French Quarter Fest Preview

00:00 March 26, 2012
By: David Vicari
JB20110513-207
Glenn David Andrews [Courtesy of Jon Bachman]

Thursday, April 12

Rebirth Brass Band
Authority and pulse of Jazz Funk for the past 30 years, Rebirth Brass Band is a must see. As 2012 Grammy Award Winners for "Best Regional Roots Music Album" for their album, Rebirth of New Orleans, the band has much to blow it's horn about, including a performance streamed to the nation over Grammy.com. Touted as the leader amongst brass bands, Rebirth's unique sound reverberates across the city, in every bar, in every home, at every parade, and now in stages all over the world. The band, formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, is home to some of the greats talents in the game, including Phil Frazier, Keith Frazier, Derek Shezbie, Glen Andrews, Stafford Agee, Corey Henry, Derrick Tabb, Vincent Broussard, Chaderick Honoroe, and an alumni list includes renowned trumpeter, Kermit Ruffins. Rebirth Brass Band, a regular at Maple Leaf Bar, will also perform at Republic on April 28 and at The NO Jazz and Music Heritage Festival on May 5th. A must see, to locals and tourists alike, as a celebrant of New Orleans and all of its great sound. Their performance is Thursday, April 12 at 5 p.m. —Kasi Dickson


Papa Grows Funk
Papa Grows Funk performs "booty shaking party music." That could be the best quote I've ever gathered from an official band website. Considered one of the most successful funk bands to ever come out of New Orleans, don't miss your chance to see them at French Quarter Fest 2012.
Papa performs more than 100 shows a year. From the Highline Ballroom in New York City to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco to the Nancy Jazz Festival in France, Papa has an international fan base.


Go on iTunes and check out the album Mr. Paterson's Hat. It's 13 tracks of pure funk, and will give you an idea of what to expect. You can also check them out almost every Monday night at the Maple Leaf bar on Oak St. Admission is $10 and they hit the stage at around 10 p.m.
Check out Papagrowsfunk.com to see their promotional video, video clips of them performing, and their schedule for upcoming shows. You also can follow them on Twitter (@Papagrowsfunk) and "like" them on Facebook.


If you like funk music, check out Papa Grows Funk at 5:45 p.m. on April 12 at French Quarter Fest. They will be on the Abita stage in Woldenberg Park. After all, can you really say no to booty-shaking party music? The answer to that question is always "no."—Peter Dupont

Friday, April 13

New Orleans Night Crawlers
Little else inspires folks to get up and dance carefree like the music of brass bands. The NOLA Nightcrawlers are no exception. They originated in 1994 as a group of friends who got together to perform their music for each other, workshop-style. The music, which is a sort of peppy swing jazz, is occasionally labelled as "aerobic funk," no doubt because of the rhythmic feel that drives you to dance.


The Nightcrawlers feature a dozen performers, including trumpeter Kevin Clark; saxophonists Ken "Snakebite" Jacobs, Jason Mingledorff, and Brent Rose, trombonists Rick Trolsen and Craig Klein, percussionists Kerry Hunter, Tanio Hingle, and Smiley Ricks; sousaphone player Matt Perrine; flugelhorn and trumpeter Barney Floyd; and co-found Tom McDermott. Join them at the FQ Fest on Friday, 13 April. —Zaelyna

Theresa Andersson
Listening to the Swedish born, New Orleanian, violinist, vocalist, and song writer, Theresa Andersson's performance leaves one in a pitter-patter of hopeful imagination and liberated bliss. Much like her home city New Orleans, Andersson's unique style layers soaring melodies and free flowing rhythm with harmony and a countercurrent that scats above it's song, both questioning and inspiring its simplicity, into a tune all its own. Her experimental and uninhibited sound position Andersson as rock's Queen of Avante Garde.
Gaining inspiration from the time between Mardi Gras parades, where joy and anticipation are linked in quiet nostalgia, Andersson's newest album, "Street Parade," dives into the crevices of imagination, aiming to explore the beauty of the space and time between inspiration, sadness, joy, and creation. The album hits record stores April 24, just between her festival appearances. Andersson's free French Quarter Festival Performance is Sunday, April 15. However, if you miss this chance, catch her perform just a few day's later, Wednesday, April 18, as part of Young Leadership Council's Wednesday at the Square, Free Concert Series in Lafayette Square or Friday, May 4 at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.—Kasi Dickson

Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
Combine what you hear from a typical jam band with the kind of jazz you might hear in the French Quarter and what do you get? Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. French Quarter Fest is going to be the perfect venue for them, because these guys are all about positive energy and passion.
Listen to their album The Big Awesome on iTunes. You get funk music elements.. you get your jazz fix... it's just a fun sound that is typical New Orleans.
Go to Johnnysketch.com to see their upcoming schedule, biographies of all five members, and all types of free music. One unique thing they have on their website is they have an application to be part of their "street team." I'm not sure if they pay people to promote their music or not, but it sounds like it could be a fun experience…


The band has their own channel on YouTube, Sketchy TV. Check it out for videos of their live performances, so you can see why they will be worth your time at French Quarter Fest 2012. —Peter Dupont

Sasha Masakowski & Musical Playground
Sasha Masakowski decided as early as eight that she wanted to follow the lead of her parents (both professional musicians). Under that influence, she graduated New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts, a highest level senior, with a certificate in Musical Theatre. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, she traveled to the Netherlands to study jazz and world music at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music.
Her constant desire to evolve her music has led her to explore many exotic styles, aided by her skills in improvisation and experimental free-jazz. She received nominations for "Best Emerging Artist" from Offbeat Magazine in 2009 and "Best Female Vocalist" in 2009 and 2010, proof that a new generation of jazz is on the rise. Musical Playground is one of two bands fronted by Masakowski—Sidewalk Strutters being the other—and it tackles a mix of jazz, Brazilian music, and original songs, often arranged in the moment.
Masakowski currently has two released albums: Musical Playground (2008) and Wishes (2011).
Experience the improv for yourselves on Friday, April 13.—Zaelyna

Saturday, April 14

Andrew Duhon
Singer-songwriter Andrew Duhon will be performing at French Quarter Fest 2012. Duhon gives you folk music and the blues with everything he's got. He is the kind of artist that pours out his heart and soul on stage. He wants to tell you his story through his songs, all of the good and all of the bad.

A Native of New Orleans, Duhon credits poets Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson as influences on his music. Bob Dylan also makes his list, not surprising since Duhon often takes the stage with both a guitar and a harmonica.


Duhon has one solo album on iTunes, "Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You," which was released in 2009. Most of the songs are similar in the sense they are slow and evoke a bit of sadness from you. Sorrow and heartbreak are common themes in his songs. The song "Outside Your Door" gives you an example of what you can expect from Duhon.


Check out Duhon's website Andrewduhon.com to see where he will be performing next. He has a Facebook page you can "like" and a Twitter, @AndrewDuhon. He seems like the kind of artist who wants some feedback about his music, so give him some.


If you are a fan of folk music I would check out Duhon at French Quarter Fest, you will surely be impressed. —Peter Dupont

Kristin Diable
Kristin Diable is a singer that can be described as "a peroxide, leggy crooner with a soul like Lucinda Williams, the confidence of Grace Slick and the voice of a decades-ago Bonnie Raitt." Intrigued? Check her out at French Quarter Fest 2012.


A native of Baton Rouge, Diable has three albums that you can check out on iTunes. As You Were was released in 2004, Shelter was released in 2005, and Extended Play in 2009.

Diable has a powerful voice, to go with the southern, country sound her musicians provide. Diable plays the guitar herself, giving a folk music sound to go along with her lyrics.

On KristinDiable.com you can find a wide variety of songs, pictures and videos for your entertainment. You can follow her on Twitter @KristinDiable and on her Facebook page you can listen to full versions of her songs and get information on where she will performing for the month. Her Facebook page is a great way to tell her what you think about her music, or give her any suggestions on where she should perform in the future.
Diable has been compared to Lucinda Williams, and to me, the comparison works. She does put an old-school New Orleans twist on her music, something that won't go unnoticed when she performs at French Quarter Fest. Give her a chance, there's a possibility she might have a Grammy one day.—Peter Dupont

Mia Borders
New Orleans based singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Mia Borders is quickly rising quickly to national acclaim as one of the great emerging artists in music. Borders' vocals merge a deep, soulful bellow and an energetic rhapsody into a range and depth of sounds that delivers an authenticity, lingering intrigue, and desire to hear more. Former member of MNSKP, a band of local talent that exemplifies the richness of music in New Orleans culture, the now, "Mia Borders Band," hope to build on the success of their last two albums, Deep Fried Soul-Special Edition, and Magnolia Blue, in their new album, expected to be released in 2012. Borders will also perform Wednesday, April 18 at the free "Wednesday at the (Lafayette) Square," concert, and also Thursday, May 3 at the NO Jazz and Heritage Festival. Whatever you do, go see Mia Borders. Buy her album, and in ten years, you'll be telling stories of being 10 feet away from one of the industry's greats. The free French Quarter Festival performance is Saturday, April 14. Be there.—Kasi Dickson

Charlie Oxford
Music has been part of Charlie Oxford's life since his days in Dallas, where he grew up to the tunes of a local Oldies station. He picked up guitar when he was 12 and developed a style of his own, reflective of a number of legendary influences like Buddy Holly and Dave Matthews. Oxford moved to New Orleans to study music at Loyola University. It's because of his experiences in NOLA that he discovered several amazing musicians located around the city.


After graduation, Oxford published his first album, Conscious From Centre, and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he performed a number of small gigs with the Fredag Music Group.
His style is an original blend of rich electric blues and pop acoustic. Be sure to catch his returning appearance at the FQ Fest on Saturday, April 14.—Zaelyna

Alexis Marceaux
Native New Orleanian Alexis Marceaux performed in her first public venue at the age of seven. Shortly thereafter, at 13, she wrote her first song. The vocalist attributes her musical affinity toward a lifetime of exposure to the rehearsals and sessions her father (also a musician) held in her childhood home. Her songs, originally quite folk-like, evolved to be rich in metaphors, testifying to her own evolution from singer/songwriter to artist.


Marceaux's vocal style is recognizably similar to those of Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan. It's a talent worthy of admiration. Join her band of local fans on Saturday, April 14. —Zaelyna

Honey Island Swamp Band
The Honey Island Swamp Band will be making an appearance at French Quarter Fest 2012, which is good news for people who might like a versatile funk band. These guys delivered both upbeat and slower tracks on their album Good To You, which can be purchased on iTunes along with two other albums. For an upbeat track with a country sound, listen to "Josephine." The track "Ten Times the Man" is a little slower and more soulful.


The Honey Island Swamp Band has five members, who combine to play seven different instruments. This is why the band is able to produce the complex sounds that make them so good. How many bands can blend a harmonica, piano, mandolin and bass guitar together?


The band came together in San Francisco, after Katrina forced them to evacuate their homes. They played some shows together, realized they had a good thing going, and returned home shortly.

Check out honeyislandswampband.com for videos of live shows and their schedule for upcoming performances. Hope you all give these guys a chance, their sound is original and fun.—Peter Dupont

Sunday, April 15

New Orleans Bingo! Show
Want to go to the 2012 French Quarter Festival and see a nice, relaxing, mellow music performance? Avoid The New Orleans Bingo Show like Lindsay Lohan avoids dignity. The New Orleans Bingo Show taps into the soul of the French Quarter. Loud, a little strange, and yet beautiful.


Described on their website as "America's Best-Loved Musical Game show Cabaret," N.O.B.S has musicians performing on the drums, electric guitar, violin, saxophone, keyboard, tambourine, ukulele. They will be performing all of these at a loud volume and with a ton of passion. Be ready.

As far as what they look like, imagine men and women in black, white, and red face paint wearing the kind of formal wear people used to adorn in the 1920's. Think white dress shirts, suspenders, pinstripes, and top hats.
Their show is described on their website as "a multimedia stage experience that includes original black-and-white silent films, aerialists, dancers, ingénues, clowns, audience interaction, bingo games, slapstick comedy and shady characters who remind you that every stage door opens into a dark alley."


Listening to the three albums the N.O.B.S have on iTunes gives you a (very limited) idea of what you can expect to hear when you see them perform. Listen to the album Volume III—Memory Parade and tell me you aren't intrigued by what you will get to see at French Quarter Fest 2012. Listen to the song "I Wanna Fall In Love" on that very CD and tell me it isn't a sound that fills you with energy. You also get songs like "Home" which will lull you into a false sense of calm, only to be energized again by a song like "Falling Down."
If you are a resident of New Orleans you will have ample opportunities to see N.O.B.S perform in the future. They have performed in cities big and small across America and in Australia, but New Orleans is their home and they treat it as such. That said, don't miss them at French Quarter Fest, as it is a venue perfect for their talents. —Peter DuPont

Kelcy Mae
Are you a fan of traditional folk or indie-rock music? Give Kelcy Mae a shot, she won't disappoint, nor will her very talented background musicians. Mae has a beautiful voice that is both soothing, yet powerful. Relaxing, but it grabs your attention.


Mae was born in Shreveport, LA in 1983 and began playing piano at age six. She learned the trumpet at age 10 and the guitar and bass guitar at 14. She developed a love of poetry in high school and now holds an MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans.


Mae released an album in 2011 called Pennies in Hand, which can be purchased on iTunes. Her 2007 album The Times Compiled is also available. In terms of style The Times Compiled has a more upbeat and "happy" sound to it than Pennies in Hand.


On Mae's website, www.kelcymae.com, you can listen to eight of her songs for free, including my favorite "Swingin' Low Without a Chariot." You also will see links for her Facebook page and Twitter feed (@Kelcymae) on there.


Check out the calendar on Mae's website to see when you can watch her perform, or just wait until April 14 and watch her perform at 11 a.m. at the French Quarter Festival on the Esplanade/ Old Mint stage.
—Peter Dupont

Big Chief Bo Dolis and the Wild Magnolias
Big Chief Bo Dolis and the Wild Magnolias will be in the house for French Quarter Fest 2012. For those who don't know about these guys, a little background information is required.


The Wild Magnolias are both a band and a Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. Mardi Gras Indian Tribes are groups of (mostly) African-American men who dress up a Native-Americans for Mardi Gras. They are not unlike the Krewes you see every year.


The tradition started because African-Americans felt they could relate to Native-Americans because both groups had been severely mistreated and oppressed throughout American history. They wear elaborate suits that are made almost entirely by the person wearing them. There are over 30 different tribes that take part in Mardi Gras every year.


Bo Dolis has been the "chief" or leader of the Wild Magnolia Tribe since 1964. He, along with two others, provide the vocals for this funk group. They also have percussionists and a guitar player.
Check out the album I'm Back… At Carnival Time on iTunes. The 13 tracks you can sample will give you a good idea of what you can expect.


Bo Dolis and the Wild Magnolias have been performing for decades, and their act has led them all over the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York City to London and Berlin. This funk band is a staple of Mardi Gras and one you need to check out at French Quarter Fest 2012. —Peter DuPont

Deacon John
Electric, ambient, exuberant, rich, and celebratory just skim the surface of describing Deacon John. The New Orleans born guitarist, singer, and bandleader flawlessly intertwines big band jazz, swings with R&B, and keeps it cool with blues. John, known as the "Creole Chameleon," has for over 40 years provided the world with a uniquely celebratory and romping sound, as honored by the American Federation of Musician's Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award, and Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, amongst several others. His latest work is a documentary film Going Back To New Orleans, as part of award winning CD and concert video, Deacon John's Jump Blues, further solidifies his place in history as one of the great legends. The production features legends Dr. John, Wardell Quezergue, The Zion Harmonizers, and several rising artists, while celebrating some of the greats such as Fats Domino, Earl King, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, Ray Charles, and Dave Bartholomew, amongst many. Don't miss this live, free, French Quarter Festival performance, Sunday, April 15 —Kasi Dickson

Don Jamison Heritage School of Music
It all begins with Don Jamison Heritage School of Music. As New Orleans is the birthplace to jazz, founded in 1990, the Heritage School of Music is to some of the biggest players in the music scene, including Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, "Big Sam" Williams, and Shamarr Allen. Named in honor of Don "Moose" Jamison, a longtime New Orleans radio disc jockey, guru of jazz, and key player as a board member of the Jazz and Heritage Festival in the implementation of the education program, the school provides free education to students ages 11 through 17, in the basics of music theory and performance. Led by Derek Douget, and Edward "Kidd" Jordan, amongst several distinguished instructors, the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music aims to reclaim and enrich the importance of music and culture in youth. The French Quarter Festival performance is one of several amazing opportunities for students to showcase their skills, while also demonstrating that the city of New Orleans is more than the birthplace of jazz, but also its home. The free performance is Sunday, April 15.
—Kasi Dickson

The Iguanas
With a style often referred to as Mexican-flavoured R&B, The New Orleans Iguanas make a return to the French Quarter Festival this April. A local-formed group from 1989, they've released one album since Hurricane Katrina. If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times is a musical tribute to their beloved city and the struggles they fought to record the album in the storm's aftermath. It was hard to write lyrics and record tracks amidst the trauma and noise of reconstruction, but like any true artists, the Iguanas used their music as an outlet for recovery and healing. The album speaks to the rich and varied cultures of the Crescent City, helping to rebuild the essence of what was washed away by Katrina.


The Iguanas have been working out of Piety Street Studios since October on their latest album, to be released later this year. Their unique style of blended genres has earned recognition and inclusion in hit shows like "Homicide: Life On The Street," "The Wire," and "Treme." Find out why The Iguanas contribute to the history of New Orleans and sample their latest album on Sunday, 15th April. —Zaelyna

The Royal Southern Brotherbood with Cyril Neville
Cyril Neville, a legendary vocalist and percussionist, will be performing at French Quarter Fest 2012. Born in 1948, Neville has been called one of the best southern soul singers ever. He has been featured on tracks by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and co-wrote a song with Bono of U2.


Neville, along with three of his brothers, formed a group in the 70s. The Neville Brothers have created more than 10 albums, one of which was Yellow Moon. That album won a Grammy in 1989.


Mike Zito and Devon Allman make up the Brotherhood. Both are blues singers and guitarists that can really bring it. Devon Allman is the son of Greg Allman, of Allman Brothers Band fame.


Check out royalsouthernbrotherhood.com for upcoming shows and biographies of all three members. They also have a Twitter (@royalsouthern) and a YouTube page (AridayR).


Sunday April 15 is the day to see these guys, so you don't want to miss this show. Neville is an icon in New Orleans whose music will be remembered for decades. Any fan of blues music should take the time to see why Neville is considered one of the best to do it. —Peter DuPont



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