I love music and our unique culture. There’s nothing else like it in the world. There are no people like New Orleans people. We are more of a big family than a mere population. This is why the last 32-plus years of my life and this business of OffBeat have been devoted to supporting New Orleans and Louisiana music and culture—probably longer than some of our readers are old.
There’s little that I love more than listening to music, and hearing and watching live music. There’s something that’s divine that touches my soul and heals my spirit when I listen to music; music has a healing quality that really, truly exists. And it brings us together in a way that big-money sports does not.
Music is a manifestation of a force outside human perception, something that can be said of all great art. And music is art. Many artists, musicians, writers and other creative folk are not necessarily the greatest human beings. Look at people like Miles Davis, Picasso, Charlie Parker. No matter. Talent—the ability to convey deep feeling in music and art—is simply divine and something we mere untalented mortals can’t understand, only appreciate and marvel at.
When I get the opportunity to experience a festival or a band live these days, it’s incredibly thrilling because it’s a rarer experience than when I was younger. 30-plus years takes its toll, unfortunately, on stamina. But not on appreciation.
It totally puzzles me when I realize how many people in my hometown don’t feel the same way as I—as we at OffBeat—do about music. There’s lip service on music’s importance in our lives and culture, how it’s such a “renewable resource” and how our music “is a gumbo” and how it “bubbles up from the streets” and yada yada yada. Mostly, though, I think it’s background music on the radio, or at a party, or blasting out of a bar as a way to entice drinkers. So sad.
Where is the passion? Doesn’t passion mean that you fight for what you’re most in love with? Let’s put a stop to the BS from the business and media lightweights who don’t really give a damn, and use music as the background to their ability to sell the city or to create click bait.
Who among our readers will actually commit to music? To keeping the traditions alive; to supporting musicians and making it easier for them so they can make a good living and continue to make their art; to creating and supporting music and arts education; to committing to giving musicians more places to play, decent places to live and raise families?
Who will commit to demanding a plan and that it be carried out? Enough of the yada yada yada.