All month long in New York City, Lincoln Center has been hosting a fantastic series of free concerts in their outdoor bandshell, with a very eclectic lineup. Last Friday, they focused on the worldly traditions of Carnaval. Of course, there’s no one better to carry the New Orleans Carnaval torch than the legendary Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and his Golden Eagles. An elder statesman of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, Monk has the strength and leadership of a tribal chief with the ancient wisdom and worldly intuitiveness of a true medicine man, and a great ear for music to round it out. He uplifted and inspired the crowd at Lincoln Center with his unique songs, delivered wonderfully by a great band and noble stature on stage, adorned in a bright yellow headdress and scaled-down suit that bolstered some splendidly sewn beaded patches. I was happy to recognize old friends Joe Gelini holding it down on drums and boogie-woogie professor Tom Worrell on keys. The band sounded great. Monk also had his old friend’s son Bo Dollis Jr. onstage singing backup and sporting a gorgeous bright blue-feathered suit with some lovely beaded patches. To those in the crowd who’d never seen a Mardi Gras Indian, Monk and the boys gave them quite a memorable experience that will no doubt stay with them for years to come, and for me, a New Orleanian “in exile”, who has marched many miles with the Big Chief on the streets of New Orleans, it was very cool to see him perform in such a different setting and see a different crowd react to Monk’s wonderful gifts.