Art & Identity in New Orleans

HNRS 109 Spring '18

Musical Perceptions of and Within New Orleans

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New Orleans is such a diverse city, with a diverse people and a unique music scene. Outward perceptions of the city only scratch the surface of the rich culture it contains. Those who have heard nothing of the city but its tourist attractions fail to understand that the city holds depths of musical culture, layered by the passage of time and the evolution of its people. Music can be seen as a unifier like no other and it speaks to the soul. New Orleans is a place bustling with festive noise, but what can the city tell you if only you listen to its songs?

New Orleans is known across the country for Jazz music, and the genre is considered to have originated there. While jazz is widely associated with New Orleans, according to The Culture TripĀ it can also be associated four other genres: Blues, R&B, Zydeco, and Bounce. The diverse history of the people of New Orleans is one reason for its deep saturation of music. The city was “born of both hope and despair” and “fueled by the influx of enslaved Africans to the waves of immigrants from places like Sicily, Ireland, Germany and, in more recent years, Mexico and Central America (New Orleans website).” This melting pot has resulted in a cultural and musical blend like nowhere else. How has each people group and their individual pasts affected the evolution of music in New Orleans?

Questions I would like to address:

How has each people group and their individual pasts affected the evolution of music in New Orleans?

How has the city’s tragic past influenced music within the city?

How have musicians and the music from New Orleans influenced the musical culture elsewhere?

 

For more information, visit:

https://www.npr.org/2017/07/15/537224556/in-new-orleans-theres-a-piece-of-music-history-around-every-corner

https://www.nps.gov/jazz/learn/historyculture/jazz_history.htm

https://www.neworleans.com/things-to-do/music/history-and-traditions/

 

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