As the breeding ground of jazz and funk, New Orleans plays a central role in the history of American music. But what would New Orleans be without its Afro-Caribbean, particularly its Haitian part – what would New Orleans be without voodoo?
The musician and historian Bruce Sunpie Barnes pursues this question in his music. Sunpie was formerly a park warden, actor, biology teacher and football player and – most importantly – Big Chief of the tradition-steeped Mardi Gras group, the “North Side Skull and Bones Gang” in New Orleans. His own high-energy sound-gumbo reflects the melting-pot character of his home: blues, zydeco and voodoo funk meld with a gospel spirit and the chants of the Mardi Gras Indians. His music has taken him and his band far beyond the New Orleans Jazz Fest, where they regularly rock the blues tent, to 35 countries to date.