A well done interview with a talented working musician talking about the struggle to work as much as she wants and how she wants.
So much fascinating information:
Like many musicians who play on Frenchmen Street, Davis has performed with many musicians and a lot of bands, but after playing with The Mesmerizers for more than a year now, she’s reluctant to play with others any more than necessary. “They are now feeling what I want before I tell them, which is refreshing,” Davis said. “And frankly, the fewer people in the mix, the more I can pay them. And whatever I pay will never be enough.”
If I went some place else – I love New York, I’d love to work in New York, but I can’t afford to live in New York unless I”m one of five people who are making a grand and substantial living as musicians. The rest are working day jobs and playing in clubs for $70 a pop. I’m making twice as much here. And I don’t have to have a day job. In some ways, I’m better off. It would be great if I could get someone to fix the pot holes on my street, and the cops would show up when shit’s going on in my neighborhood …
Cusimano, a 26-year-old graduate of Loyola Law School and a 610 Stomper, was the victor, which was hardly a surprise. The Metairie resident had, in successive rounds, burned himself with a lit cigar and then doused his wound with booze, all in a fit of passion.
“I started seeing the competition and said to myself, ‘If you’re gonna go, you got to go!’ ” he said afterward, brushing away tears that appeared genuine.
He then hoisted his trophy high.
“This may be the best thing that ever happened in my life,” he exclaimed.
A Musical Prelude to the Celebration of Easter:
A Series of Free Public Concerts to be Staged At
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in the Vieux Carre
NEW ORLEANS, LA—On March 6, 2014, renowned tenor and opera performing artist Fernando del Valle and acclaimed organ recitalist Jarrett Follette will kick off a series of concerts at an important architectural and historic landmark, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the French Quarter.
The series—A Musical Prelude to the Celebration of Easter—will feature music ranging from classical favorites of the great gothic and baroque cathedrals of the world to New Orleans jazz, spirituals, and gospel and will take place on Thursdays at 6 p. m. Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, part of the old Ursuline Convent Complex, is located at 1116 Chartres Street.
Subsequent concerts in the series will feature more of the
talented performance artists of New Orleans.
—The March 13 Concert will star popular New Orleans vocalists Phillip Manuel, whose voice is big enough to fill a cathedral or capture the crowds at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Lucy Burnett, noted especially for her dramatic range, both of whom have
frequently sung in gospel chorales as well as jazz jams and solo gigs.
—The March 20 Concert will star Grammy and Billboard Award-winning Jazz trumpeter and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, whose Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta has been described as the best jazz club in New Orleans and who is founder and artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and New Orleans Jazz Institute, as well as Professor of Music at the University of New Orleans. At the University of New Orleans he initiated a program of musical composition, creating
new music based on the work of famous authors. Most recently, he composed a program of new music based on the work of Louisiana
literary master Ernest J. Gaines.
—The March 27 Concert will star Soprano Amy Pfrimmer, head of the Voice Faculty at Tulane University, who has performed across the United States, Germany, France, Canada, and England, including appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Baltimore Choral Arts Society, in collaboration with pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. Ms. Pfrimmer will appear with pianist Dreux Montegut, who has been Director of Music since 1966 at the Cathedral – Basilica of St. Louis King of France, where he conducts the Cathedral Choir and Concert Choir. Under his direction, the Cathedral Concert Choir has performed an excitingly diverse array of music ranging from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor to Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music.
—The April 3 Concert will star Lisa McDonald and Jacques Weaver in flute and harp performances. Ms. McDonald, who is a talented architect with McDonald Architects and staff architect at Tulane Univerisity Health Services Campus, plays flute with the New Orleans
Concert Band. Jacques Weaver, who has taught music in Plaquemines
Parish for many years is an accomplished pianist, organist, and harpist,
who plays organ and harp for Mass at St. Mary’s. A singer, too, he has
performed with the New Orleans Opera Chorus.
—The April 10 Concert will star Cynthia Cheri-Woolridge, who
leads a popular group of gospel and spirituals singers and musicians. Her degree in music is from Xavier University and Ms. Cheri-Woolridge, a soloist with the New Orleans Concert Band an the New Orleans Black
Chorale, has served as both choir director and organist for such churches as Peter Claver, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Jude.
The concerts are free and open to the general public and are sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Cathedral-Basiica of St. Louis King of France to benefit the new mission of the Archdiocese in downtown New Orleans, the Bishop Perry Center. Donations to support the Center will be accepted at the concerts. The Center, located at 1941 Dauphine, is under the direction of the Rev. William F. Maestri and has a multi-faceted mission of:
—Providing a spiritual ministry—daily mass at Noon Monday – Friday, ongoing spiritual counseling at the Center, boots on the street ministering to men, women, and children living on the street, and communicating with downtown residents to make them aware of services available at the Center.
—Meeting the material needs for food and clothing of the disadvantaged and assisting those in need of shelter find it.
—Providing a base for the delivery of free medical and psychological evaluation and treatment services, desperately needed in downtown New Orleans.
—Providing educational services, such as tutoring for G. E. D., teaching reading and writing, teaching computer skills, and mentoring men and women who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment.
—Cultural Outreach programs for the downtown neighborhoods, including heritage events, music events, literary events, visual arts events.
The program for the first concert will include some of the finest Baroque music written for the tenor voice and for the organ, as well as later spiritually oriented classical music.
Sara Roahen is maybe my favorite current New Orleans writer (although Katy Reckdahl, CW Cannon and Bill Lavender are always vying for the top spot, not that any of them care) and here she has written a fantastic history of Old Sober (aka ya-ka-mein), a street food beloved in Creole homes, along second lines and at JazzFest…
C.W. Cannon one of my favorite columnists, talks of our current Carnival period as a golden age with more democratic and satirical characteristics than we experienced in the late 20th century, where whites-only krewes had their way and superfloats flourished which led to the demise of many of the small neighborhood parades. I’ll tell him how much I appreciate this on the downtown parade routes that I am sure to see him on over the next few weeks..
Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, in a book about folk culture influences on the great Renaissance French writer Rabelais, outlined a theory of Carnival based on ancient and medieval traditions. Centuries later, it’s remarkable to witness how the “carnivalesque” spirit he details lives on so palpably on the other side of the world. A few of the key attributes Bakhtin ascribes to Carnival are a satirical impulse of a bawdy kind that he calls “grotesque realism,” the inversion of normal prevailing social hierarchies, and mass participation.
In light of principles like these, it’s a no-brainer that the latest city ordinance supports, rather than inhibits, the ancient foundations of Carnival tradition. Even here in New Orleans, one of the prevailing social strictures upended by Carnival has been segregation in public settings. Blocking off and segregating swaths of the public space for members-only parties doesn’t jibe with the carnivalesque injunction to cast off social distinctions and rub shoulders with strangers for a limited period of time.