The Mix: New Orleans, Inside OutThis mix presents a cross-section of songs and interviews from New Orleans' Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins, whichfocuses on people in Louisiana who've devoted their lives to music. Hear songs that have inspired any number of musicians, not to mention countless dancing fans.
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.
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.
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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."