This is a continuation of the previous two posts:
Photos with Noe Cugny
Noe Cugny and I arranged a photoshoot in the Marigny and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this session. Noe scouted some cool locations and had a good eye for how to capture the vibe of the city without producing photos that are too cliche.
Each and every Sunday, a different ‘social and pleasure club’ of New Orleans organizes a Second Line Parade.
-A tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit as well as the brass band. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the “second line”. The second line’s style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called “second lining”. It has been called “the quintessential New Orleans art form – a jazz funeral without a body”
The only way to really understand what these are about is to go ATTEND one. Here’s the schedule: https://www.wwoz.org/programs/inthestreet
A few photos:
Busking in NOLA
Busking seems to be a rite of passage for musicians who move to New Orleans and want to break into playing the clubs. Since I sorta skipped that step on my last two trips to town (thanks in part to the generosity of John Saavedra), I decided to try my hand at it this week. Playing in the streets gives you a form of direct contact with the public. In some ways, it’s a great measure of how much your music appeals to normal folks (i.e. the people who happen to be walking down the street that day). Unlike ticketed concerts, the audience votes for how much they like the music with their feet (how long they stay to listen) and wallets (if / how much $ they decide to put in the hat).
I have heard some ‘elitist’ musicians in the world talk about how they would never play music in the streets and that their music is too serious to be showcased on a mere street corner. I’m very happy for them and respect their decision to not play in the street. But I think it’s a great way to share music with the public, learn new tunes in a casual environment and put music out in an accessible and open way. Reminds me a bit of the experiment where they had Joshua Bell busking in a subway station and hardly anybody noticed.
A Musician’s ‘Place in society’ in New Orleans
In New Orleans, musicians occupy an important place in society. Music is so interwoven into the cultural fabric of New Orleans that it’s impossible for me to imagine this city without music in it. There are hundreds of customs, holidays, rituals etc that all involve music in a deep way.
Carrying an instrument case around is almost like a badge of honour – I feel like people here treat me better when they learn that I’m a musician. I also don’t need to explain what it means to be a musician to anybody in NOLA because they seem to just ‘get it’.
Last week, a repair person came to fix a leak in the roof of the house I’m staying in. He came to fix the leak at around 11am so when I answered the door all sleepy like, he noticed the instruments in the house and said to me and Andrew Willens (my bass playing house mate): “Thanks for waking up early! I know y’all are musicians and probably stay up late performing!”.
A few more photos…
Thanks to The Canada Council for the Arts for helping support the album that will come as a result of the inspiration I derive from this trip.