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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Gettin' Ready for Mardi Gras

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Trombone Shorty "Gettin' Ready For Mardi Gras"

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If you've stumbled onto this then you already have a little party inside of you that needs to come out. Words like "Mardi" and "Gras" mean little on their own, but together they make you pause. You may not drink bourbon, but Bourbon Street makes you thirsty at the thought. And the very notion of New Orleans gets you ready for a good time. I know it, I'm a little the same, but I really love the music that comes into play with these little word games, and that's part of the reason why we've got these Mardi Gras Moments on the air here at 88Nine. 

Yesterday, I blogged Al Johnson and his seminal song "Carnival Time," an undying tribute to the moment that is Mardi Gras, while today I had to get younger as we come to terms musically, with what this shindig is all about. That is to say tradition, which is just another way of saying roots. And the root of Mardi Gras is deeper than just New Orleans, it's in Tremé, one of the city's oldest and coolest neighborhoods.

In the beginning, it was a savage greeting to a new and horrible home for many Africans, home of one of the South's biggest slave markets. But  as the slave trade died down, it blossomed into a haven for people of color and home to one of the city's liveliest plazas, Congo Square. Congo Square, now inside Louis Armstrong Park, was where people of color gathered to make music and dance. Guess they made enough of a racket to bring the rest of the city into its musical sphere. It may have been on the back end of town, but the music was there, so were the parties, so there went the people, because that's where the fun was going down. Makes sense that Mardi Gras would start here...

Matter of fact, Tremé always was the musical soul of NOLA; many of her musicians were from there and that tradition is still alive today. That's where and why we played Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews today. He grew up in Tremé and earned his little nickname as a kid playing trombone in the Second Line with all the other Mardi Gras Indians  on Mardi Gras Day. Well the kid is grown, but Trombone Shorty is here to play music from his home, his root. "Gettin' Ready For Mardi Gras" is exactly what we doing, and the song is another great pre-party primer. 

The real Mardi Gras may be half a continent away, but we gonna party anyway. Join 88Nine at Turner Hall on March 8th for a Fat Tuesday Party with Mucca Pazza and the DJ's of 88Nine and we'll have our own good time...

- next up on Mardi Gras Moments, Dr. John