Let’s ask Obama to have New Orleans musicians play at the Inaugural

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

(NOTE: This diary was originally posted on Daily Kos by azureblue, a musician who got his start in New Orleans. Per a request he made to readers in a comment under that diary, I am crossposting it here–because he and I feel this is an idea that needs as much attention and exposure as possible so hopefully Obama will pick up on it.)

The title says it all, but this grew out of a discussion last night about Obama’s love for jazz, and the possibility of him having jazz players at the inauguration:

azureblue’s diary :: ::

America’s only true art form, jazz, came from New Orleans. All jazz can be traced back to a little park right outside of the French Quarter- Congo Square, where slaves were allowed to congregate and play music together. This, combined with the brass bands of New Orleans, and the piano players in Storyville, created jazz and the music that is so distinctively New Orleans. And this cultural heritage is gone. Wiped away because of the greed of George Bush, in his goal to give more money to his rich friends. Bush not only destroyed a city, he destroyed the roots of America’s one great treasure- jazz. The musicians of New Orleans are scattered far and wide, their social structure in tatters, their ways of passing musical ideas from generation to generation, lost. The fabric of musical evolution torn. New Orleans had something very unique as far as music goes: All the musicians there learned from their peers and the previous generation, took it all in, and created new styles built on the old ones. Even the rock & rapper guys there will admit the influence, you can’t escape it there- it seems to rise up right out of the ground.

I am a New Orleans musician, jazz and New Orleans R&B, (and, no, I am not trying to get work for myself). I know this first hand. Although I left the city for the west coast years ago, I saw first hand my musician friends ruined, some dead, their instruments destroyed, their sources of income flooded out. I saw them forced to put down roots in alien places. I see them returning and now trying to make a living in the city, doing what they love in the worst of circumstances. Trying to restore the life they had, their homes with little outside help.

Three years. Three long years of ruin and neglect, while America goes on to other “more important matters”. Take a moment to use google maps / street view, and look for yourself: search Lakeview, and lower Ninth ward, and tell me this is America. This is horror, that America would let this go one for three years. Why has New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, been ignored like this?

Obama most likely will have Jazz at the White House for the Inauguration. He is known as a lover of jazz and he should step up and do something to help the art form, besides just listening. What better way to help jazz and the city that gave birth to Jazz, than to have New Orleans musicians perform for him? This will give work and recognition to them, and maybe be the first step this country takes to restoring the city and the treasure it gave America.

I wish I knew how to get this idea to Obama and his team,, but I am thinking that this is a good place to start. I hope that people who are in contact with him will see this “in Orange”, and pass the idea along to him. My bone to pick with DK is that, for years, diaries about New Orleans have fallen off the page like stones. Can we rec this, add to it, and keep it up on the list, and maybe someone will get a word to our next President? It is the least we can do………

 

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  1. we took the train, were returning to Portland from Fort Meyers, Florida and had a layover in New Orleans.

    I loved the shops near the train station, some wild looking suits in one store window. Crazy colors.

    We walked down to the French Quarter. I know, I know…it’s a tourist-y place but what I loved about it was the music. Down every street, on every street corner there was music of different types, of different quality. A sensational quintet doing cajun style r&b, a clarinet guy with an accordian player, all the way down to a tap dancer singing to himself.

    I agree 100%. I’d love to see New Orleans honored by having musicians at the White House. Not just jazz. Fats Domino! There’s that great New Orleans rock n’ roll sound.

    Now I’m excited about what a brilliant idea this is.

  2. Not like I am biased or anything but a little Memphis sound at the inauguration wouldn’t be too bad. There are some thick roots between Memphis and NOLA when it comes to musical stews.

  3. It’s such a wonderful idea.  Here’s the link; commentary ongoing as I write this but it’s not on the rec list right now.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/

    • US Blues on November 29, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    The primary All-American music had an influence on Rock, and in particular the Jam-Band genre. And that leads me to an “ugly rumor:” the Dead (formerly the Grateful Dead) may play at an inaugural event. A long strange trip, and further proof that us DFH’s were right about everything, all the time. 😉

  4. Why we should support NOLA musicians at the inauguration, and in real life…

  5. idea. I do have a disagreement with the statement that Jazz is ‘America’s only true art form’ I think it’s a major one but how about rock n roll, rap, hip hop, gospel, pop art, ab ex, photo realism, swing, the blues and other American art forms in all the art mediums? While jazz has influenced much of our music so has the folk song traditions from Appalachia. Our art forms are much like the culture a blending of all that came here.

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