Mardi Gras Indians march through the crowd at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The Mardi Gras Indians are a mainstay of New Orleans culture, marching alongside brass bands in the annual Mardi Gras parades.
Sean Gardner /Getty Images
Musician Don Vappie & the Creole Serenaders perform during the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images
Rick Diamond/Getty Images
John Boutte performs at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience festival, held in New Orleans City Park.
A Mardi Gras Indian performs at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience festival, held in New Orleans City Park.
Leo Nocentelli of The Meters performs at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience festival, held in New Orleans City Park.
Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and a longtime student of music from around the world.
Louisiana music has such a hold on music lovers around the world that nearly every popular artist borrows from it. Or replicates it. Or, some might say, steals from it.
There's plenty to go around. From classical to Cajun and blues to bounce, Louisiana has expanded the American songbook while teaching the rest of the planet to "shake dat thing." And we haven't even mentioned Louis Armstrong yet.
But here's the secret: Louisiana musicians have been borrowing and replicating and, okay, stealing from other musical traditions outside the state from the very beginning. That's how music works. WWNO's new show, Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins, focuses on people in Louisiana who have devoted their lives to making great music. Guests talk about what inspires them, what jazzes them up, what they can't stand listening to and what they can't live without.
With this mix, NPR Music presents a cross-section of songs and interviews from the show. So, by all means, let it inspire you — to dream up ideas for your own music, or to "shake dat thing."
If you're viewing this on a mobile device, download the NPR Music app to enjoy this mix in the Radio section.
Check out the show:
Episode #1: Three Degrees of David Torkanowsky
Episode #2: Tickling the Ivories with Deacon John Moore
Episode #3: Givonna Joseph and OperaCréole
Episode #4: Irma Thomas' Sound
Episode #5: Don Vappie's Banjo Beat
Connect with Music Inside Out on Facebook and Twitter.
Songs In This Mix:
- Al Johnson & The Soul Apostles, "Carnival Time"
- Allen Toussaint & Elvis Costello, "Ascension Day"
- Allen Toussaint, "Egyptian Fantasy"
- Allen Toussaint, "On Your Way Down"
- Allen Toussaint, "Solitude"
- Allen Toussaint, "Tipitina and Me"
- Allen Toussaint, "Brickyard Blues"
- Anders Osborne, "Louisiana Gold"
- Art Neville, "Please, Please Don't Leave Me"
- Astral Project, "Foxy Roxy"
- Blue Lu & Danny Barker, "Don't You Feel My Legs"
- Bobby Charles, "Save Me Jesus"
- Bonerama, "When the Levee Breaks"
- Bonnie Raitt & Jon Cleary, "I'm in Love Again, All By Myself"
- Branford Marsalis Quartet, "The Ruby and the Pearl"
- Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, "Cut You Loose"
- Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, "Baby What You Want Me to Do / That's Allright"
- Carol Fran, "Tou' Les Jours C'est Pas La Meme"
- Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, "Express Yourself"
- Chick Webb and His Orchestra, "Liza, Let the Clouds Roll By"
- Chuck Berry, "Maybelline"
- Coco Robicheaux, "Burn My Bones"
- Daniel Lanois, "The Maker"
- David Torkanowsky, "Patrocenio"
- Deacon John, "Going Back to New Orleans"
- Don Vappie, "Careless Love"
- Don Vappie, "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise"
- Dr. John, "Me - You = Loneliness"
- Dr. John, "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights"
- Duke Ellington & Louis Armstrong, "Azalea"
- Duke Ellington & Louis Armstrong, "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me"
- Earth Wind & Fire, "Fantasy"
- Eastman Wind Ensemble featuring Wynton Marsalis, soloist, "Quiet City" (Aaron Copland)
- Eddie Bo, "When the Saints Go Marching In"
- Ellis & Branford Marsalis, "Laura"
- Erroll Garner, "Up in Erroll's Room"
- Freddie Hubbard, "Carnaval"
- Free Agents Brass Band, "Made It Through That Water"
- Galactic, featuring Allen Toussaint, "Bacchus"
- Galactic, featuring Irma Thomas, "Heart of Steel"
- Galactic, featuring Katey Red and Sissy Nobby, "Katey vs. Nobby"
- Howlin' Wolf, "Spoonful"
- Irma Thomas, "Done Got Over It / Iko Iko / Hey Pocky Way"
- Irma Thomas, "Ruler of My Heart"
- Irma Thomas, "Shelter in the Rain"
- Irma Thomas, "Wish Someone Would Care"
- James Booker, "Classified"
- James Booker, "Goodnight Irene"
- James Booker, "So Swell When You're Well"
- James Brown & Luciano Pavarotti, "It's a Man's World"
- James Brown & The Famous Flames, "Think"
- Joan Osborne featuring Allen Toussaint, "Shoorah! Shoorah!"
- John Boutté featuring Opera Creole, "Hallelujah"
- John Boutté, "American Tune"
- John Boutté, "Treme Song"
- John Coltrane, "Naima"
- John Lee Hooker, "Boom Boom"
- Johnny Adams, "Blue Gardenia"
- Johnny Adams, "Reconsider Me"
- Keith Jarrett, "The Koln Concert, Part I"
- Lena Horne, "Come Runnin'"
- Levon Helm, "Kingfish"
- Levon Helm, "That's Alright"
- L'il Rascals Brass Band, "Buck It Like a Horse"
- Louis Armstrong, "The Bare Necessities"
- Louis Prima, "Buona Sera"
- Louis Prima, "Jump, Jive an' Wail"
- Lucinda Williams, "If Wishes Were Horses"
- Lucinda Williams, "Jackson"
- Mahalia Jackson, "I'm On My Way" (Live)
- Maria Muldaur, "Why Are People Like That"
- Muddy Waters, "Louisiana Blues"
- Neville Brothers, "Big Chief"
- Olu Dara & The Natchezippi Band, featuring Donald Harrison Jr., "When I See You"
- Percy Mayfield, "Louisiana"
- Pet Shop Boys, "Being Boring"
- Preservation Hall Jazz Band, "Corinne Died on the Battlefield"
- Professor Longhair with Earl King, "Big Chief"
- Professor Longhair, "Good Rockin' Tonight / Shake Rattle and Roll / Sick and Tired (Live at Tipitina's)
- Randy Newman, "Every Time It Rains"
- Randy Newman, "The One You Love"
- Rotary Downs, "False Protection"
- Rotary Downs, "Promised Land"
- Ruth Brown, "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean"
- Shamarr Allen, "Mr. Old Man"
- Shirley & Lee, "Let the Good Times Roll"
- Taj Mahal & The New Orleans Social Club, "My Girl Josephine"
- Terence Blanchard, "Over There"
- Terrance Simien & The Mallet Playboys, "Don't Wanna Cry No More"
- The Band, "Acadian Driftwood"
- The Band, featuring Bobby Charles & Dr. John, "Down South in New Orleans"
- The Boswell Sisters, "Mood Indigo"
- The Meters, "Cissy Strut"
- The Meters, "Here Comes the Meter Man"
- Tommy Ridgely, "Looped"
- Trombone Shorty & James Andrews, "Ooh Poo Pah Doo"
- Trombone Shorty, "Back in Black"
- Village Block Party, "Wit Da Saints"
- Wilhelmina Fernandez, "Deep River"
- Wynton Marsalis, "Dippermouth Blues"