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Various Artists - Our New Orleans - Nonesuch

Our New Orleans is a benefit album by the New Orleans greats.The net procedes for this album will go to Habitat for Humanity to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Names like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many others newly recorded each of these songs for this album. On the album website, you can stream a video of the recording sessions as well as interviews by many of the musicians. Many of these amazing musicians had homes, studios, family and friends in New Orleans. The intense emotion is clearly visible in their performances.

Listening to this album and watching the video can only be explained as an eye opening experience. The great talent of these musical greats aside, their stories and their love of this devasted city are completely mind blowing. One can see the great joy and pride these artists have in simply performing their music. The power of the music, from the positive hope in "Yes We Can Can" by Allen Toussaint, who lost his beloved Steinway to the deluge, to the heartwrenching emotion in Irma Thomas rendition of "Back Water Blues" as well as Davell Crawford's "Gather by the River" is simply awe inpiring. The rest of the album is of the same vein: powerful blues songs and utterly joyful jazz.

Everything great about the big easy is captured in this album. Powerful emotions--joy, pride and hope--are all a big part of New Orleans and this record. John Brunious' "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" echoes the emotion in all of these artists' hearts. There's something about this city that simply does not let people go, and it makes for some of the most beautiful music in the world.

Written by Minjoo Kweon

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