In this episode we hear from musicians who got their start playing on the streets of the French Quarter, learning from veterans and legends, and passing it. Here's some additional information about the musicians who appear in this week's program.
Doreen Ketchens, who performs a special Live from Basin Street Station segment for this episode of New Orleans Calling, is a world-renowned clarinetist from New Orleans, who has performed in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia, and throughout the United States. Doreen and her husband and bandmate Lawrence Ketchens are heavily involved in music education, and their "music in the schools" workshops aim to educate through audience participation. And they perform regularly in the French Quarter, at the corner of Royal and St Peter Streets.
Here's a special extra performance from Doreen's appearance at Basin Street Station, "This Train". Featuring Doreen Ketchens, on clarinet, Lawrence Henry Ketchens on sousaphone, Paul Kimnetz on guitar, and Miss Dorian Ketchens-Dixon on drums.
In this video filmed in 2002, you can get a little taste of the late Tuba Fats and his band on Jackson Square, featuring Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen on sousaphone (seated), Doreen Ketchens on clarinet, Lawrence Ketchens on sousaphone (standing), Seva Venet on guitar, Keith "Wolf" Anderson on trombone, and more.
Seva Venet is a banjo player and guitarist who came to New Orleans and fell in love with the Jackson Square scene centered around the legendary Tuba Fats. After moving to the city, he spent four years with Tuba Fats, and still plays on the square from time to time -- and he's also now an important musician and scholar in the field of traditional New Orleans jazz.
Wil "Willow" Kennedy and his wife Tara perform in New Orleans and around the country as the Willow Family Band.
Glen David Andrews is the cousin of James Andrews and Trombone Shorty, and one of the most exciting and magnetic performers in New Orleans -- and he grew up performing on the streets of the Crescent City. On Jackson Square, he learned how to hold an audience without vocal amplification from the great Grandpa Elliot. Here's Glen in 2012 (with amplification), performing Summertime (written by Sonia Tetlow, formerly of Cowboy Mouth):
Grandpa Elliott (Elliott Small) has performed on Royal Street and on Jackson Square for decades, and has been an influence and inspiration for countless buskers. In 2009 he participated in Playing For Change, a project that recorded street musicians around the world. Here's a brief video of Grandpa Elliot performing across from St Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in New Orleans.
Meschiya Lake got her start as a child performer in South Dakota, and worked in a circus before moving to New Orleans in 2002. She started performing on the streets, and by 2007 was doing it full time. This traditional song, "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," appears on the Meschiya Laka and the Little Big Horns album Fooler's Gold, and this video was recorded in Bimhuis Amsterdam for VPRO Vrije Geluiden, Dutch national television:
WWOZ's Reya Sunshine Hart and Charlie Steiner have also produced a series of video "Busker Blogs," giving an in-depth look at even more of the city's street musicians:
BUSKER BLOG: From Dick Deluxe's first gig in 1973 (subbing for an incapacitated Townes Van Zandt) to playing with New Orleans greats Earl King and Queen Ida, to his many years of score writing with Clubfoot Orchestra virtuoso Richard Marriott, Dick Deluxe has truly earned the status of living legend:
BUSKER BLOG: A self-taught musician who left a troubled home at an early age, Brian Belknap thumbed cross country making what he could playing on the streets. Finding factory work, he honed his skills practicing in boiler rooms and on loading docks during lunch breaks, organising when he could against the horrible working conditions he often found himself in. The sensitivity to the plight of those living on the margins of society is evident in Belknap's songs and is ultimately what led him to leave music to devote his time to the struggle for social justice. Ironically, his return to performing came when he was forced out of his rent controlled apartment in the San Francisco's Mission District. He started playing on the street again to help make ends meet.
THIS WEEK'S TRACK LISTING:
Seva Venet - "Margie"
Willow Family Band - "Stop Loving Me"
Jame Andrews - "The Old Rugged Cross" (music bed)
Jame Andrews - "Poops ain't Gotta Shuffle No More"
Lil' Rascals Brass Band - "Knock with Me, Rock With Me" (music bed)
Grandpa Elliot - "Baby, What You Want Me To Do"
Snooks Eaglin - "When Shadows Fall" (music bed)
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns - "I Believe in Music" (music bed)
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns - "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down"
Doreen Ketchens - "Basin Street Blues"(music bed)
Doreen Ketchens - "This Train/ Just a Closer Walk with Thee/ Second Line" (Live From Basin St Station)
Snooks Eaglin - "Kiss of Fire" (music bed)
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.