All Female Ya Ya 2019

You’ll hear some damn good singing on this week’s show- most likely related to the all-female cast of the show.

Just as she did last year, Ingrid Lucia kicks off this show of women vocalists and bandleaders– this time by leading us on a “Bourbon Street Parade” from her 2010 Live from New Orleans record.

Meschiya Lake

Meschiya Lake follows with her invocation “I Believe in Music” from 2013’s Fooler’s Gold. Lynn Drury then takes us straight to the heart and heartache of New Orleans’ live music scene with “Frenchmen Street” from Sugar on the Floor. Dana Abbott anchors the first full set with “You’re Mine.” By that time, resistance is futile.

The second set will get heels a flying with Doreen Ketchens, Albanie Falletta and Marla Dixon’s Shotgun Jazz Band. The exercise will be good for you for the following set will definitely give you pause.

The set begins with a funeral march that seems to get more optimistic as it progresses until Aurora Nealand’s intones “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The beat and swing builds up to a great drum solo. The song is “Flee as a Bird” — a hymn with the song credit given to Mary Dana — a song catcher who worked South Carolina church scene in the mid-19th century. Bon Bon Vivant’s poet laureate, songwriter and front lady Abigail Cosio takes it from there with “Old Forgotten Tune.” While her band can rock you, this song is just her guitar and voice singing a story of loss and how music and memories entwine. The song was inspired by a cowboy poet line she read in the library at the Will Roger’s Historic Park. This set ends with “Harm”– the first track from Elizabeth Joan Kelly’s new release Farewell, Doomed Planet! which “is about the apocalypse. And Chernobyl wolves. Pollution. And space travel. Existential dread. And whales. ”

A Lafayette-style set follows with Yvette Landry, Bonsoir Catin and Sweet Cecilia with a well-placed serving of Gal Holiday. Later you’ll hear Linnzi Zaorski’s take of the Andrew Sisters hit “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” — a song from a 1930’s Yiddish musical that was also oddly a hit in Nazi Germany until authorities got wind of its Jewish provenance.

Leyla McCalla, Debbie Davis, Carol Fran, Tank and the Bangas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band (New Orleans only all-female brass band) take a turn. Margie Perez, Little Queenie and Shawn Williams bat clean up.

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Female New Orleans Artists take the Gumbo YaYa stage

Every year, I’ve done a show featuring exclusively female artists and every time I do it, I ask myself why I don’t it more often. This show is awesome so get it started and then read on.

It’s not that I don’t play these artists at other times. In fact, I play them frequently but some times its nice just to give these wonderful musicians the full spotlight — without the guys in the way.  And each year, as I learn more about the New Orleans music scene, the show gets better.

This show starts in the delightful embrace of Ingrid Lucia’s  “My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms.”  And the show just keeps getting better.  Lynn Drury, who is featured later in the show, joins Margie Perez, Monica McIntyre, and Paula August Jepson  in  “Got to Tell Ya” from The Honeypots-– an album I found in my last foray through the Louisiana Music Factory.  I follow that with songs by  Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses and Marva Wright.  

For this show, I emphasized all, or mostly all, women bands and bands fronted by women. Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue scores on both fronts. She has a talented team backing her up including a female bass player and drummer.  In all, I spin 26 tracks by female artists from New Orleans, including Rosie Ledet, Gina Forsyth, Yvette Landry, Dana Abbott, Albanie Falletta, Helen Gillet, and, of course, Irma Thomas.

Also, the best-known (if not only) all female brass band from New Orleans, the Original Pinettes Brass Band crank out their own version of “Who You Gonna Call.”

Inspired by the release of the documentary,  “How They Got Over,”   about African-American gospel quartets and their role in rock n’ roll, I do a set of spirituals starting with the all-female gospel quartet, Southern Harps – – Zion Trinity and Mahalia Jackson fill out that uplifting set.

Stay tuned for my Thanksgiving show which is already in the can and ready to be posted early next week.  Thanks for listening.

Dr. Ford and Joan Jett inspired Gumbo YaYa Show

I can’t imagine the courage it takes to sit in front of a national audience and talk about a painful past trauma, nor can I imagine the determination required to break into a male-dominated pop culture field. Start my show and read on about the two women who subconsciously affected this week’s show.

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Danielle Nicole, bass player and singer for Trampled by Turtles, has a solo career with early recordings hat feature New Orleans musicians.

No theme this week.  I just selected some strong tracks and was getting them lined up on my Thursday morning show.  But that was also the day that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sat before a mostly male Senate panel and talked about a painful episode in her life that she still carries with her today.  With the 24-hour news cycle bombarding me with the latest development, it was hard not to think about her and the courage such action takes.

Add that to my experience the night before where I had attended the premiere of the Joan Jett documentary, “Bad Reputation.”   The story of Jett’s path as a female rocker was enlightening. It was because of her movie that I pulled from the KAOS blues shelf a neglected copy of  Ghalia and Mama’s Boys to kick off the show.  (Actually, I start with  the Radiators but she’s the first one I introduce.)

And in the seething anger of the moment (I broadcast live on KAOS right after “Democracy Now” which on the day of my show reported on stories of women molested by men who got away with it), I picked the track “Hoodoo Evil Man”.

Singer/Songwriter/Rocker Ghalia is from Brussels but she recorded the song in New Orleans with Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys.  That’s close enough for me. Also, in this week’s show, I play other female rockers including Danielle Nicole, who is from Kansas and was lead singer for Trampled by Turtles. Nicole did a release with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore and New Orleans blues-rocker Anders Osborne that included the song, “Didn’t Do You No Good.”

I didn’t set out to do a show focusing on women rockers and to be honest, this show is more spiced rather than infused with women performers. (About once a year, I do an exclusively female show. Here’s the last one.) But this show includes a new release by Kelcy Mae’s latest project, two tracks by Kara Grainger. Aurora Kneeland’s alter ego “Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers,” Gal Holiday, Albanie Falletta, the Original Pinettes, Rosie Ledet, and a rocking song by Irma Thomas.

 

What music will the Louisiana Flood of 2016 inspire?

The pain isn’t over for Baton Rouge and surrounding communities. Even after this once-in-a-millennium flood, the region continues to be hammered by thunderous afternoon storms dumping inches of water followed by the usual tropical heat blast that Louisiana is famous for in late summer.

It’s not as if this area needs any more grist (or precipitation) to sing the blues.

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Dupre and Baudin Streets in New Orleans – Flood of 1927 – From the Historic New Orleans Collection

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 affected over a half million people, displacing 200,000 African Americans along the lower Mississippi River — many of whom joined the Great Migration that carried jazz and blues to Chicago and other northern cities (and ultimately the world.)

The devastation inspired a great many songs, perhaps most notably When the Levee Breaks by Memphis Minnie who was born in Algiers across the river from New Orleans. She wrote and performed the song with her husband Kansas Joe McCoy but you might be more familiar with the Led Zeppelin adaptation of the song.

And of course, there’s Randy Newman’s seminal Louisiana 1927 which became closely associated with the New Orleans flood following Hurricane Katrina — another song-inspiring catastrophe.

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Marva Wright singing at French Quarter Festival 2002 – Photo by C.J. Ryan from her website

Of the many Katrina songs, I think Marva Wright whose eastern New Orleans home was destroyed under eight feet of water best captures the frustration of being stranded in a city surrounded by deep poisonous water and no relief available. Though she was able to leave the city before Katrina, she puts you right up on a baking rooftop waving towels at the helicopters as they fly by in her song The Levee is Breaking Down.  She follows that song up on her album “When the Levees Broke,” with a heart crushing lament called Katrina Blues.

This is the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the city mostly recovered. But now with the Louisiana Flood of 2016, there’s a new recovery effort that is underway and new music being written to chronicle the struggles.

Check my show out this Thursday, I’ll be playing Memphis Minnie, Marva Wright, Zachary Richard and John Boutte’s version of Louisiana 1927. I’m also expecting to get on the phone with  Roddie Romero who fronts the Lafayette-based band, Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars to hear about how things are going over there and to talk about his band’s soon-to-be-released album, “Gulfstream.”