#worldgeochat Playlist - 2.9.2016

TOPIC: Project Based Learning + a celebration of Mardi Gras & NOLA Culture.

Tonight's #worldgeochat on Project-based Learning led me to create a playlist that was in itself a project and celebration. I decided to focus on the culture of New Orleans, being that today was Mardi Gras!

Below I have presented information about the specific cultures that created New Orleans.

Mardi Gras from "Rock 'N' Roll Gumbo", by Professor Longhair

At the end, I will give my summary on how this applies to Project-based Learning. Please feel free to comment and offer ideas for improvement.   

Cultural Overview

Just as a New Orleans Gumbo is a unique mix of Native American, African, French, Spanish and British flavors, so to is the music. 

The Native American Influence


The Mardi Gras Indians are a ceremonial tradition in New Orleans. They parade and sing chants to support their community. 

For more information. Click Here


The Wild Tchoupitoulas were originally a group of Mardi Gras Indians formed in the early 1970s by George Landry. With help from local New Orleans musicians The Meters, The Wild Tchoupitoulas recorded an eponymous album, which featured the "call-and-response" style chants typical of Mardi Gras Indians.


The Mardi Gras Indians had many influences. One of which were the Choctaw's of the Mississippi delta region. 

This is taken from the album: Choctaw-Chickasaw Dance Songs Vol. I produced by Buster Ned and Sweetland Productions in the 1970s. Ned was a prolific leader in trying to maintain and restore many Choctaw and Chickasaw aspects of ceremonial life. The leader for this dance is Ardis Mose.

The Spanish Influence

The first Europeans to settle the Crescent City were the Spanish who brought the "Spanish Tinge", a rhythm that is ubiquitous in the Americas.  You can hear it in this piece by Jelly Roll Morton, one of the first composers of Jazz music. 


"Spanish Tinge" = the Habanera Rhythm 




The Habanera in Bizet's Carmen.

Maria Callas - Habanera - Carmen - Bizet Carmen Habanera is an aria from the French opéra comique by Georges Bizet. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée.

The African Influence

The Second non-native culture to come to the crescent city were the African Slaves who were first brought by the Spanish.  

MaryAnn Golden Christopher was a key player in the preservation of traditional dancing on the US Virgin Islands, namely Bamboula dancing. Bamboula is a dance that came with the slaves from West Africa when they first came to the Caribbean, and variations of this dance appear throughout the Caribbean.

Under the Spanish and French rule, the African Slaves would meet in Congo Square on Sundays in New Orleans. The Africans were able to share and preserve their culture, music and dance.  Here's a history in song -->


The first documentation of the music of congo square was actually a classical piece named after the dance Bamboula.

The French Influence

The third non-native culture was the French and their string & accordion music.

Another song from the Boucherie out in Eunice, Louisiana, Cajun Country! With our famous musicians: Christine Balfa, Dirk Powell, David Greely, Wilson Savoy, Manolo Gonzales, Freddy Hanks, Stu...


Ultimately, the French culture of Louisiana became the Cajuns, Acadians (through migration) and the Creoles. 

The Brass Bands

New Orleans Brass Bands are a mixture of centuries of cultural influences. Even today, they are still evolving and expanding into new sonic and cultural territories. 


Brass Bands of the Civil War were the early form. The music was purely European military marches. Who knew what the ensemble would become in the hands of the New Orleans culture? 


Brass Bands played an important role during the Civil War providing martial music for dress parades, serenades for officers and music of home for the troops. Music recorded by the Federal City Brass Band, one of the top Civil War bands in the U.S. today.


Significant Content: Cultural History of Mardi Gras and New Orleans

Driving Question: What specific cultures helped to create New Orleans music and Culture?

Student Voice: I, as the student, was able to chose my focus and the design of my presentation. 

21st Century Skills: I analyzed media and integrated it with relevant content. 

Inquiry Innovation: Meaningful learning. 

Feedback and Revision: Considering I started this at 4pm this afternoon I will call it a draft.  I am open to all suggestions on how I could revise and deepen, while also making this a viable project for students.

Publicly Presented Product: In addition to being a blog post, the information was also presented as a part of #worldgeochat.