Krewe du Kanaval
Curated by Preservation Hall's Ben Jaffe
The many tributaries of the music of the Black Caribbean, from its most ancient forms to its most modern hybrids, is a major part of Big Ears this year. Nowhere is this focus more splendidly clear than in Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Krewe Du Kanaval.
As the living embodiment of the acoustic New Orleans jazz tradition, the generations of Preservation Hall had learned as much as they could about the music from the city itself. In recent years, exploratory travels into Cuba and Haiti have led to acclaimed documentaries and albums where the band delves deeper than ever into its native soil. The glee of discovery is palpable as they find roots that lead all the way to West Africa, to France, to many diasporic places.
In 2018, they joined Regine Chassagne and Win Butler of Arcade Fire to inaugurate the annual Krewe Du Kanaval in New Orleans. A celebratory tribute to the parades, costumes, and music of Creole culture, it will be tailored to The Mill & Mine by Ben Jaffe, the creative director of Preservation Hall. Taking place in and around the venue, the immersive, episodic experience brings together Haitian music heavyweights from across the festival for an experience replete with unique sets and decorations; drumming, dancing, and chance encounters; and DJs deepening the NOLA-Haiti connection. In addition to Preservation Hall, the lineup includes 79rs Gang, who fuse Mardi Gras Indian music with hip-hop; Lakou Mizik, the leading acoustic Haitian roots-music revivalists; RAM, the globally renowned group that electrified vodou music; Congolese-Canadian DJ Pierre Kwenders, and Sporty’s Brass Band, of the best second-line units in New Orleans.