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Rondel Roberts ready to bring diverse sound to Marda Gras

The annual street festival takes place this weekend

The Rondel Roberts Band

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The Rondel Roberts Band

We’re days away from Marda Gras, Marda Loop’s annual street festival, and that also means the Rondel Roberts Band is days away from showing off what a diverse lineup can do.

The four members of the band each hail from different backgrounds and cultures, and Roberts said that makes for an electric mix on stage.

“It means a lot of variety,” he said. “We can make some sharp left turns during a show. When you’re coming from an outside culture, you’re maybe a little more open to new ideas and pushing that envelope – just open-mindedness and an exploratory eclectic-ness.”

They initially got together with a funk-soul sound, which has broadened thanks to Robert’s Caribbean roots, along with jazz, rock, pop and blues courtesy of the other members.

It’s the first band Roberts has been in, to share his music publicly. One lyric he wrote, “What do I got to do to have some of your love,” encapsulates this headspace as a musician right now.

“As a band and being a musician, we’re looking to make connections with people,” he explained. “It’s about authenticity, but being an artist is all about communicating. It’s a language. I’m always thinking about how I can get my story, our story, across.”

Roberts will close out the main stage at 4 p.m. on August 13.

The annual festival takes up several blocks of the Marda Loop community, and this year features four stages of performances, from music and dancing to the annual pet pageant. There are about 200 vendors, 50 of which are local community businesses.

The festival, which started off as a simple community craft sale, is the oldest street festival in Calgary. About 35,000 to 40,000 people attend annually – and the event is pet friendly too.

For a full schedule of events, check out http://www.mardagras.ca/.

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