Copyright ©2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Of all the cities in America that welcome street performers, New Orleans, with its history of jazz and bands at Mardi Gras might be the one that most embracers buskers. It also city that has a lot of flair. So, it's not surprising to find Clyde Casey there in our continuing Music Al Fresco series. Clyde Casey's created a contraption that's mobile but also a combination of found objects turned into percussion instruments. He's been playing his beats on the streets of New Orleans for more than 40 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CLYDE CASEY: Yeah, what I have right here is propane tank, and I got a big bass drum.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUMMING)

CASEY: And then I've got, like, a whole series of other tom-toms...

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUMMING)

CASEY: Then I got the snare drums. And I got these right here...

(SOUNDBITE OF CLANGING)

CASEY: It's just pretty much kitchen colanders. And then what I have right here, the bells, are Magnalites. It's a pot lid.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASEY: You know, they're sweet, sweet sounds.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASEY: I sit inside of it and so I'm able to pedal and play this. This is four wheels. It's a quadcycle. And I'm able to pedal and play.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASEY: When I came down to New Orleans in 1977, I didn't know anything about the city. I had no idea as to what New Orleans was all about. And the first Mardi Gras was coming up, and everybody was talking about Mardi Gras. And I didn't know what Mardi Gras was. I didn't know anything about street theater, busking or anything. But I was inspired by the energy of that Mardi Gras. That Mardi Gras was just - it blew me away. I had never experienced anything like that. So, what happened is I took the drum and I went out in the street. The next day, I added cowbells, cymbals, wood blocks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASEY: One great thing about this city is that you can actually stand outside of the clubs and pick up on all of the different genres that's going on, the Dixieland and the Cajun and the jazz and this kind of stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASEY: The street has that kind of a magic here. In any city, there's a lot of great stuff going on indoors, but what's really great about New Orleans is that there's a wealth of theater that's outdoors. And so the one thing about the city is that it allows a lot of expression to happen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Clyde Casey, a New Orleans street performer from our summer series Music Al Fresco. You can see a slideshow of Clyde Casey and hear more of his beats at npr.org. This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: