors, shapes, sizes, and personalities of sexy, talented men in our band. So in my opinion, the best part of our show is seeing these five men onstage performing. It’s definitely a good look!”
Pep: “The diversity of the music.”
Khari: “My favorite part of our show is this dance in song we do called ‘C’Mon’ that includes crowd participation. You have to be there to understand.”
Black Boo: “The appreciation of the crowd.”

Previous Local Listens:
Justin Trawick 
The Dance Party 
David Kitchen 
The Hall Monitors

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