New Water Music
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More than 5,000 Attend Spectacular New Water Music Event
New Water Music, the one-of-a-kind concert spectacular that took place on New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain on April 8, 2017, attracted more than 5,000 audience members to the massive and entirely free event. A collaboration among New Orleans Airlift (creators of the world famous Music Box Village), the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, composer Yotam Haber, and many others, the event also featured more than 100 regional roots musicians and a “boat ballet” performed by dozens of regional fisherman — an astounding and unprecedented sight. The presence of the fisherman helped draw attention to serious issues surrounding coastal erosion in Louisiana, which was further supported by an on-site, day-long forum for talks and public discussion. More than two years in the making, New Water Music was the kind of boundary-pushing success that expands audiences and opens minds to new ways of creating and presenting large-scale public art.
New Orleans Airlift, creators of the world-renowned Music Box Village of interactive musical houses, joins forces with award-winning composer Yotam Haber, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), and regional roots musicians for New Water Music, a spectacular free concert event staged entirely on water in New Orleans on April 8, 2017.
In the world premiere of an hour-long work it commissioned Haber to compose for this event, the LPO will perform from a barge on Lake Pontchartrain where it meets New Orleans’ Industrial Canal (which flooded the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina). Joining the LPO will be regional roots musicians of all backgrounds including New Orleans brass bands, local music students, Vietnamese Lion dancers and drummers, and many others, all positioned on smaller boats or standing in the shallow waters off community hub Seabrook Beach. Haber will conduct the large, one-of-a-kind assembly through encoded musical messages delivered through semaphore flags.
This unprecedented event also features a processional performance deigned to mirror the jazz funerals and second-line parades central to New Orleans culture. The dramatically choreographed concert will feature fishing boats and other watercraft representing coastal communities facing an imminent threat to their homes, cultures, and livelihoods due to erosion caused by industry and rising sea levels. The LPO’s barge will be transformed into a floating work of art by a team of five visual artists from New Orleans Airlift. Local artists also will collaborate with fisherman and their families to reimagine the small boats with visual elements that build on coastal communities’ annual blessing-of-the-boats ceremonies.
New Water Music will meld widely varying styles and forms of music in the spirit of musical adventure and innovation, all while uniting the communities of South Louisiana in shared responsibility for maintaining our coast and its cultures.
Rally Under the Bridge was a one-time processional work of art created by New Orleans Airlift in May 2014. Taking inspiration from New Orleans’ parade traditions, the event pushed these processional practices into the realm of contemporary art while uniting disparate communities in our city. Young and old, gay and straight, white and black came together that day in what was a truly meaningful exchange. The event has produced lasting cross-cultural creative relationships in New Orleans.
In 2014, Airlift assembled 10 teams of internationally renowned artists, local master craftsmen, sound artists, school children, and instrument makers to build modular, mobile musical houses. Known as The Music Box Roving Village, this public installation and performance series transported an interactive musical village to underutilized spaces in diverse New Orleans neighborhoods. Almost 10,000 people attended our 2015 City Park residency, experiencing one-of-a-kind performances by artists like Arto Lindsay, Thurston Moore, and Wilco.
“We Were All” is a piece for large ensemble and three singers, performed by Contemporaneous. Music by Yotam Haber, words by Andrea Cohen. From the album “Torus” by Yotam Haber (Roven Records, 2015).
Start and End Dates
New Orleans, Louisiana