Afro-Louisiana Music
and Carnival Traditions

Overview

In this four-week, critical music history and appreciation workshop designed for both musicians and non-musicians, students will be taken through a journey into Afro-Louisiana music. Beginning with a unit on transcending bondage, which shares the power of work songs and spirituals, the workshop will cover the influence of Creole culture on the development of traditional jazz in New Orleans, and the rise of Louisiana R&B and zydeco. In the final week, students will learn about the Black carnival traditions of New Orleans with special emphasis on the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, the instructor’s own carnival organization. A wonderful opportunity to learn the rhythms that pulse through our region.

Textbook: Le Kèr Creole: Creole Compositions and Stories from Louisiana

Instructor:

Bruce Sunpie Barnes

Bruce Sunpie Barnes, a song-writer, accordionist, and harmonic player, has traveled the world playing music based in the Afro-Louisiana tradition with his band Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots. For a number of years, he also toured with Paul Simon and Sting. In addition to many full-length albums of original and traditional music, he is the co-author of the Neighborhood Story Project books Talk That Music Talk: Passing on Brass Band Music the Traditional Way (2014) and Le Kér Creole: Creole Compositions and Stories from Louisiana. A founding interpretive park ranger with the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, he has developed musical programs for a wide-range of audiences and participants. He is also the Big Chief of the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, and a member of the Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club.