We are the SLSAPSBB and we play cross-cultural music in the Second Line Style, developed by Black musicians in New Orleans. We’d like to share Professor Longhair‘s (aka Henry Roeland »Roy« Byrd) ”Go to the Mardi Gras“ with you!
I think Professor Longhair is a noteworthy figure in our musical tradition, whose personal history highlights why SLBB should celebrate Black musicianship routinely. He pioneered a lot of musical devices, some from from Cuban music and some developed out of necessity because his instrument didn’t have all of its keys, as well as acted as a family support for other Black musicians he played with. While his music and performances intersected different cultures that bridged racial divides during segregation and beyond, he struggled to get acclaim amongst white audiences despite his many noteworthy contributions to the American musical canon. I am not sure how to share these histories, but I think they could lend themselves to a gig working for racial justice, economic justice or simply expand on an informative intro/aside about the band.
I also wanted to share a memory story I tell myself to remember the lyrics: Our story begins with the Zulu King, who is already at a Mardi Gras party. The party is a lot like Porch Fest or Honk! and is a triple decker house affair. He goes out to the porch to see who else is playing, when he notices a parade go past the party. He resolves to get to Rampart and Dumain and play with the band. Anyone who hears this musical story, is going to buy a ticket to New Orleans.