@skopemag Interview Featuring Jouwala Collective

1. First off, tell us a bit about yourselves. Who and what are the band we know as Jouwala Collective?

Jouwala Collective is a Richmond, Virginia based fusion ensemble. The group is a core unit of 5 talented musicians that at times expands into a 9-piece orchestra with a horns section. Ismail Bouzidoune on Gambri, Bass and vocals, Gabriel McFarland on guitar, Tommy Booker on keyboards, Kevin Johnson on Tablas and Percussions and Jon Chadwick on Drums. Jouwala shows have an amazingly unique collection of fans; all folks you can think of. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Gimbre is a traditional African 3 stringed instrument, with a mesmerizing inimitable tone, at times sounding like three intstruments at once. Used in Gnawa healing ceremonies. It’s a sound that you’ll have to experience live to understand.

2. What’s the story / meaning behind your band name?

Jouwala means Travels—playing out and touring is how we’ve created our sound.

3. Let’s hear about your album, Bazaar. It’s an incredible collection of songs, very eclectic and engaging. What’s the backstory behind this album and some of the themes you wanted the audience to draw from it?


We really developed our sound onstage over our years of live shows, and with the recording of Bazaar we set out to present our vision in an LP format; the thematic extended intros, our style of melding complex grooves and tempos, our signature transition journeys and the improvisations of featured soloists – it was an undertaking! We were fortunate to have worked with Grammy winning producer Neal Cappellino, who really helped capture our live sound in the studio. We learned so much, and the experience brought us into a tighter, more focused approach to our live shows. We are so grateful!

4. I understand you’re working on some new recordings right now. Anything you’re able to share with us about those songs and what we might expect?

We are super excited to introduce our fans to the new developments of our sound and style. We have taken our fusion concept even further with the introduction of our horn section. We have some truly talented soloists in this group and we really let them fly. We definitely have some surprises for both the old and new fans! The new album will continue our flagship sound, but we are sailing further, into even more exotic waters! Everyone is really pumped up about this next album.

5. I’m sure 2020 was a bit of down year for you as far as touring like it was for everyone else. But when can we expect to see Jouwala Collective back on stage? Any upcoming shows we should know about?

Absolutely! We have already returned to the stage and have some upcoming shows with more appearances throughout the rest of 2021. We headlining The Broadberry for the first time on October 1st. We supported many national and international groups as Turkuaz, Tauk, Pimps Of Joy Time.. we are looking forward to starting a new journey at one of our favorite venues and are so happy to be back bring the music to the people!

6. Any last words / anything you’d like to share with the readers?

Mostly just We are back! And grateful to be! ! We have all been through this last year together and we all have a lot left to do. Jouwala Collective is here get us all back together and bring the rock to the people! See you all out there!