Allons à Louisiane: 60 Years of Arhoolie in Louisiana
PRESS RELEASE: March 29, 2023
CONTACT: John Leopold, Managing Director – 831-566-0122
“Allons à Louisiane: 60 Years of Arhoolie in Louisiana”
to open at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The Arhoolie Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive are proud to announce a co curated exhibition at the 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Allons à Louisiane: 60 Years of Arhoolie in Louisiana. The exhibition showcases the Louisiana photographs of Chris Strachwitz, founder of Arhoolie Records and one of the most celebrated documentarians of American roots music over the past half-century. Co curated with Rachel Lyons, Archivist at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the exhibition features over 100 photographs, many never before seen, that provide a vivid portrait of Louisiana’s rich vernacular music traditions.
Since he founded Arhoolie Records in 1960, Strachwitz was drawn to Louisiana and its music. From the traditional jazz of New Orleans to the distinctive Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco sounds of Southwest Louisiana, Strachwitz recorded scores of albums showcasing the musical wealth of the state. He also carried his camera and captured the diverse artists, traditions, and places that defined Louisiana music.
“When I was starting out, Arhoolie Records and Chris Strachwitz was one of the things that pointed me in the direction of a heritage festival,” says Quint Davis, a founder of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and CEO of Festival Productions. “For me, Arhoolie was central to discovering this great American musical heritage. Jazz Fest was like Arhoolie coming to life.”
Allons à Louisiane takes viewers to the JazzFest stage, the clubs of New Orleans, and into the homes and dancehalls of Acadiana, where Strachwitz first encountered the music that Arhoolie shared with the world. The exhibition travels throughout the state to churches, dance halls, garages, boucheries (pig roasts), trail rides, and homes, where generations of musicians have kept the region’s music alive. The images Strachwitz captured, many of which graced Arhoolie album covers, are an enduring testament to Louisiana music.
“This exhibition showcases amazing artists who have created some of Louisiana’s greatest music,” comments John Leopold, Managing Director of the Arhoolie Foundation and co-curator of the exhibition. “The photographs are a visual complement to the outstanding American roots music presented over the years at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.”
The exhibit, which will be located under the grandstand at Jazz Fest, will also include videos from Strachwitz and Les Blank’s seminal 1989 documentary on Cajun music, J’ai été au bal (I Went to the Dance), along with footage from other Arhoolie Foundation productions about Louisiana music.
About the Arhoolie Foundation
For over 25 years, the Arhoolie Foundation has been building on the work of founder Chris Strachwitz and his seminal independent record label Arhoolie Records. We are dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and celebration of regional roots music and its makers with a special emphasis on the genres of Blues, Cajun/Zydeco, and Tejano/Norteño. Through films, digital audio preservation, exhibitions, and our extensive archival website, we work to broaden public awareness of our diverse music history and support for living music and cultural traditions. Visit our website at www.arhoolie.org.
About the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive is an educational service that identifies, collects, preserves, and protects materials of cultural and historical significance to New Orleans and Louisiana as well as the records of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and its assets and programs. These materials are used to support the mission of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation to promote, preserve, perpetuate, and encourage the music, culture, and heritage of communities in Louisiana. Search their catalog at https://nojh.saas.dgicloud.com/.
For pictures and logo for the exhibit visit: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JExwoyRktiFPb08Mq0Fq14E86XJk68rv? usp=share_link
NOTE: Any photos used in publications should be credited as “Photo by Chris Strachwitz ©Arhoolie Foundation”