Saturday, November 29, 2008

Let's ask Obama to have New Orleans musicians play at the Inaugural

(NOTE: This diary was originally posted on Daily Kos by azureblue, a musician who got his start in New Orleans. Per a request he made to readers in a comment under that diary, I am crossposting it here--because he and I feel this is an idea that needs as much attention and exposure as possible so hopefully Obama will pick up on it. The slideshow, however, was put together by me to show some of New Orleans' rich artists and rich cultural heritage which remain, which should not be allowed to evaporate in the face of BushCo's cultural genocide in Louisiana.)

The title says it all, but this grew out of a discussion last night about Obama's love for jazz, and the possibility of him having jazz players at the inauguration:

azureblue's diary :: ::
America's only true art form, jazz, came from New Orleans. All jazz can be traced back to a little park right outside of the French Quarter- Congo Square, where slaves were allowed to congregate and play music together. This, combined with the brass bands of New Orleans, and the piano players in Storyville, created jazz and the music that is so distinctively New Orleans. And this cultural heritage is gone. Wiped away because of the greed of George Bush, in his goal to give more money to his rich friends. Bush not only destroyed a city, he destroyed the roots of America's one great treasure- jazz. The musicians of New Orleans are scattered far and wide, their social structure in tatters, their ways of passing musical ideas from generation to generation, lost. The fabric of musical evolution torn. New Orleans had something very unique as far as music goes: All the musicians there learned from their peers and the previous generation, took it all in, and created new styles built on the old ones. Even the rock & rapper guys there will admit the influence, you can't escape it there- it seems to rise up right out of the ground.

I am a New Orleans musician, jazz and New Orleans R&B, (and, no, I am not trying to get work for myself). I know this first hand. Although I left the city for the west coast years ago, I saw first hand my musician friends ruined, some dead, their instruments destroyed, their sources of income flooded out. I saw them forced to put down roots in alien places. I see them returning and now trying to make a living in the city, doing what they love in the worst of circumstances. Trying to restore the life they had, their homes with little outside help.

Three years. Three long years of ruin and neglect, while America goes on to other "more important matters". Take a moment to use google maps / street view, and look for yourself: search Lakeview, and lower Ninth ward, and tell me this is America. This is horror, that America would let this go one for three years. Why has New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, been ignored like this?

Obama most likely will have Jazz at the White House for the Inauguration. He is known as a lover of jazz and he should step up and do something to help the art form, besides just listening. What better way to help jazz and the city that gave birth to Jazz, than to have New Orleans musicians perform for him? This will give work and recognition to them, and maybe be the first step this country takes to restoring the city and the treasure it gave America.

I wish I knew how to get this idea to Obama and his team,, but I am thinking that this is a good place to start. I hope that people who are in contact with him will see this "in Orange", and pass the idea along to him. My bone to pick with DK is that, for years, diaries about New Orleans have fallen off the page like stones. Can we rec this, add to it, and keep it up on the list, and maybe someone will get a word to our next President? It is the least we can do.........

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Midwest lover of New Orleans and of all things having to do with Louisiana.