Second Line: Jazz In New Orleans Before And After Katrina

Vincent York, historian and musician, joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to share some of his music and talk about the survival of music and tradition in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina.

  • Music after Katrina: York says after the storm musicians suffered because they were separated from each other and were no longer able to count on the tourism industry for income. York believes the music has been and will be instrumental in the city’s rise, but says that knowing the history of New Orleans is essential to understanding why.
  • Second lines and the survival of traditions: York and Henderson discuss the history of the second line in New Orleans. York believes the famous funeral and wedding marches survive because they’re celebratory, and Stephen agrees that whether they’re played at a wedding or a funeral, they “remind us that life is good.” York shares his experience playing in a Second Line at his teacher, Alvin Batiste’s, funeral and says that surrounded by so many of Batiste’s students, he was able to see young musicians still participating in New Orleans’ traditions.
  • New Orleans vs. Detroit Jazz: York shares his experiences with jazz in New Orleans and Detroit. He believes musicians in both cities are similar in their serious approach to music, but says that in Detroit there’s less of an emphasis on maintaining tradition. York also says that if musicians and non-musicians are educated on its significance in American culture, jazz will survive in the future.

Click the audio link above to hear the full story. 

Filed Under: #Katrina
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