February 2008 Archives
It's nearly March, but the sight of Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday is fresh in my mind. And the Democratic primary race, which tightened that same day, remains a horserace.
My thoughts on how the two subjects intertwine (or not) is expressed in this Village Voice piece:
"It's amazing how much joy and hope these beads and feathers bring."
The Sunday before Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Donald Harrison Jr., Big Chief of the Congo Nation, son of Big Chief Donald Sr., lay on the living-room floor of his mother's house in the Ninth Ward, cutting leopard-print fur in a pattern as he spoke. Nearby, a sofa and chair were covered with beads and rhinestones, along with ostrich and turkey feathers that had been dyed a golden yellow. Harrison was preparing to "mask," to enact the city's least-understood tradition, and these days, perhaps, its most essential: Mardi Gras Indian culture. These rituals, which date to at least the mid-1800s, are an African-American homage to the Native Americans who once sheltered runaway slaves and to the spirit of resistance.
The calendar was pointed in its irony this year: Elsewhere, February 5 marked Super Tuesday....
For the full piece, click here or read on.
Given Herbie Hancock's surprising Best Album Grammy win, I thought I'd forward this piece I wrote late last year about the recording, for Jazziz magazine's Jan/Feb. issue.