Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins

Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at Noon

Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins presents the standard-bearers of Louisiana culture — musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, music writers, and more — as they talk about the art of making music and the songs that influenced them.

Join us for an appreciation of the truly cross-cultural nature of our region’s music. The musical styles, instruments, and techniques of many peoples and lands come together in New Orleans, like nowhere else.

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Major support is provided by the Historic New Orleans Collection, with additional support from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Singer Quiana Lynell is a natural educator, and from the time the tape started rolling at Esplanade Studios, class was in session. Lesson one: Intro to Scat Singing.

Good scat is based on the art of improvising in counter-melody – taking an established melody and vocalising a different melodic line that reflects directly on the original.

Music Inside Out

The Wonderful World of Ricky Riccard

  

Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring facts about Ricky Riccardi, who directs research collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Collection in Queens, is that he never argued with his parents. Not once. “Why would I fight with these people?” he reportedly told his wife, Margaret, on their first date.

Over the years, guests of Music Inside Out have described any number of approaches to making a living in music. Some have had greater commercial success than others. They’ve hit the top of the record charts and toured the world. Of course, commercial appeal is only one measure of a musician’s contribution to the art form. Talent, musicality, creativity and imprint on culture cannot be discounted. And yet, artists need the approbation that only a steady income can bring.

Robin Barnes
Robin Barnes

Robin Barnes was born and raised in the Lower 9th Ward, shuttling between her parents’ and grandparents’ houses and singing the songs they liked to hear. Armed with a tambourine at the age of six, she charmed her way into her father’s cover band. Since then, she’s grown into a commanding vocalist with a repertoire of gospel, soul and r&b classics, jazz, funk and pop songs, opera and her own compositions. Her 2016 EP Songbird Sessions reached the top five on the Billboard jazz chart. But jazz may be a confining genre for Barnes.

Musicians make great teachers and Music Inside Out is shining a light on some of our favorite faculty:

MIO 101: Lyrics

Jon Cleary
Jesse Hiatt / Music Inside Out

Like most first generation New Orleanians, Jon Cleary, a.k.a. that funky gentleman from the Ninth Ward, has a thoroughly idiosyncratic story of how he came to live in the city and absorb its musical culture. He grew up in England and arrived in New Orleans just in time to hear and meet some of the city’s best known piano players — James Booker, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and others. Back then, Cleary was almost exclusively a guitarist. But he knew enough about the piano to know that he could learn to play it well. And he did.

Bruce Boyd Raeburn is known to most people as the curator of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, a position he held from 1989 until his retirement on January 1, 2018.

Aurora Nealand, by Greg Miles
Greg Miles

Before the composer and multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand takes a job, she’ll ask, “Did you want The Monocle or did you want The Royal Roses?”

Rickie Lee Jones says she moved to New Orleans, in part, because she wanted to be around people. In Los Angeles, she was mostly around cars.

So far, so good. People from New Orleans — either real or imagined — are all over her latest effort, “The Other Side of Desire.” And one of Jones’ neighbors here even helped inspire a song on the album. 

As a piano player and band leader, David Torkanowsky is equally comfortable pushing the edges of jazz, funk, blues and rhythm and blues. Aside from his solo projects, Torkanowsky has collaborated with so many musical legends — Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Danny Barker, Earl Turbington, Tony DaGradi, George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Dianne Reeves and Errol Garner, among them — that he now enjoys his own legendary patina.  

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