Jazz Fest: Cha Wa Hits Refresh on the Mardi Gras Indians Album

It’s hard to know what to think of Mardi Gras Indians in 2016. The neighborhoods that spawned them aren’t what they used to be, and many of the figures who dominated the conversation are gone. Listen to long-time Indians talk and they say new Indians don’t respect traditions and are all chiefs, no followers, but it’s hard to know if some of that is standard issue generational grievances. Because Mardi Gras Indians remain an insular community—even today, certainly by 2016’s oversharing standards—it’s hard to be sure of what’s real.

Cha Wa Helps Merge Carnival and Carnaval with Mixed Results

The isolation that insulated New Orleans’ music for so long died with the Internet. If someone in Salt Lake City wants to know what’s going on here, they can find out instantly with Periscope and almost as quickly through YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Facebook and Twitter. We’re not alone in this. The only truly solitary places left in America are those with limited Internet access. That means New Orleanians are now part of the country and the world in a way that we haven’t been before. Generally, I think that’s a good thing, but not always.

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