POSTED Fri. Mar 21, 2014
Get some old world beats at the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

It’s not an exaggeration to say New Orleans is the womb of American popular music, and that furthermore, the rhythmic soul of New Orleans was conceived in Congo Sqaure, located in modern Louis Armstrong Park. The backbeat of Africa survived displacement when slaves gathered here to chant, drum, dance and sing, a musical heritage that eventually blended with American marching band tracks and European classical arrangements in the brothels of Storyville, giving way to jazz, the grandfather of all pop.

All of the above is something worth celebrating, right? The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation seems to think so, and as such, they’re hosting the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival from March 22-23, in (appropriately enough) Armstrong Park.

Free performances will be on deck from 11am-7pm, with an emphasis on performers who speak to the Afro-Caribbean roots of New Orleans. A full list of acts can be found in the above link, but be prepared for Haitian pop, African dance, Latin drum circles, bhangra beats by way of New York, Mardi Gras Indians, Mannie Fresh and of course, a lot of brass. Besides Super Sunday, there won’t be a better free event over the weekend.

Incidentally, the fact that this and BUKU are all happening this weekend – ostensibly an off couple of days in the middle of shoulder season – really speaks to why this is just the greatest freaking city ever.

(Editor’s note: Previously I mentioned Super Sunday was happening this weekend as well, but that event has been postponed again. It is now scheduled to go off on Mar 30. Keep visiting New Orleans & Me for updates).

Image courtesy of the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


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    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

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