Thursday, July 3, 2008

In the Groove

Since Monday we've been playing for between 6-10 hours a day (either classes or rehearsals), not including the dance classes that the guys have bravely taken with visiting artists from Cuba and the Congo!  It's an intense amount of work, but we find ourselves going more and more deeply into the traditions we're representing at the festival.   There hasn't been a lot of time to go out and explore but we'll have some time to do that in the coming few days.  

On Sunday July 6th, we'll be heading to Congo Square to participate in a special event with artists from both the N.O. Dance Festival and local traditional ensembles called "The Spirit of Congo Square - Remembering the Ancestors."  One of the local community members here explained to us that this is one of the first times, even pre-Katrina, that people representing the music and traditions from so many different African nations have been in New Orleans at the same time.  Congo Square used to be a place where slaves were allowed to gather and express themselves through music and dance, perform religious ceremonies, and have their own marketplace.  The organizers want to take advantage of the opportunity presented by all the musicians and dancers here by gathering and pouring libations to the ancestors and then allowing the various groups to express themselves individually through prayers, music, dance - anything goes.  It will be amazing, and we'll be sure to photograph what we can.

Today, July 4th, the group plans on heading to the riverfront to catch some Zydeco music, brass band, and then fireworks from two barges on the river.  

Some photos of our week of playing are below, including Dan "BBQ-Man" Klug making dinner for us one 

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