Jazz /Music, New Orleans
New Orleans is famous for street bands, where no drums or string bass are used. This is interesting because this contrasts dramatically with the roots and typical presence of drums by African-American musicians. Here, the bass is produced by the tuba, and the percussion is the percussive intensity of the players style in this brass instruments. No drum required. This configuration is almost unique to New Orleans and predates Jazz music. Nevertheless, a snare drum may become part of such a street band on occasion.
A tradition among Africans during funerals long ago, was to carry the dead through the street and chant or sing solemnly before burial. The tradition among slaves before the civil war in New Orleans was carried on, but a bit differently. The dixieland and jazzmen began to play more happy tunes, to celebrate the passing on of the spirit to a happier place without slavery. The tradition continues on today, with tunes such as 'When the Saints Go Marchin' In' played as the coffin is brought through the city streets. There is a kind of parade of dancing and celebration behind the musicians.
Photo by Vance Adams from the website below. Click there to go to a site that gives a more detailed description of the celebration, along with audio samples of the tunes played.
on the last weekend of april and the first weekend of may the city of new orleans hosts the annual jazz & heritage festival. the festival is located at fair grounds race course west of the french quarter. the festival has a number of stages and tents where jazz, blues, rock, cajun, zydeco, afro-caribbean, and country music is played. each night when the concerts are over the spectators invade the french quarter to continue the party. jazz fest is not has rowdy as mardi gras and the crowds tend to be older and more well behaved. i have been to four jazz fests over the years and they are a lot of fun. see the attached web site for ticket information and dates.
"Cajun" music is coming from the Acadians (the French speaking descendents populating the rest of Louisiana, from Nova Scotia) and was originally based on the fiddle, but the accordion was introduced to it and is now an integral part of modern cajun music. Cajun music has evolved to the point where today, it often integrates rock and country & western tones.
"Zydeco" doesn't usually have a fiddle sound, but does have the accordion. The two genres used to be similar until WWII, after which Zydeco began to assume the influences of blues and rock and roll. It is characterized by the accordion, electric guitar and bass, drums, and what is most easily recognized - the washboard (a kind of corrugated metal board called a "frottior").
this is every 311 fans favorite day in one of america's greatest cities... on march 11th ( which is 3-11) the greatest band on the planet 311 plays a show in new orleans for it's dedicated fans..3-11-01 the band played for 3 hours and 11 minutes, this last year when i went they played 51 songs and played for little over 4 hours.. the city of new orleans has made march 11th officially 311 day!!!!!! not sure if it's going to happen this year or not, for the band is in the studio working on they're 7th album....
While on Bourbon St., we were fortunate enough to witness both a wedding and a funeral -- and the two processions looked remarkably similar! Mourning New Orleans-style has all of the external trappings of a parade: a band, people dressed in cheery costumes, everyone singing and clapping...