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Music Rising at Tulane: Preserving the Sound of the Gulf Region

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - New Orleans is known for its rich musical legacy; one that was nearly silenced by Hurricane Katrina.  The founders of “Music Rising” partnered with Tulane University to create an innovative website that preserves the musical traditions of the Gulf Coast region.  The launch was a celebratory affair that drew some big names in the local music scene.  News With A Twist reporter Deepak Saini has the story.

What better way to celebrate music, than to make music?  You can feel the tribal cry of the Mardi Gras Indian in your soul.

Music Rising co-founder Bob Ezrin says, “This region right here was our inspiration.  For us to be able to have something to do with preserving this musical tradition is an honor and a privilege for us.”

A privilege that arose from one of our darkest chapters; Hurricane Katrina.  While the hurricane destroyed nearly everything in her path, she almost silenced New Orleans’ most cherished treasure; its sound.  Music programs were wiped out at schools and the instruments of the city’s most beloved musicians were destroyed.

U2’s The Edge says, “Those musicians were the soul of New Orleans and without the colorful sounds of their music being played, we would have lost one of the most important traditions of not just north America but world music culture.”

In the wake of Katrina, U2’s The Edge and legendary music producer Bob Ezrin founded “Music Rising,” to help musicians who lost everything.  Now, nearly a decade later, they’re launching “Music Rising  at Tulane,” a college curriculum and an innovative website that focuses on the musical cultures of the gulf region.

Musician Trombone Shorty says, “It’s wonderful to be able to go on a website and have people from wherever it may be to learn about our people and culture and music and see how it all makes sense and how it connects to make some of the music that we make today.”

“This is going to be global, I’m telling you, everybody is going to be using this,” says Ezrin.

The site has digitized the Hogan Jazz Archive; one of the most important catalogs in the world.  It also provides information on notable singers and musicians and gives you different ways to learn about each one.  With the Tutti Music Player, you can practice and play with New Orleans musicians.  Trombone Shorty, who’s been part of the project, stopped short of looking for himself.

“No, no, I’m not going to search for myself.  I got a lot more living to do before I do that.  I’ve got to make a major contribution.  I’ll search for everybody else.  I’ll start with Louis Armstrong,” says Shorty.

In that search for Louis Armstrong, you would find a rare audio recording of an interview from the 1960’s.

From iconic Jazz to the Delta Blues with Little Freddie King, and even something as recent as Bounce, it puts some of the regions most influential artists at your fingertips, preserving the sounds of tradition in the digital world.

To browse Music Rising at Tulane, visit:

www.musicrising.tulane.edu