The Durham-based Bulltown Strutters bring the party and shift it into high gear with their raucous mix of old-school New Orleans classics and new-school New Orleans funk, powered by a massive horn section and an extra dose of Durham craziness. A street band? You got it. A stage show? Sure.
Parading inspired by the finest in New Orleans Second Line traditions? Absolutely!
Over the years, this community band has built up a loyal following of fans who don their feather boas, wacky hats and sequins (or maybe just jeans and t-shirt) and come out to dance, get happy, make a toast and maybe make themselves hoarse singing those old tunes that you didn’t even know you knew all the words to.
The first glimmer of the Bulltown Strutters was from the June 2010 Beaver Queen Pageant, when Blaise was asked to gather a group of musicians to play a mock funeral for the loss of lives in the Gulf Oil Spill in April of that year. About 12 musicians did a procession to the “coffin”, playing “Amazing Grace.” After gathering at the blue tarp-covered coffin for a brief honoring of the dead, we played the upbeat “Saints Go Marching In” up onto the stage, as the audience joined us in the celebration of live. Many of the original musicians came from that group.
Bulltown Strutters, as it is today, was born in September of 2010 when Mark Donelly of the Hillsborough Arts Council asked Music Explorium’s Cathy Kielar if she could get a percussion band together for the Oct 2010 Hillsborough Handmade Parade. Cathy responded with “I think I can do better than that” and enlisted Blaise Kielar, her clarinet-playing husband. Blaise reached out to his horn-playing friends, Katherine O’Brien broadcast the call for musicians to the Beaver Queen Pageant participants, Cathy invited folks through the Music Explorium enewsletter and Strutters-To-Be came out to PLAY! Meeting over Durham-local beers at Broad Street Cafe, we named ourselves, selected tunes, gathered colorful costumes and started to JAM! The gigs are flowing in – our community is ripe for butt-shaking, smile-making, boogie-raising music.