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Profs and Pints DC presents: “What It Means to Hear New Orleans,” a feast of knowledge about the music traditions of the Crescent City, with Grammy-winning music writer Kip Lornell, who teaches courses in American music and ethnomusicology at George Washington University.
In celebration of the upcoming Mardi Gras, Profs and Pints is bringing you an opportunity to learn from an expert about the musical traditions associated with New Orleans. Serving up a delicious gumbo of musical knowledge will be an ethnomusicologist who has published 17 books about our nation’s musical traditions and teaches a George Washington University course focused on jazz in American culture and on New Orleans jazz bands.
Dr. Kip Lornell will start his talk by introducing you to the Louis Armstrong that you might not know, who burst onto the music scene like a trumpet blast in the 1920s and emerged as one of the most important and influential musicians in 20th century American music. Innovating on many levels as a musician, vocalist, and Civil Rights activist, Armstrong influenced countless others who came after him, and gave his listeners reason to sing “What a Wonderful World” along with him.
Then we’ll learn about the brass bands of New Orleans, which trace back to the late 1800s and gave Armstrong his start. We’ll become immersed in that musical tradition and learn how it thrives today with the Soul Rebels and Stooges Brass Band, which have helped pull this tradition into the 21st century by mixing improvisation, funk, and hip-hop into a sound like no other.
Finally, we’ll explore the city’s most visually stunning and fascinating musical representatives, the Mardi Gras Indians, whose costumes, traditions, and music are utterly distinctive and have been an integral part of February in New Orleans since the mid-19th century.
There is a lot more to the jazz-based music of New Orleans than you’ll get from hearing anonymous “Dixieland” bands yet again play “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Learning about it through a talk accompanied by video and music clips will be a perfect way to get fired up for the fun of this year’s Mardi Gras, which officially starts two days after the talk will be given. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Image: The Stooges Brass Band plays for the second line of the Lady Jetsetters marching club. (Photo by Derek Bridges / Creative Commons.)