Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tab Benoit: Hurricanes, oil spills and Cajun blues

world music
A little over a year ago after storm surges from Ike and Gustav almost washed away Terrebonne Parish, Delta bluesman Tab Benoit took the mic in defiance as wisps of wind snaked through the scrim draping the backside of the stage. Friday's early evening crowd stayed put as Benoit offered reassurance that this, the sixth annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival, would continue come hell or high water..."This is our rally. This is our cry for help." Just a few months later, the explosion of British Petroleum's Transocean/DeepwaterHorizon's wellhead took eleven lives, and the subsequent "river" of oil is now poisoning shrimp, oysters, bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles, as well as human livelihoods. The Louisiana Delta, shorelines and marine sanctuaries from Grand Isle to the Florida Keys are in peril, but the men and women profiled in this article are not giving up. New roots singers have joined with their voices. Sadly, this account will not be "outdated" for decades to come.

Georgianne Nienaber talks with Tab Benoit (and also Ann Savoy, Waylon Thibodeaux, Cyril Neville and other musicians who are part of the "Voice of the Wetlands" All-Stars) about the the music, the culture, and the future of the Lousiana coast.

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