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  • Now Available: New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City

    For more than a century, the signature sound of New Orleans has been the brass band — at once a source of celebration, collective expression, and community pride. New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City, brings together for the first time in one recording three musical generations that represent three dominant styles of brass bands. The 15-track, newly recorded collection spans the full spectrum of New Orleans brass band music, both as it exists today and extending back through the tradition’s history. Featured are the classic sound of the Liberty Brass Band, the modern-yet-traditional Treme Brass Band, and the funk, rap, and “bounce” influenced Hot 8 Brass Band. Together, they offer a dynamic portrait of this vibrant and distinctively American tradition.

    Listen to a sneak preview of New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City

    Watch a video of Hot 8 Brass Band:

    With 2015 marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, album producer and Liberty Band leader Dr. Michael White believes that the renewed interest in brass band music is due in part to a wider audience appreciating and preserving the history and culture of the region after the natural disaster. Though many musicians lost their lives, instruments, and personal archives in the storm, this album is a testament to the sheer will of these groups to continue despite hardship.

    The oldest group on Through the Streets of the City is the Liberty Brass Band, formed in 1985. The six songs they contribute, including the 1911 jazz march “Panama” and one of the best-known traditional jazz songs, “Paul Barbarin’s Second Line,” keep alive the spirit of the early brass bands.

    Named after what Dr. White considers one of the oldest traditionally African American neighborhoods in America, Treme Brass Band, founded in 1991, bridges the old and new, ripping though parade favorites like the infectious “Give Me My Money Back,” among others.

    Finally, Hot 8 Brass Band prove why, since forming 15 years ago, they’ve remained arguably the most popular funk-style brass band, with original numbers like hometown ode “New Orleans (After the City)” and the aptly titled “Keepin’ It Funky.”

    Watch a video of Liberty Brass Band:

    This recording is the seventh release in the Smithsonian Folkways African American Legacy Series, co-presented with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City Tracklist:

    1. Paul Babarin’s Second Line - Liberty Brass Band
    2. The Sheik of Araby - Treme Brass Band
    3. Panama - Liberty Brass Band
    4. Liberty Funeral March - Liberty Brass Band
    5. Steamin’ Blues - Hot 8 Brass Band
    6. We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - Treme Brass Band
    7. Keepin’ It Funky - Hot 8 Brass Band
    8. Old Rugged Cross - Liberty Brass Band
    9. Grazing in the Grass - Treme Brass Band
    10. New Orleans (After the City) - Hot 8 Brass Band
    11. Give Me My Money Back - Treme Brass Band
    12. Lily of the Valley - Liberty Brass Band
    13. Shake It and Break It - Hot 8 Brass Band
    14. Amazing Grace - Treme Brass Band
    15. Whoopin’ Blues - Liberty Brass Band
    Now Available: New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings