TVD Live: RAM with Arcade Fire at the Inaugural Krewe du Kanaval, 2/6

PHOTOS: DENNIS McDONOUGH | When Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the married couple who front Arcade Fire, teamed up with Ben Jaffe (all pictured above) and his crew at Preservation Hall to create a new Mardi Gras organization focused on the connections between Haiti and New Orleans, most observers knew it would be something special. On Tuesday afternoon (2/6) the debut of the Krewe du Kanaval was a rousing success, joining two copacetic cultural traditions into a synergistic carnival.

The event concluded with a concert by RAM, a well-known Haitian band that performed at the New Orleans Jazz Fest back in 1994 and again in 2011 when the festival was celebrating the island nation. Chassagne has roots in Haiti and performed along with Butler at RAM’s most recent appearance at Jazz Fest.

The two joined them again this year, along with members of the Preservation Hall Brass Band, on a much bigger stage to a much more enthusiastic crowd filled with Carnival revelers, world music aficionados, and a fair number of Haitian expatriates.

RAM was founded and is led by Richard A. Morse (hence the band’s name), an enigmatic character who wore a top hat and acted as a master of ceremonies of sorts while his group played traditional Haitian songs and his originals with the hard thump of a rock band.

The lead guitarist played lines that would not have been out of place in a soukous band from the Congo. His work on the wah-wah pedal helped amp the already excited crowd. The bass player and drummer had much of the crowd dancing frentically. At the back of the stage, a pair of musicians played rara horns, a traditional instrument of Haiti’s street parades. At the end of the set, they came front and center and led the band off the stage.

Members of the Pres Hall band, Butler and Chassagne, joined the group for the finale. At that point the day which had begun with a procession (pictured below) featuring numerous dancers, maskers, two brass bands, an African drum troupe (leading the Northside Skull and Bones Mardi Gras group), and more Haitian musicians, was reaching a fevered pitch. The rain held off and the conjoined group of musicians from New Orleans and Haiti (Chassagne grew up in Canada) paraded off into the setting sun to continue the party late into the night in true New Orleans fashion.

This entry was posted in TVD New Orleans. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text