Music Rising, a campaign founded in 2005 by U2’s the Edge, legendary producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, as an effort to aid musicians, schools and churches after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina & Rita, announced its support of New Orleans All-Star Jam-Balaya events to be held at the Democratic and Republican Conventions. Kicking off in Denver on August 24 with the Democratic National Convention Committee’s Opening Night Reception and the Friends of New Orleans All-Star Jambalaya at The Filllmore Auditorium, this series of high profile concerts and events will culminate in Minneapolis on September 1, the first day of the Republican Convention, with the Friends of New Orleans All-Star Jam-balaya at the historic First Avenue music venue. These events, along with additional benefit shows in Aspen, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming will showcase the best of Louisiana food and music, while calling attention to the ongoing rebuilding efforts of the Gulf region and immediate need to prevent further loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands in order to preserve the rich cultural and musical history of New Orleans. Artists will be transported to all events by the exclusive Gibson Tour Bus, which will be available on location to the press as a site for interviews with artists and other VIPs.
The DNCC Opening Night Reception, to be held at the Colorado Convention Center, will be open to all 6,000 delegates and will commemorate the 3rd anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It has been designed to provide a natural forum to unite delegates and other convention guests in a festive environment for a worthwhile cause while celebrating the recovery and rebuilding efforts of organizations like Music Rising, Tipitina’s Foundation, Friends of New Orleans and Voice of the Wetlands. "People across the country have poured their heart and soul into helping rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast Region," said Host Committee President/Chair Elbra Wedgeworth. "This event will recognize those efforts, and we hope all of the delegates and guests to the Democratic National Convention will join in this commemorative event." (source: http://www.denver.org/metro/dnc/news-detail?bid=8)
Scheduled to perform at the Democratic National Convention are Academy Award and multiple-Grammy winner Randy Newman, three-time Grammy winner Terence Blanchard, the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars including 2008 Blues Music Awards Contemporary Male Artist of the Year and wetlands activist Tab Benoit, bassist George Porter, Jr.,(of the original Meters), Cyril Neville (of The Neville Brothers), Waylon Thibodeaux, Johnny Sansone, Anders Osborne and Johnny Vidacovich. They will be joined by Irma Thomas, “The Soul Queen of New Orleans”; Marva Wright, “The Blues Queen of New Orleans”; and piano legend Marcia Ball. Also performing are Funky Nation front man Big Sam and trumpeter James Andrews, New Orleans brass band the Soul Rebels and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians.
Later in the evening, these artists will be joined by members of the original Meters for a special reunion at the Fillmore Auditorium, where funk drummer extraordinaire Zigaboo Modeliste, bass legend George Porter, Jr., and (Gibson artist and) guitar master Leo Nocentelli will be joined by Allen Toussaint, pianist Henry Butler, (Gibson) guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and other special guests.
(A special sneak preview of the Broadway-bound new musical, “BROTHER RAY-- the life, the loves and the music of Ray Charles” will feature Tony-nominated performer Brandon Victor Dixon in the title role along with selected members of the NAACP Theatre Awards-winning ensemble.)
To perform at First Avenue in Minneapolis on September 1 are the three original Meters Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Jr., Zig Modeliste with Henry Butler and Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Amanda Shaw, Marva Wright, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, the New Orleans Brass All-Stars with Donald Harrison Jr., Troy Andrews, James Andrews, Kirk Joseph, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi-Gras Indians and Lauren Barrett.
Among the hosts for the Denver Fillmore event are Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, actors Harry Shearer and Wendell Pierce and Democrat strategists James Carville and Donna Brazile. In Minneapolis, the hosts include former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Republican strategist Mary Matalin. Friends of New Orleans Board members Gloria Dittus, Walter Isaacson, Former Congressman Billy Tauzin and actor John Larroquette will host both events.
The events will also serve as the culmination of the Friends of New Orleans’ “Heroes of the Storm” campaign, an effort to honor organizations that have made significant contributions to the recovery and rebuilding effort in the Gulf region. The Heroes announced to date include The Tipitina’s Foundation, Music Rising, Women of the Storm, St. Bernard Project, Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, Citizens for One Greater New Orleans, Beacon of Hope, Café Reconcile, Broadmoor Improvement Association, Idea Village, and New Schools New Orleans.
Events at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver and First Avenue in Minneapolis will be broadcast in New Orleans on WWOZ 90.7 FM and streaming live at wwoz.org. The Fillmore event will also be aired on Jazz 89, KUVO 89.3 FM, Denver.