On Saturday, December 17, the Live from Southampton Arts Center series continues with 100 Years of New Orleans Music, a concert by local band the Hoodoo Loungers that brings a retrospective of the long evolution of the New Orleans, Louisiana, sound.
The event will offer a wide range of music with lectures by band members and catered food that reflects the culture. Local drummer Claes Brondal, who coordinates the concert series, and founding member of the Hoodoo Loungers Joe Lauro sat down for an interview recently in Sag Harbor to discuss the scope of this weekend’s concert.
Mr. Lauro’s passion for this music brought together the Hoodoo Loungers six years ago. He believes New Orleans music isn’t just a genre, but a lifestyle.
“In New York, in an area like this there’s parades of course, but there’s parades on St. Paddy’s Day, Columbus Day—you know, holidays,” Mr. Lauro said. “It’s different in New Orleans. Partying, parading, and celebrating isn’t something you do on occasions, it’s a way of life. The whole culture is about this celebration.”
Mr. Lauro and Mr. Brondal will deliver insight to each era of music that they will highlight over the course of the concert.
“It’s a musically but also culturally driven experience. …” Mr. Brondal said. “It’ll be an experience for the senses.”
Mr. Lauro founded the Hoodoo Loungers with a vision to create unique musical experiences. He noted that he has a CD in the works with beats from the Caribbean Islands and rhythms from the streets of New Orleans.
Mr. Brondal made his name in the local music community by creating the Jam Session with the help of his partner, John Landes. The Jam Session is a nonprofit organization that offers weekly musical performances on the East End. Mr. Brondal explained how he brings in special guest performers to Jam Session shows to change up the scene, and so audience members will listen outside of their comfort zones.
“I wanted it to be active, so it became a jam session. It has become a social club, a gathering point for musicians and non-musicians to gather once a week to listen to music together unrehearsed, spur of the moment,” Mr. Brondal said.
The Jam Session puts on shows at Bay Burger in Sag Harbor on Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m.
“There’s a really vibrant—and it seems to be getting stronger—music community out here,” Mr. Lauro said. “It’s really wonderful. I’ve seen it develop and Claes is a big part of it. By having a regular gig where people can get up and play, it’s important.”
100 Years of New Orleans Music is the third Live from Southampton Arts Center concert of 2016. The first concert was dubbed Latin from Manhattan, featuring Afro-Cuban Jazz. The second, Music of Mali: A Groove Odyssey, welcomed the world funk band Luma.
“These concerts are about collaborations and showing our community the wealth of music that is right under our nose,” Mr. Brondal said.
The musicians’ main goal is to make people happy, and New Orleans music does just that, Mr. Lauro emphasized. At Saturday’s concert, the musicians will come down off the stage and play in the crowd. Mr. Lauro and Mr. Brondal’s plan is to recreate what really goes on down in New Orleans, while getting the audience involved.
“If we can bring one small degree of what that music has and relay it to the people that are there, I think they’ll have a good time,” Mr. Lauro said. “In these times, you need some good things to reaffirm the beauty of what human beings can do for each other, and music is clearly one of the top ones.”
100 Years of New Orleans Music is set for Saturday, December 17, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. For information and tickets, visit southamptonartscenter.org or call 631-283-0967. Tickets begin at $10 with catered food from Union Cantina.