Nola, the Heart and Soul of American Music
I can still hear the trumpets, the trombones, the saxophones, the tubas, and that smooth clarinet sound. I can hear the voices singing, speaking to me, continuing a tradition. I sat on the floor at the feet of the greatest musical performance I have ever witnessed. I smiled from ear to ear with a tear in my eye and my heart beating out of my chest. Founded in 1961 in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, Preservation Hall certainly looked and felt its age. It was as if I had traveled back into history, and it was beautiful.
In these times of advanced technology and thoughtless, emotionless music, it was a spiritual experience to sit in a room and see a band of musicians playing without any technology. Just the wind from their breath, the rhythm in their hand and the passion in their heart.
There’s no photography from the public allowed in Preservation Hall, at least not of the musicians. At first, I was quite disappointed by this. But within a few minutes the thought had passed and I was in a trance. Looking back now, I am grateful to have witnessed the show with my full attention. Not worrying about getting the perfect shots or the low lighting or any of the numerous things photographers constantly think about. I was free; I was one with the music. There are no fitting words to describe the feelings I had in that old room. I will say, it was among the greatest nights of my life and will always be.
Thank you Preservation Hall, thank you to the Preservation Players, and thank you Kevin Lewis.
Kevin Lewis was the youngest, close to my age I’m sure. An amazing trumpet player with a voice so full of soul, carrying the flame for the younger generation. When it was over I was able to thank him personally, and he thanked me in return.That night was the highlight of my few days spent in the Crescent City. It was a beautiful and gritty place. I didn’t get as deep into the city as I would have liked, but we explored as much as we could in our short time. I talked with some sweet people and snapped a lot of photos. I had my fill of Abita beer and raw oysters and I tried the famous Beignets. There are so many wonderful street musicians and young beautiful people playing the old music with their own flare and passion, it’s a shame that there’s not more of it all over the world.
I love the music of New Orleans; it will forever be in my heart.
Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns