The boundaries of world music are as limitless as the internet.
Culture cross pollination has brought to life a musical Frankenstein. Strong but sometimes confused.
This extraordinary recording session proposed by Executive Producer, Ruben Williams, bringing Big Chief Monk Boudreaux to Kingston Jamaica, shows no monsters created from the parts found. More of a dream representative of a lifetime living in sprit, despair, celebration, depth of heart and guardianship.
Big Chief (Joseph) Monk Boudreaux’s long and deep roots run from his grandfather, a Cherokee Indian, and his grandmother who was from Haiti. Monk’s first tambourine was made from sticks and bottle caps. He would eventually go on to be a forming member of the legendary Golden Eagles tribe and is now the oldest living MG Indian Big Chief in New Orleans. Monk belongs to a discipline that few of us ever could. A spiritual human grounded to this earth. A guiding force that seems as though he has always been here, and always will be.
On this recording Big Chief wears the clothing and walks in the shoes of the people from his long and sometimes troubled life. He sings about Hope, Love and Understanding. His voice, words and presence translate a language that speaks for itself: Music of the world.
Louisiana and Jamaica have always been hotbeds of music and culture, and they share many things in common. One time ruled by the British, sugar cane production, parish divide, and of course music. It is said that early Ska was created by the sound of radio waves of early rock and roll broadcasted out of New Orleans. Bouncing in transmission across the sea, the sounds became delayed and backwards with an up-beat instead of a down-beat as they came out of transistor radios in Kingston. Others say it was the early R and B and rock and roll of New Orleans musical pioneers fats domino and Luis Jordan being mixed in with calypso and mento music on American military broadcasts.
This project originated in Kingston produced by (. ) and recorded at ( ￼￼. ) with the great Jamaican studio musicians (. )and returned to Louisiana to find its way into the good hands of Tab B and members of the Voice of the wetland allstars And guests (. ) to be mixed with the blues , Cajun, zydeco , and swamp music indigenous to south Louisiana .
The same way it crossed the Ocean in the late 1940s, it’s alive and happening all over again.
“Take me downtown on the battlefield; and when you meet ‘em that morning you’d better not kneel.”
Joseph Pierre “Big Chief Monk” Boudreaux is the leader of the Golden Eagles, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe of New Orleans, Louisiana. Born in New Orleans on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, Boudreaux is a vital figure in the tradition, and has steadfastly distinguished himself as a gifted folk artist and dynamic performing musician through his unwavering dedication to this singular African American culture.
The New Orleans Black Indians emerged in the late 19th century, appearing as various “tribes” or “gangs,” in stunningly elaborate costumes, or “suits,” that combine the visual aesthetics of 19th century American Plains Indians and Afro-Caribbean Carnival revelers. Completely handmade, these suits include brightly colored feathers, intricate beadwork, rhinestones, sequins, satin, and ruffles.
Music and movement are as central to the tradition as is symbolic costuming, or “masking.” The 1956 field recordings by documentarian Samuel Charters first captured the group’s mélange of percussion, hypnotic chanting, and improvisational singing. This musical tradition is expressed through a shared canon of song form, lyrical allusions, Black Indian patois phraseology, and rhythmic structure.