NEW ORLEANS WILL Celebrate Our Music Roots

Visitors travel far and wide to experience the eclectic, top-notch music of Jazz Fest every year, and the jam-packed concerts afford locals something very special. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation uses the money from Jazz Fest ticket sales to bring locals several FREE concerts and festivals throughout the year that celebrate our culture and traditions. Coming up March 22-23, one of those festivals is the Congo Square Rhythms Festival.congo square rhythms festival new orleans music

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the Congo Square Rhythms Festival in Louis Armstrong Park, you can join in the celebration of our diversity and the many different traditions that helped form the one-of-a kind music in our culture today. You’ll be able to see performances from singer/ngoni player Kokanko Sata from Mali, local electric kora band Buku Broux, Cuban group Los Caballeros del Son, New Orleans reggae band Zion Trinity, and a special collarboration between multi-ethnic, world travelling group NationBeat with the Mardi Gras Indians group Cha Wa. New Orleans hip hop artists Mannie Fresh, Curren$y, Dee-1 and rapper 3D Na’Tee will also be performing.

Further exploring and celebrating world rhythms, the festival will feature performances of traditional and modern dance from Kumbuka, N’Fungola Sibo, Tekrema, Culu, N’Kafu, and the New York dance troupe Bambazo Dance Co.

Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective

Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective (photo from asmythie on Flickr)

Each day opens with drum circles for all to join, and the festival will also host the annual “battle” of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. There will be local arts and crafts vendors and plenty of African, Asian, Caribbean, and of course, local New Orleans food to enjoy.

The Congo Square Rhythms Festival is a perfect example of the way that the benefits of tourism can come full circle back to us to strengthen our city and our bonds with each other, not to mention affording us the opportunities to honor and celebrate our history and traditions.