The Music Mystery
New Orleans, Louisiana
Some people say that New Orleans is mysterious. But I don't know. There's lots of music, lots of delicious food - I understand all of those things! Now math class: THAT'S mysterious.
UPDATE: Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans after we visited. I wanted to let you know that all our friends there are safe! Colin and his family evacuated. He's now at a school in Connecticut. Brittany, Niya, and their families made it to Atlanta, and are all well.
New Orleans has a groove all its own. Los Viajeros wrote a song about that. It's called You've Got the Groove. They're right - I DO have the groove!
I met a boy named Colin in a second-line parade. Colin says that's a parade to celebrate someone's life. It's like a funeral, with drum playing, jazz, and dancing. It's an African tradition.
We saw a drum circle, too. Drummers get together to play and dance. It sounds great! The drummers we saw played in Congo Square, which used to be a meeting place for slaves.
We visited a Baptist church choir. It was led by Brittany. She's only a teenager, but she's amazing! She's a great leader. The whole choir follows her. She's kind of like the conductor of a symphony.
Brittany showed me her secret signals! If she wants the choir to start singing, she puts one hand over her head. Closed fists mean "end the song." If she moves side to side, the whole choir sways with her!
Arthur e-mailed me! He wants to start using secret hand signals, too. That way we can plot our daring escapes, just like James Hound!
Colin said that drumming in Africa is not only for dancing. Different rhythms can mean different things, like "fire," or "danger," or "stampede." I wonder if there's a rhythm for "I could really use a snack"?
Then I saw stilt dancing! The dancers are 13 feet tall! I met a girl named Niya. Her father taught her to stilt dance. His father taught him. It's a family tradition that began in Ivory Coast in Africa.