Well it’s finally here—the event we’ve all be waiting for. You know who all the big names are that are on the schedule, so don’t expect to read about them here. My picks are bands and musicians that you may not be so familiar with. Remember—it’s a marathon not a sprint and if you’re not there all day, you’re not doing it right.
You can’t go wrong starting your day with some Mardi Gras Indians and the Semolian Warriors are led by one of the most impressive Big Chiefs on the streets. Yam, as he is known to all, has masked under some of the most legendary uptown Indians and now leads his own tribe.
On the same Jazz and Heritage stage at 1:45 Pm is Ivorie Spectacle featuring Seguenon Kone (pictured below). Kone hails from the Ivory Coast in Africa but has made his home in New Orleans for a few years now. He plays a handmade balafon (sort of like a marimba, which is like a xylophone, but made of wood) and dances around like the spirits possesses him. He’s the real deal.
Speaking of Africa, Seun Kuti (pictured at top) is one of the sons of the legendary Fela—one of the biggest stars to emerge from the continent. He hews close to his father’s Afro-beat music. So close that he tours with Fela’s final band before he passed away—Egypt 80. This is a don’t-miss set in my opinion.
You could close the day with the Beach Boys reunion, Bon Iver or Steel Pulse, but I recommend checking out Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Soul Band. With Terence Blanchard as his special guest trumpeter, the myriad musical connections between New Orleans and Cuba will be on full display. See you on the field of dreams!