Boudin: The New Orleans Music Stories

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In 2014, Aimee Hayes and Sean Daniels of the Southern Rep theater Company set the wheels in motion for Boudin:  The New Orleans Music Project.  They created the Story Krewe, a team of ordinary (and extraordinary) citizens who interviewed every type of person in New Orleans youc an find, and then some.  They asked simple questions, starting with "How has New Orleans music saved your soul?" -- and captured the responses in writing, as audio, and on video.  The full set of "Boudin" stories is here:

In early 2015, director Sean Daniels shaped this material into a new play, to be performed by Southern Rep.  And after a script had been assembled and performers cast, it was discovered that the actors also had their own fascinating stories about their relationship to New Orleans music.  And so their stories were incorporated into the play as well.

In the end, the play defies categorization, and might only be properly described as an "event."  Entering  the lobby, the audience encounters a phone booth within which  they can record their own "Boudin" stories.  An electronic interactive display shows a visual representation of whatever sounds they make.  In the theater itself, videos of citizen interviews play on a huge screen as the audience is seated. Small handcrafted "altars" to New Orleans music, lit with candles, ring the seating area.  A huge map of New Orleans, divided by wards, dominates the set.

And once the play starts, the audience is a part of it.  There's a history lesson on New Orleans music, followed by a quiz -- and the winners get a drink! An audience member is brought onstage to tell her (or his) own story.  The actors banter back and forth with the audience, as the border between performers and audience start to dissolve -- everyone is making this happen, and everyone is audience, author, and actor.  And there are lots of stories, and lots of songs.

Our program this week includes a number of original "Boudin" interviews with residents of New Orleans, as well as performances by some of the actors.
"Boudin" interviews include John "Papa" Gros, Renea Pelegrino,  Christina Achille,  and Catherine.
Actors from Boudin in this episode include Joshua Smith, Brittney James, Natalie Jones, and Phillip Manuel.  (Phillip is an acclaimed jazz singer who has toured the world!)

You owe it to yourself to explore the archive of all the Boudin interviews!  Here are some of our favorites:
Dr Steve Price
David Kunian
Chuck Perkins
Rick Wilkof
Myra Soboloff

And a special addition to this episode is Mario Abney, a great young trumpet player building his reputation in New Orleans.  He and his Mario Abney Septet were recorded live for New Orleans Calling at the beautiful restored Basin St. Station, before a small audience.  Mario himself is charismatic and funny -- his interview, conducted by Maryse Dejean and included in this episode, could easily have served as an entry in the Boudin archive of stories.
Here's a special bonus video of another song the Mario Abney Septet performed at Basin St. Station:

MARIO ABNEY - ORA SWEET ORA from WWOZ New Orleans on Vimeo.

The Mario Abney Septet, for this performance:
Mario Abney, trumpet and vocals
Kaliq Woods, clarinet
Yermi Yahu Yisrael, sax
Thomas Grant, trombone
Jared Mulcahy, bass
Zack Knewstub, piano
Willie Green, drums


(music bed) Dr. John Right - "Right Place, Wrong Time"
John "Papa" Gros - "Keep On Gwine"
Kermit Ruffins - "Skokiaan"
Rebirth Brass Band - "New Orleans Music"
Rebirth Brass Band - "Blackbird Special"
9th Ward Marching Band - "Drum Cadence / Burnin' For You"
Jay-Ray and Gee - "Proud Mary" (a cappella)
(music bed) Joe Krown Trio - "Keep On Gwine"
The Philharmonics - "I Need, I Need Your Love"
The Blind Boys of Alabama - "Uncloudy Day"
John Boutte - "Hallelujah"
Earl Turbinton - "Lord's Prayer"
Mario Abney Septet - "Spiritual Perception"
(music bed) Jay-Ray and Gee - "Hey Pocky Way"

NEW ORLEANS CALLING is a production of WWOZ, listener-supported community radio in the Crescent City.
Your host, writer, editor, interviewer, audio engineer, and co-producer is George Ingmire.
Dave Ankers is the producer.
Melanie Merz is the supervising producer.
Additional production by Jorge Fuentes.
National distribution is managed by Russell Shelton and Carmen Connor Post.
Web support by David Stafford.
Executive Producer is WWOZ’s General Manager David Freedman.

Live From Basin St. Station is made possible by a partnership between WWOZ and the historic Basin St. Station. Live recording produced by Damond Jacob. Special thanks to Michael, Bubby, and Jay Valentino, Laura Tennyson, and Khalid Hafiz.

Special thanks to:
Sally Young and Melanie Merz, for their voice talents; WWOZ's Maryse Dejean, Scott Borne, Dee Lindsey, Crystal Gross, Lauren Del Rio, Leslie Molson, Beau Royster, and Dwayne Breashears.
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