As the muddy Mississippi winds its way past us in New Orleans, we’re reminded of the power and place of these waterways in American culture. First, we seek the source of the mighty river at the headwaters in Minnesota. Then listen to stories of steamboat captains, riverboats and rural fisherman. And learn about New Orleans own relation to the river with Tulane professor Richard Campanella. Plus river tales from Captain Doc Hawley, Aaron Neville and Al Green.
We’re seeking out the “American” in American music with two eclectic artists: Elvis Costello and Carla Bley. For British songman Elvis Costello, American music has shaped much of his musical creativity. We’ll hear about his love of American country and blues, his musical upbringing in Liverpool, and his current fascination with P.T. Barnum. For the inventive and eccentric jazz composer Carla Bley, the National Anthem proves an unlikely source of inspiration. Bley brings wry humor to a conversation about the challenges of writing for her very big bands, her early days as a cigarette girl in NYC jazz clubs, and why America might be famous for baked beans.
A conversation with a man of many talents: songwriter, actor, boxer, military man, among many titles, Kris Kristofferson, reflecting on his life in music, his songwriting craft, and the nature of gratitude for his life’s adventures, as expressed in his recent album, Feeling Mortal.
Join us on the festival grounds in Lafayette, LA for the 25th annual Festival International. We’ll sample outstanding live performances in Cajun, Creole, Latin and Blues, including Keb’ Mo’, Sonny Landreth, and Steve Riley. Be sure to get out your dancing shoes for cumbia with Miami’s Locos Por Juana, two-steps with Yvette Landry and Cajun waltzes with the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Plus an all-star South Louisiana tribute to the best of swamp pop, Cajun classics and zydeco.