Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nawlins' Fun - Decatur Street, New Birth, and Mr. Sakamaki

In the midst of my volunteer work in New Orleans and here in Baton Rouge, there's plenty of Nawlins' fun too. It's not just our hands that will revive the city, but our visits as well. The music culture of the French Quarter is the heartbeat of the place, so it's time to include our visits for that kind of fun too. :)

Our visit on 3/3 was highlighted by a surprise encounter with the New Birth Brass Band and then later in the day with a photo assignment pair from Japan and NYC. Here are my blogs from other web pages.

When waiting to hook up with my friend Nancy on Saturday in New Orleans I had an extra hour or so to myself. I ventured out to nearby Decatur Street for the first time, and found myself in a good sized crowd at the Music Factory record store. It was their 15th Anniversary celebration and there was plenty of great live music and music sales.

I didn't grab a good spot for the first band that was performing, so I headed upstairs to peruse their vinyl and used CD collection. I bumped into a fellow volunteer who is friends with Augusta, the woman whose house I usually work on, on my way up. It was a bit strange seeing one another in regular clothes without being covered in grime. LOL.

After a bit I went back downstairs and grabbed a pretty good spot for the next band. When they started coming out with their brass and percussions one by one I laughed out loud. It was the New Birth Brass Band! I don't head into New Orleans too often to check out the music scene, but when I do I somehow find myself movin' and groovin' to these guys. Last March we had an amazing night with them at the Preservation Hall before it officially reopened. We then 2nd lined with them, Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, and other brass bands at the French Quarter Fest in April. They were one of the bands playing with U2 and Green Day in the Saints are Coming live performance at the Dome too. :)

I had LOTS of fun dancing to their tunes, and this time around I did get to chat with Corey the trombone player after the performance. I found out that they play at Preservation Hall so for sure we will be heading in again.

Crossing paths with an amazing photographer

I met a photographer named Q Sakamaki last night at a small random Japanese restaurant in New Orleans.

I went in with Nao and Grace yesterday to meet my friend Nancy in for business from Philly. At the end of the day Nance returned to her hotel, and Grace was too tired to survive the scene in a decent restaurant, so we jumped into a small Japanese place for a quick bite.

Two Japanese men sat next to us, and we had seen them earlier in Jackson Square. They had caught our attention with their impressive photography equipment.

Nao started chatting with them in Japanese and found out that they were in New Orleans for a magazine assignment about the recovering music culture. One was the editor and the other a photographer from NYC. Nao mentioned something about my interest in Music Rising, and the photographer immediately mentioned the name of the photographer working with the Edge while in New Orleans. Nao also let them know that I enjoyed photography and that I had noticed his cameras. The man proceeded to pull out his Holga in order to show that it's not about fancy equipment. I smiled and just knew that he was very into his art.

Nao did speak a little bit more before they left, and I asked to have their names so we could check out their work. They gave us their cards, and I thanked them, especially the photographer, very much.

Needless to say that when we came home and checked out Mr. Sakamaki's work I gasped. It ends up that he's a photojournalist who has studied international affairs and human rights, and he's out there revealing the human side of political conflicts through his powerful imagery. I would really appreciate another opportunity to speak with him about his work and just tell him "thank you" for all the he does. As for now, I'll take the meeting as an inspiration to do my best to give voice to others in need, and a reminder to appreciate the people doing work that I respect.

Wow. This will stay with me for some time.


Post a Comment

<< Home