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American Routes Shortcuts: Corey Henry

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Brett Thomas
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This is American Routes Live with New Orleans trombonist Corey Henry and his Treme Funktet  at Marigny Studios, at the edge of the French Quarter. As the name of the band suggests, the Faubourg Tremé is an important part of Corey’s family history and his development as a musician. I asked him about the origins of the group.

Corey Henry: I started the Treme Funktet in 2011 as a way to keep music in the neighborhood and keep music live at the Candlelight. The neighborhood has changed all the time.

Nick Spitzer: It’s near the Quarter; it’s go that new visibility, the TV show, everything affecting it.

CH: Yeah with so much going on, so you know, but it was a way for us to keep music and to be connected through a weekly gig over there at the Candlelight, and very thankful to my cousin, Miss Leona, the late great Miss Leona, you know she gave us the opportunity to come over there and play anytime we wanted.

NS: It feels like the heart of the second line is in this though you can be indoors and dance, you’re just not going down the street.

CH: Yeah I mean we do a lot of clubs like that too so you know like the brass bands all through New Orleans playing the clubs, and that’s the whole vibe right there you know. NS: Do you ever still play a second line?

CH: I still play some yeah.

NS: Maybe just tell people what a second line’s like when you see people in the street you know, and you’re playing with other bands, maybe it’s a memorial, maybe it’s Mothers’ Day, a saint’s day?

CH: Yeah well in New Orleans we celebrate music with everything, but brass band and playing a second line is probably one of the greatest experiences in life, you know. And just to see the energy and the people take the energy so high is almost like being in a big stadium with a million people, you know just seeing everybody put their all into it, you know, everybody just doing their different dances and whatever they have to offer, whatever they want to contribute. You know some people sell food, some people just come to dance, you know, some musicians just come to hang out, become dancers and you know. NS: And then there’s tourists and strangers and all kinds of characters.

CH: All walks of life, yeah, everybody come in and enjoy the music and the whole vibe. It’s a mobile, like a mobile party.

NS: Yeah now what is this, tell me about the name of the dance that takes the name of your recent recording.

CH: Lapeitah.

NS: Yeah.

CH: The Lapeitah, that’s the title of the album, and that’s actually a dance that my father do.

NS: Okay and so what does that mean?

CH: It could mean several different things but I know one thing for sure, it means open up. Everybody clear out.

NS: Here comes the band and the dancers.

CH: Here come the band and the dancers. Yeah, you know, and that’s one of the things that he been doing, and I think the band that he played with, the Royal Players, they gave the dance that name. It’s hard to explain, you gotta see it.

NS: You can’t just say it and read it, you gotta see it.

CH: You gotta see it, it might knock a couple tables over in here.

NS: We got a little bit of room here.

CH: Yeah so we thought it was a great title so.

NS: Alright, well tell us what you got in mind here.

CH: This tune is titled “Soul Dream,” and this is a Greyboy Allstars song.

“Soul Dream” Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet
American Routes Live at Marigny Studios

To hear the full program, tune in Saturdays at 5 and Sundays at 6 on WWNO, or listen at americanroutes.org.