Once again the Parque Garota de Ipanema in Arpoador will be transformed into a slice of Louisiana, or to be more precise, of the state’s cultural and musical capital, New Orleans. With ten years under its belt, the Bourbon Street Fest 2012 features a set of free, open air gigs bringing the US city’s vibrant musical styles to Rio.
Inspired by New Orleans’s Jazz & Heritage Festival, the idea is to demonstrate the US city’s broad range of musical genres, which goes far beyond jazz. Packed with musical idiosyncrasies spawned by the encounter between French and African immigrants, New Orleans continues to produce flavourful and authentic rhythms such as dixieland, zydeco and others derived from Creole culture, blues, funk and soul.
‘The goal of the festival is to present a musical panorama of New Orleans,’ says Edgard Radesca, Bourbon Street’s director and one of the curators of the festival, in which prestige is favoured over novelty – most of the bands have appeared in previous editions of the festival, and been a hit, so they’ve been invited back.
From trombones to banjos, 2012’s selection ranges from the contemporary jazz of saxophonist Donald Harrison (12 Aug, 4pm), to the Dixieland sounds of Orleans St. Jazz Band, who open the festival on Sunday 12 August at 3.30pm. This year the festival also takes to Oi Futuro's Ipanema stage for evening shows by the Monte Alegre Hot Jazz Band and a blues outing from Henry Butler.
Among the festival’s highlights, listen out for the booming voice of Grandpa Elliott, the frontman, blind in one eye, of the Playing for Change Band (13 Aug at 8.30pm). The group, composed of former street musicians from around the world, staged a campaign that swept the internet with a moving ‘work in progress’ version of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by Me’ (watch it on youtube.com).
Another of the curator’s top tips is Bonerama (12 Aug, 5.30pm), a brass band that takes a unique approach to the genre, to say the least. The band plays rock songs, such as Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’, with three trombones, each tuned in a different ke.
The best of Bourbon Street Fest gigs
Parque Garota de Ipanema, Arpoador:
Bonerama, 12 August at 5.30pm
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, 12 August, 7pm
Tony Hall & The Heroes, 13 August, 7pm
Playing for Change Band, 13 Aug at 8.30pm
Oi Futuro, Rua Visconde de Pirajá 54, Ipanema:
Monte Alegre Hot Jazz Band, 14 August, 7.30pm