Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Africa is Alive and Well in New Orleans

The African thread that's been woven through the complex tapestry of New Orleans culture is strong and unbroken and can be seen whenever more than Mardi Gras Indian shows up at the same place at the same time. I frequently see drum and chant sessions erupt during stops at the second line while everyone else rests, and once they start, it's hard to stop them. The more gathered, the more powerful the energy, the louder and stronger the heartbeat of Africa pulses through the city of New Orleans.

This video was shot in a backstage tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 25, 2010. It features members of the Golden Star Hunters and Carrollton Hunters and possibly the Golden Eagles. Soon members of the Young Men Olympians Social Aid and Pleasure Club and virtually everyone else in the vicinity joined in. I cannot describe what it felt like to be in the middle of all this, but I think this video will take you as close as you can get without having been there. It was like an indian practice explosion. The volume sensitivity on my microphone was at the lowest setting possible so you can imagine what it sounded and felt like in that tent during its peak. This was an amazing moment that I feel honored to have been a part of and am happy to share it.


Blogger K. said...

Wow! This is amazing! It's so immediate and intimate that watching makes me feel like an interloper.

BTW, have you read Josh Marshall's Yellow Jack? It's set in NOLA during the Yellow Fever epidemic of the 1840s. The protagonist is based on an actual historical figure -- the first portrait photographer in the United States. I bet you'd like it.

For nonfiction, don't miss Ned Sublette's The World That Made New Orleans and The Year Before the Flood. Read them in that order.

1:33 AM  

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