Friday, September 16, 2005

Ray Davies on New Orleans

Ray Davies, of the Kinks - the best rock band ever to come out of England, discusses his impressions of New Orleans:
At the time of my shooting I was trying to develop a musical event for a local school in New Orleans to raise funds for instruments and new uniforms for them to wear at Mardi Gras. Music, particularly in the school marching bands, gives many of the kids down there an opportunity to participate in the local community. This in turn raises their expectations and it is to be hoped, stops them descending into the local drug and gang culture waiting around the corner. I was due back later in the year to put on a show for Thanksgiving to raise a few extra bucks for the community. This all seems so trivial now.

But the reality is that without its music New Orleans would have been a forgotten city long ago. The music of the American South inspired me and helped to shape me as a musician. They say that jazz started on Perdido Street in New Orleans and even Louis Armstrong honed his trade in the honky-tonks on Bourbon Street.

I owe as much to music of the Southern states as I do to the British music that inspired me. If New Orleans is allowed to die, a crucial part of the world’s musical heritage will disappear.

He also has a 4-track EP, The Tourist, due out September 26.

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