Music Inside Out

Illinois State University

Givonna Joseph and her New Orleans-based troupe, OperaCréole, tackle some of opera's most challenging works with gusto, including early compositions written by free people of color in the United States and Europe. So, in addition to Bizet and Puccini and Verdi and Gershwin, OperaCréole gives full attention to composers Andre Ernest Gretry, Edmond Dede, Lucien Lambert and Samuel Snaer, among others.

In doing so, OperaCréole is continuing one of the nation's longest running opera traditions. New Orleans was home to North America's first opera house.

Wendell Brunious

Sep 12, 2019
Music Inside Out

By his count, Wendell Brunious knows more than 2,000 songs. Some are from the Great American Songbook, some are traditional, swing and bebop jazz gems and many are from the golden era of New Orleans rhythm and blues. A goodly few are homemade. Wendell’s father, John “Picket” Brunious, Sr. was a composer and arranger, as was his brother John, Jr. Wendell says he plays their music to keep them ever-present, but he has his own of stock of originals. Over a more than 50 year-career in the business, he says his number one rule remains, “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Helen Gillet at the Sugar Maple
Art Montes

German artist David Helbich first coined the term “Belgian solutions” when he moved to Brussels in the early-2000s. It refers to the ad-lib alterations to the architecture and infrastructure of the EU capital, which Helbich has made a central theme in his photography.

In case you’re wondering — yes, this is a Best of Music Inside Out program. But the topic is universal. The songs we hear as children — even the ones we don’t like — help shape our feelings about the music we love as adults.

Brian Kern

In funk music everything counts — every note, every beat, every silence, every breath. That’s why musicians who play funk are such masters of understatement. They don’t want to dilute the groove.

Music Inside Out

The Wonderful World of Ricky Riccardi

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.

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?”

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.

Ann Savoy is a lot of things: a musician, scholar, ethnomusicologist, mother, and world traveler. One thing she’s not is boring.

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. 

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