Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mardi Gras Indians Come to UNO Campus

Mardi Gras IndiansMardi Gras Indians wear costumes influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel.

Anyone who's ever heard the Dixie Cups' 1965 pop hit "Iko Iko" and wondered what a "spy boy" or a "flag boy" is may wish to visit the University of New Orleans campus on Friday, where Mardi Gras Indians will perform in full regalia.

Join us!

"Drum Circle: The Beat Goes On," runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Sandbar on campus. The event is free and open to the public with reservation. Seating is limited. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. To reserve a seat, respond to queenreesie@aol.com or call 504-214-6630.

Dressed in wildly colorful hand-beaded and hand-feathered costumes, the Mardi Gras Indian Collective and leading Mardi Gras Indians such as Big Chief Darryl Montana will present "Drum Circle: The Beat Goes On," from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Sandbar on campus. The event is free and open to the public with reservation. Seating is limited. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. To reserve a seat, respond to queenreesie@aol.com or call 504-214-6630.

An integral aspect of New Orleans culture, the Mardi Gras Indian tribes, of which there are now almost 40, originally evolved over a century ago, when groups from African-American neighborhoods devised their own way to participate in the then-all-white Carnival celebrations: wearing elaborate costumes designed to pay respect to Native American tribes, such as the Coushatta and Seminole, who once sheltered runaway slaves on their escapes to freedom. Though rival Mardi Gras tribes once settled scores in street fights on Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras Indians now march through neighborhoods peacefully on parade routes. Sometimes appearing without notice, they perform ceremonial dances, pantomime challenges, and whoop, holler, chant, and sing traditional Mardi Gras songs to Afro-Carribean jazz rhythms.

On Friday at UNO, members of various Mardi Gras Indian tribes will lead a discussion and performance exploring the retention and role of West African drum rhythms and song forms in current Mardi Gras Indian music traditions.

Hosts of the cultural event include: the Guardians Institute, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, the New Orleans Musicians' Assistance Foundation, the College of Liberal Arts, UNO and the UNO Department of Anthropology.

Panelists and performers include: Chief Donald Claude, Sr., Baba Luther Gray,

Cherice Harrison-Nelson, Ajay Mallery, Big Chief Darryl Montana, Big Chief Brian Nelson, Wesley Phillips, Ibrahima Seckand theMardi Gras Indian Collective in full regalia.

The program is supported by New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation, City of New Orleans, NDM, Paige Royer and Kerry Clayton. National Performance Network serves as the fiscal agent for the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame.