After a glorious weekend that had temperatures pushing 80 degrees, the forecast for Fat Tuesday was grim. Wet, cold, and rainy were the adjectives of the day. But this being New Orleans, and Carnival coming but once a year, local revelers rallied while thousands of tourists opted for the warmth of their hotel rooms and bars.
At 7 AM on Mardi Gras, the rain had not yet begun. But the sky to the west was as dark as dusk. The temperature was 36 degrees. It would not break 40 degrees all day, and the rain began to come intermittently and then steadily around 9 AM.
The Society of St. Anne pushed on through the Faubourg Marigny with many revelers trimming feathers and other easily sodden accouterments from their costumes. Others improvised with raincoats, ponchos, and the ubiquitous umbrellas.
The Gothic Americana band will celebrate the release of Blame It on the Weather at Le Bon Temp Roule. The six-song EP was recorded at famed Piety Street recording studios. It was engineered and mastered by colleagues of Piety Street producer Mark Bingham—Wesley Fontenot and Paul Marinara respectively.
The band was recently awarded a Threadhead Cultural Foundation grant. Michael Cain, the songwriter of the Parishioners, has a large extended family in New England, but in a strange quirk of fate he recently discovered that his maternal lineage is Acadian. He has distant cousins that live in the Cajun parishes.
Cain will use part of the grant funds to explore this part of his family history and to investigate his familial ties through several generations. New songs inspired by this quest will complete the full album release.
This is a real treat for fans of the Radiators as well as anyone interested in understanding the legacy of New Orleans piano.
Ed Volker, aka Zeke Fishhead, frequently performed back in the day under pseudonyms. Some of the bands that he appeared in while not playing with all of the members of the Radiators had whimsical names such as Bwana Dik and the Headhunters and Waldo and the Peppers.
On June 15, 1981, Volker played a solo piano and voice show at Tipitina’s under the moniker Annaconda Smith.
Gasa Gasa continues a run of presenting innovative artists who are not on the radar of the bigger clubs in town. Tonight, the British hang player graces the stage of the uptown club and intends to appear with some special guests.
Since many readers may not be familiar with this instrument (I wasn’t until I heard about Waples), it functions musically like the more recognized steel drum or pan. However, its distinctive UFO shape creates a different form of resonance.
The drum is usually played with the hands and fingers while the player is seated and the instrument is settled on his or her lap. Read More
Amid all the Carnival hoopla going down this weekend, don’t let this concert/street party/crawfish boil fly under your radar. Besides being a major bash, it will raise funds for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and celebrate the life and spirit of Jamie Galloway.
Galloway, pictured above, passed away unexpectedly last year at 41, and his musical friends are determined to keep his memory alive. He was the harmonica player in the seminal New Orleans noveau funk band Juice and a well-regarded chef around town.
The second annual “big ass party” takes place at the Maple Leaf Bar from 3- 10 PM on Sunday. The musical lineup is off the hook.
Expect to see George Porter Jr., Dave Jordan and the Neighborhood Improvement Association, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes with special guest guitarist Camile Baudoin, Chris Mule and the Perpetrators with Brint Anderson (doing Little Feat tunes), and Single Atom Theory.
I don’t know if the great soul singer remembers, but she played during Carnival at least once before. It was at the Muses Ball back in 2009 and she threw down. She returns to New Orleans for a show at the House of Blues on Saturday night.
Jones has faced some medical problems recently, but she bounced back with a strong new album, Give the People What They Want, which is getting rave reviews. I checked it out and loved it.
However, despite the ace production and great songs, her strengths are in performance. The band grooves and supports her regardless of the tune, and she brings the songs alive with passion and power.
It’s a fact of Carnival life—the ancient celebration continues to evolve as the latest generation gets into the act. Hitting the streets for the second time, this new all-female marching krewe will be appearing in four parades in 2014: the Krewes of Freret (February 22), Nyx (February 26), Tucks (March 1), and Thoth (March 2). The Big Fun Brass Band provides their musical accompaniment.
This year they pay homage to places long gone but not forgotten, to the theme of “Ain’t Dere No More.” Once-familiar scenes from all around New Orleans and outlying areas are depicted in perlage within the intricately hand-beaded bustiers and headdresses. See images below of perlage depicting the Dew Drop Inn and the Funky Butt.
Led by Dames Julie Lodato O’Day and Christine Clouatre, the group seeks primarily to respect and help preserve the art of perlage—French for beadwork—used by royalty, captains of traditional Mardi Gras krewes, and, of course, Big Chiefs, Spy Boys, Wild Men, and other members of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes of New Orleans.
The pioneering electro-Brazilian band releases their fourth album just in time to celebrate the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. The album is available on Six Degrees Records. Here’s a free download to whet your appetite.
The group was founded fifteen years ago by Marcio Menescal (son of bossa nova pioneer Roberto Menescal), DJ Marcelinho DaLua, and producer/sound engineer Alex Moreira based on a simple, yet profound idea. They update the classic sounds of Brazil with modern effects and electronics. Since the group began, numerous other bands have emerged with a similar concept.
On Our Kind of Bossa, Bossacucanova is joined by some of the other leading lights of their generation of Brazilians. Top on the list in this writer’s opinion is Maria Rita—herself the daughter of another legendary Brazilian singer—Ellis Regina. She is featured on the second cut, “Deixa A Menina.” It means, “If you let me, girl.” Here’s the original by Chico Buarque.