Monday, June 13, 2005

International Arts Fesitval in New Orleans

I consider myself a music lover and I have been exposed to a wide variety of music. And I have always been fascinated by Afro-Caribbean music. I will admit I’m familiar with very little of this music, but that’s the first of two reasons why I wanted to go to the International Arts Festival in N.O. at Marconi Meadows in City Park this weekend. I had a great time. It was hot outside as usual, but that didn’t stop me or the people who attended from having a good time. I saw many cool things including:

- A dance performance by the Dance Company. of Costa Rica, which was absolutely breathtaking. If only I could learn how to dance like they were …..

- I also saw the International Garifuna Band. I was not aware of the Garifuna people, they are people African descent who settled in parts of the Caribbean. Here is a website if you want to find more information about these people (, the website is really interesting, I knew basically nothing about them beforehand. And the band was really good, they played mainly Punta music.

- I also saw an artist named Rupee; he said his music was mainly Soco music (soul + calypso). He was also very entertaining; it kinda reminded me of combination of dancehall, go-go, and reggae music.

- Ernie Smith, a South African jazz musician. He played with a local band instead of bringing his own band, so he only played a few songs, but it was still good music.

- A group of children and young adults performing traditional African dance with drums.

- They also had DJ’s spinning Reggae, hip-hop, and especially old American soul and R&B hits between acts. I can always get down to that, especially the old R&B hits.

- Black Sheep, hip-hop fans may remember them from the early 90’s, they basically had two hits from the 90’s, “The Choice is Yours” and “Flavor of the Month”. They have a new CD coming out this year, they still had a really good flow, I enjoyed their short set.

- And, the second reason I wanted to go, to see the Original Human Beatbox, Doug E. Fresh, and the Story Teller, Slick Rick. This is going to be another post, they were that good. I got my boogie on.

I also sat through part of a seminar entitled, “The Congo-Creole Cultural Connection put on by SUNO (Southern University – New Orleans). This was very enjoyable and I learned a lot. I also had the privilege of conversating with Mrs. Linda Hill, the curator of the school’s collection of African art and artifacts. In fact I have a standing invitation to visit their archives when I have a chance. So if any of you are ever in New Orleans and want to check this out I would be more than happy to try and come down.

Summing this up, I had a great time despite my sore throat, braved the heat, met some cool people like Margaret and Adam, ate some good food, and I actually learned a lot too which is good for me considering I can be so hard-headed at times. I took some pictures; I’ll put them up when I get a change. Plus more on Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh later.

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