Rebirth Brass Band Flourishes After Katrina

The story of Hurricane Katrina can't be told without music, which is at the center of New Orleans culture. After the storm, Morning Edition heard from Phil Frazier, co-founder of the Rebirth Brass Band. Two weeks after Katrina, the band kept their tour dates.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The story of New Orleans can't be told without the music at the center of its culture. After Hurricane Katrina hit, we heard from Phil Frazier, co-founder of the Rebirth Brass Band. All nine members of the band lost their homes and were scattered across the country, but they reunited just two weeks after the storm for the first leg of a national tour, and they didn't drop a single band member or tour date.

Now in New Orleans, they often perform in what are known as second-line parades.

Mr. PHIL FRAZIER (Rebirth Brass Band): A second line is like a moving block party. It's like a (unintelligible) parade, or ongoing party every Sunday.

MONTAGNE: Here's the Rebirth Brass Band performing in one of those moving block parties on an episode of the HBO series "Treme."

(Soundbite of music)

REBIRTH BRASS BAND: ...feel like funkin' it up, feel like funkin' it up. I feel like funkin' it up, feel like funkin' it up. Feel like funkin' it up, funkin' it up...

MONTAGNE: Phil Frazier says New Orleans music has become more popular since the storm thanks to "Treme" and to bands like his.

Mr. FRAZIER: We were one of the bands that kind of stayed together and made it stronger. It's a dying art so we kept it alive.

MONTAGNE: The Rebirth Brass Band has just celebrated its 27th anniversary. Here's one of its classic songs. It's called "Do Whatcha Wanna."

(Soundbite of music)

REBIRTH BRASS BAND: (Singing) Everybody, everybody needs somebody, everybody, everybody needs somebody to hold them, to hold them, like you hold them, like you hold them...

WERTHEIMER: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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