On Saturday, September 30, 2023, New Orleans-based group Tank and the Bangas collaborated with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra at the Auditorium Theatre at 50 E—Ida B. Wells Drive in Chicago, Illinois.
For those unfamiliar with Tank and the Bangas like me, they are the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest winners and 2020 Grammy Awards’ new best artist nominees. Established in 2011, the group hails from New Orleans, Louisiana; the genre is an eclectic blend of Soul, funk, Jazz, Hip-hop, and Rock over poetic and soulful vocal arrangements.
The Chicago Philharmonic Society is known for collaborating with over 200 of the highest-level classical musicians in the Midwest. The orchestra, known as the Chicago Philharmonic, is one of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras, and their unique chamber music ensembles perform as Chicago Phil Chamber.
For one night only, the two joined forces and rendered a dynamic performance. The show opened with a musical number by the Chicago Philharmonic under the leadership of Jacomo Bairos. As lead singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball made her way across the stage wearing a beautiful yellow gown and her hair elegantly placed in a bun, you could see how the presence of the almost packed room overwhelmed her. As the crowd thunderously clapped and cheered, she stood like a queen, ready to address her subjects. I had never heard of the critically acclaimed group Tank and the Bangas, but I knew what was in store after the first few bars. I was impressed by her rich vocals and earthy vibrato. I loved how the orchestra blended with the melodic overtures. The songs I connected with the most were “Why Try” and “Stolen Fruit”.
For me, the Philharmonic and Tank and the Bangas complemented one another, and the crowd’s reaction proved that two musical genres can fuse to elevate a song. It was one of the best musical performances I have attended in 2023.
Photo Credit: Todd Rosenberg