Sunday, April 15, 2012


I don’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t listen to music. I grew up in the sixties and seventies when music was in a state of flux. Almost anything went, and it did. In one of my memories my sister and I are about 6 and 8 and we are dancing in our dining room on hardwood floors with the sun streaming in through the ceiling-high windows and the glass door going out to the balcony. We are dancing to Leonard Cohen when his voice was young and not so velvety deep as it is now. I loved the poetry of the man even then. It spoke to me and evoked images that I painted as I saw fit.
I still love music that speaks to my soul; that can make my heart yearn, my tears fall, my lips laugh. I love to sing along, or hum, or whistle. Today we venture once again into the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans to partake of their particular brand of life-enriching music. Now I am not, per say, a huge fan of sitting around listening to jazz, or blue grass or calypso or zydeco unless, I’m listening to them live.  I can’t not sway with the rhythm or tap my foot or wiggle my hips or clap or turn in circles in joy. Live, all of these different styles speak a language that some part or the other in me responds to.  When I see the faces of the voices and the instruments producing their glorious sounds, the music is different to me than when I sit at home and listen to a disc. Some music works that way in reverse. I can listen to the disc but not appreciate the live performance as much. And now, I’m ready to hit the streets again and sync myself into the pulse of the city. I’m off to indulge my body and soul in a “gumbo” of fresh music as only the French Quarter Festival can provide.
The last act the "Royal Frenchmen"

So, we've spent the entire day enjoying the music the FQF has had to offer us and it ended about 30 minutes ago for us with a last hour sitting on the corner of Royal and Frenchman listening to the "Royal Frenchmen", a rag tag thrown together group of young musicians who decided to play together a few weeks ago. Some are even from France! I watched as they set up, tuned up, warmed up and then started to play. At first there were maybe six of us onlookers paying attention. By the third song there were at least 30 people watching, tapping their feet or swaying to the lively beat. By the sixth song there were at least 70 to 100 people at any given moment who had joined us on that corner. We spilled into the street almost blocking traffic. At least in the Big Easy they are used to this and tolerate it well. Two dancers showed up and entertained us with their fluid style. The tide of people ebbed and flowed as did the music. It was magical and so worth experiencing. I almost couldn't wait to get back to the B&B to get it all down, but was afraid to miss anything! What a wonderful way to end a glorious day.

1 comment:

  1. And what a completely fabulous, and I mean FABulous, way to spend some time. So jealous.


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