The Wild Tchoupitoulas

The Wild Tchoupitoulas is a definitive expression of the modern New Orleans sound, drawing upon carnival traditions stretching back a century. Music chanted in the streets with tambourines and makeshift percussion is transformed throughout the album into dense electric funk accented by calypso, charanga, and reggae. The album bridges not only genres but generations, linking the improvised flow from group leader George Landry, better known as Big Chief Jolley, to the stacked harmony vocals provided by his nephews Aaron, Art, Charles, and Cyril, the core members of the soon-to-be-formed Neville Brothers. With production from Allen Toussaint and support from The Meters, The Wild Tchoupitoulas presses these old anthems into new arrangements that have since become carnival standards. In the process, the album helped set the terms by which processional second-line music in New Orleans would be commercialized through the record industry and the tourist trade, setting into motion an ongoing process that has raised more questions than it has answered about autonomy, authenticity, and appropriation under the conditions of a new cultural economy.

 Bryan Wagner
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