Move over Memphis - NOLA knows a thing or two about blues too. Musical giants such as Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Dr. John, Irma Thomas and Professor Longhair have made major contributions to New Orleans’ bustling blues scene. The genre is adored so much in the city that the Jazz & Heritage Foundation hosts an annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival that always features an all-star lineup.
A lively and vibrant genre completely unique to New Orleans, you’ve probably experienced bounce music and didn’t even know it. Chart-topping hits like Beyonce’s rendition of Before I Let Go and Drake’s In My Feelings are just a few hits that are inspired by New Orleans bounce music. Trailblazers in bounce include Magnolia Shorty, Big Freedia, DJ Jubilee and more.
Any New Orleans-based wedding, funeral, Saints victory or second line is sure to come complete with the sounds of a local brass band. Beyond a genre, brass bands signify New Orleans’ unique culture to uplift and celebrate under any circumstances. Brass musicians such as Trombone Shorty, the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Offline Playlist featured), the Soul Rebels, the Original Pinettes and others can be found performing across the city at festivals, conferences, and beyond.
Between the resurgence of Lil Elt’s Get the Gat following LSU’s College Championship Win, the timeless adoration for Juvenile’s Back That Thang Up, the Grammy-nominated Tank and the Bangas or the New Orleans Saint’s signature song Choppa Style by Choppa, New Orleans hip-hop is undefeated. The Crescent City’s contributions to the culture never go unnoticed.
Every big name musician started as an up-and-coming artist. Musicians of all disciplines flock to the Crescent City to get their start, which is what makes New Orleans’ Indie music scene so popular. Venues like One-Eyed Jacks, Vaso, Gasa Gasa and the Music Box Village are a few great places to scope out the city’s bustling underground music scene.
New Orleans is easily the jazz music mecca. Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet are among some of the city’s most celebrated jazz musicians who helped to pioneer the genre. From traditional jazz to dixieland and modern, you can find live jazz across the city at Iconic venues such as the Preservation Hall and Snug Harbor, or the New Orleans Jazz Museum.
A Southwest Louisiana staple that has found its way into the hearts (and ears) of many New Orleanians is Cajun-Zydeco music. The best way it can be described is music that will easily have you on your feet dancing. If you’re ever visiting in June make sure to check out the annual Cajun-Zydeco Festival for a real taste of the popular genre.