Jazz Fest Previews 2013

00:00 April 29, 2013
By: Staff
Weekend 2

she sings in her deep, warm voice, or simply


It’s sweet, golden food for your ears and soul. This release also had the lineup addition of The Honeypots is a female-centric powerhouse percussionist Paula August Jepson, adding consisting of three very talented musicians, all another layer of great musicality as well as with popular local bands in their own right: Lynn female power. With this much musical ability, Drury, Margie Perez, and Monica McIntyre. Each The Honeypots is a sure bet for amazing and performer brings her special talents to the band, unique music. – Emily Hingle and when The Honeypots get grooving, they are quite the force of soul and girl power. Not Meschiya Lake only is the music fantastic, but the messages Gentilly Stage; 1:25 – 2:10 p.m. in their original songs are insightful, and the Tattooed jazz songstress Meschiya Lake has cover songs they enjoy performing are chosen made a big impression on the jazz circuit since to best entertain and inspire the audience. Lynn entering the scene in the late 1990s. Her music Drury pays homage to her country upbringing in is not only popular here in the city; her band, Mississippi, mixing it with the funky beats of her The Little Big Horns, tours worldwide. They did new home in New Orleans in her music, and a short tour in Russia in early March. “I did three lets loose that pure Southern life on her guitar gigs with my band and it’s the most hospitable and through her gorgeous voice, which has reception we’ve ever had, and we’ve had some captured national attention. She is a Jazz Fest good ones. They really took care of everything. veteran, having fi rst performed in 2000, and has Everyone was really happy and really friendly. It hardly missed a Fest since then. Vocalist Margie wasn’t even that cold,” says Lake. Perez brings to the ‘Pot her strong performance Meschiya Lake’s story of becoming a musician abilities; she even leads her own solo band in New Orleans is as incredible as it is unique. under her name because of her frontwoman She fi rst came to the city with a traveling circus: prowess. And rounding out the core of the band “The Know-Nothing Family Zirkus Zideshow and is cellist Monica McIntyre. McIntyre not only End of the World Circus. It was two troupes that performs expertly on her instrument, but will met down here and started performing together. stop playing it in the conventional way to create I was living in Atlanta and some of them had a beat on it, drumming with her hands while broken down there, so I saved up some money to come down to New Orleans with them, but I got hit by a car and couldn’t come. But when they came back through, they picked me up. I toured with them for two years; we’d winter in New Orleans for six months, and tour for six months. I ate light bulbs and worms. I can’t give away the trade secrets, but it’s a lot easier than you think it is. I remember I was 23 years old, and I had a house on Chartres Street with a bunch of people I used to be in the circus with, and we just started playing music around a campfi re in the backyard. I was in a band called Loose Marbles, and we got a gig doing traditional jazz. That’s how it all started, but music seeps up from the ground here almost,” explains Lake.

She’s not content with Royal Teeth—May 3, Acura Stage

performing in one band

or even in one genre of music. Lake elucidates about her musical outreach: “I sing backup in R. Scully’s Rough 7 with my friend Erika Lewis, who also is the other half of my band The Magnolia Beacon, which focuses on all-original material. I write some material for my jazz band, but not as much as in Magnolia. It’s a really different style; more harmony and vocal-based, and more minor chords. Kind of a darker sound, more strings. No horns.”

She has also done guest vocals on a metal music project called Aphelion. “That was awesome! I just went over to [musicians] Jordan Barlow and Ryan McKern’s space, listened to the project, and just vocally improvised on it. I was really excited to be a part of that. I love what I do very much, but I love all different kinds of music, and I love being a part of all different kinds of projects,” she explains.

Meschiya Lake not only works as a professional musician, she lives downtown, and has experienced fi rsthand the damage that the new crackdown on bars for volume infractions can do to the music industry here. “I think it’s all oppressive b.s., and it does nothing positive for our city whatsoever. Especially not for the clubs that they’re cracking down on in the St. Claude neighborhood that have different genres of music playing, not just traditional jazz and not just for tourists on Frenchmen Street. Just more artistic…not that traditional jazz isn’t artistic, but more neighborhood projects. I think people come to New Orleans to not only see Frenchmen Street, but also people want to seek out what else there is the city has to offer. I think they just want to try and get money. When you move into that situation and try to change it, I don’t think that’s very wise to move into that situation in the fi rst place,” contends Lake.

She gives her perspective on music as a part of New Orleans culture and the life of a working musician at a panel discussion on May 8. “It’s the Southern Studies Labor Association Keynote Panel discussion, where students and scholars just want to know what it’s like for professional musicians, the challenges we face, what the climate is like for us here. I’m up there with Evan Christopher, Tom McDermott, and Deacon John, so they got a nice, wide cross-section of all kinds of musicians in New Orleans. Like, Deacon John has been around forever, Evan Christopher is extremely successful internationally. Tom McDermott has been here since the ‘70s, and he’s one of the best pianists I’ve ever seen in my life. And me, who came from the streets with no classical training whatsoever, or very little, I should say,” says Lake.

This is certainly not Lake’s fi rst time at Jazz Fest, but she has moved up to a larger stage this year, where she can reach even more fans with her exhilarating live show. “[I’ve played there] twice with the Little Big Horns, and this year, we’ll be on the Gentilly Stage instead of the Lagniappe Stage. We got a bigger one! We have a different kind of repertoire for different situations—like, I have a quartet at the Windsor Court, which is more background music, softer. But when it’s on a big stage like that, you’re putting on a show. You’ve got to put everything you have into it, 100 percent. It’s a lot more high-energy. It’s when the traditional jazz stops

being so traditional because we do it more like a rock ‘n’ roll band than, say, if we were performing at Preservation Hall. As far as the high goes, I like the big stages. People go there to see the music. In clubs, they’re more interested in drinking, smoking, and talking over the band. When you’re doing something to the best of your ability, it’s nice when people notice what you’re trying to do. I’m not much of a festival participant, though I love performing at them. I’ll perform at them and walk around and see what’s going on. But I’m not much for crowds. I like performance, but I like a more intimate setting as far as hanging out goes. It’s too overwhelming. I love playing Jazz Fest: play, go eat food, then run backstage. But I’m defi nitely going to see Patti Smith and Willie Nelson this year,” Lake says excitedly, as she hopes that she’ll run into the legendary musicians backstage.

Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns will perform on the Gentilly Stage on Thursday, May 2. You can keep up with Lake at her website, meschiyalake.com. – Emily Hingle

The Roots of Music 2:40 p.m.; parade In culture where music opportunities for youth continue to dwindle at alarming rates, even New Orleans, a city born and bred of music, is feeling the pinch. Post-Katrina New Orleans was often a musical wasteland for children looking to take up the musical tradition. That was, until the Roots of Music came along. Few people realize, unless they’ve picked up an instrument themselves, how much of a commitment (both time and fi nancial) learning an instrument can really be. For many disadvantaged youth teeming with passion, even in the music-laden city of New Orleans, learning an instrument can be an unaffordable luxury. The Roots of Music program’s mission is to grant these children the right to explore their talents and promote the great musical heritage of New Orleans by providing free music education, academic tutoring, and mentorship to at-risk youth.

Founded through a partnership by Rebirth Brass Band drummer Derrick Tabb and Allison Reinhardt, Roots of Music is currently the only program of its kind in New Orleans. They attempt to answer an obscene demand, already mentoring over 100 middle schoolers with over 400 more children on their waiting list. Children accepted to the program also receive free transportation and a hot meal every day while in Roots of Music’s care.

Featured all over the country, the Roots of Music Marching Crusaders in just six years have easily become one of the most recognizable acts of their kind. With top-notch musicianship, they have appeared on CBS, the Rose Parade, and select members have had reoccurring roles on HBO’s Treme alongside Wendell Pierce’s character, Antoine Batiste.

For more information on the Roots of Music, visit their website, therootsofmusic.com, and don’t forget to donate to the cause. – Craig Magraff Jr.

Roy Ayers Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 5:40 – 7 p.m.

Vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers is among the

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