Spanning four days and three venues, the 4th Annual New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Festival kicks off Wednesday, January 16.
This year’s festival features internationally acclaimed blueswoman, singer and guitarist Samantha Fish. Also on the lineup are Baton Rouge’s Jonathon Long and Shane Speal, considered to be the “King of the Cigar Box Guitar.”
The focus of this unique festival is the handmade instrument. According to organizer Collins Kirby, “in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, the streets and levees of New Orleans, handmade instruments were germane to the birth and early development of both the jazz and blues musical movements. New Orleans’ two most distinguished Blues masters, Little Freddie King and Walter “Wolfman” Washington, both started their musical journey with a handmade instrument.”
He continues, “During the last quarter of the 20th century, musically creative individuals became interested in reviving the art and craft of improvised stringed instruments. Spurred on by the connectivity of the internet, participation in this Do-It-Yourself movement increased greatly in the earliest years of the 21st century, and has now become a full-blown worldwide phenomenon. Specialized websites, groups, parts suppliers and festivals now permeate the landscapes of Europe and North America. The Cigar Box Guitar has risen to the upper levels of mainstream popular music to the extent that celebrities like Steven Segal, Johnny Depp and Sir Paul McCartney have jumped on the bandwagon.”
Events during the 4th Annual Cigar Box Guitar Festival include a kickoff at Chickie Wah Wah, a performance at the Frenchmen Theatre and a party at Checkpoint Charlie’s.
The full list of events and participants can be found at www.NewOrleansCBG.com.