the flog

Collectively Crucial

Lobo Marino plays four shows in NEFla


After almost a decade in business, Richmond folk duo Lobo Marino has recorded a bunch of music, and that music has taken them around the world a couple times over. Wherever they are, however, it's always about home. Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price harmonize and play a plethora of instruments including banjo, bass drum, table, guitar and Sullivan's handy harmonium, which along with Price's drum comprises the most consistent element of the Lobo Marino sound.

The duo's home state, Virginia, has sent a bunch of cool bands to perform in venues around Northeast Florida, going back to the days of Burro Bar and the original Underbelly. Of all those groups, Lobo Marino has probably played here the most, and they're not done yet. This week they're playing not one, not two, not three, but four shows in the region—all part of a ten day mini-tour that spans seven cities and nine gigs, all of which are free or by donation.

On May 1, they play St. Augustine's Sarbez with The Willowwacks, one of the region's most touted young tandems, and The Dewars, harmonizing twin-brother transplants from Brooklyn or South Florida (same diff). On May 2, they head to Murray Hill to play a set at Casita Yoga Studio. May 3, it's the Edge Rock Gym on Phillips Highway. Finally, on May 5, after a rare and well-deserved Saturday off, Lobo Marino plays the Seventh Wonder Holistic Spa in Avondale. They're set to hit Gainesville the following day, on their way out of Florida and into Georgio, South Carolina and Virginia.

Lobo Marino are nearly as prolific on tape as they are on tour. They've released about six albums, a couple of EPs and a slew of singles since forming in 2009. Among the highlights is Fields, an album of field recordings from the band's recent travels, and 2017's The Mulberry House. You could call their sound a fusion of sorts between indie-folk and Gamelan—the strain of droning, thumping world music that you might hear on PBS during aerial shots of mountain ranges with maybe a few frames of laughing children. It's very happy music, good for meditation, great for driving. Which makes sense, since it seems like this band is always on the road.

"Mystically political and whole heartily grassroots", Sullivan and Price have made it their traditional practice to play diverse and unusual venues over the past five-plus years, and that policy has made them familiar faces around here. They play bars, clubs, parks, yurts and yoga dens, house parties and hostels, geodesic domes and hydroponic farms, fire-pits and festival tents alike—and they always fit in.

Besides their busy performance schedule, Sullivan and Price are active in the political life of their fine state. Their signature issues: the environment and water conservation. They founded the Earth Folk Collective space in Richmond, as well as a "public orchard" called Fonticello Food Forest. Working diligently, with sharp minds and kind hearts, Lobo Marino has connected to a loyal and activist fan community, a collectively crucial swath of blue in a region that tends to skew red. And as the duo's profile increases, it will skew more green, as well. The South is rising again, and we're not just talking about sea levels here.

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