WXPN’s ‘Sense of Place’ Series Takes Listeners on Musical Journeys; Next Stop: New Orleans

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | juliemcw@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422June 6, 2012

PHILADELPHIA -- Visiting music meccas around the world is as close as that radio dial with the “Sense of Place” series on WXPN- FM’s “World Cafe.”

“Music is what brings a city’s culture to life, and “Sense of Place” allows us to showcase each city’s unique personality from the point of view of those who live and breathe its music scene” says host David Dye said.  

In previous installments, listeners got an insider’s perspective on Dublin and at Portland, Ore., but beginning Monday, June 11, listeners can experience a full week of the New Orleans music scene, as Dye and his crew take listeners on a journey to the birthplace of jazz, interwoven with interviews and insights from musicians and other community figures.

“We had to visit New Orleans, where American music, particularly jazz, began,” Dye said.  “Mac ‘Dr. John’ Rebennack, a well-known New Orleans musician, treated us to a tour of places really important to music, even a graveyard with famous musicians, a voodoo shop and a voodoo temple.”

The team also got a taste of a New Orleans second line performance as brass bands from the social aid and pleasure clubs -- local African-American clubs that perpetuate cultural traditions -- paraded through the city streets. They have video of the TCB Brass Band and The Stooges Brass Band attracting thousands of revelers who marched along with them.  

“That’s one of the cool things about this project,” Dye said. “We don’t know what we’ll get.”

Dye’s travel adventure to neighborhoods not usually visited by tourists with singer/songwriter and Big Easy transplant Ani DiFranco is also featured.

“The funny thing,” Dye said, “is that we’re a radio show, but in some ways the video makes it much better.” 

DiFranco also connected the crew to Roots of Music, an after-school musical program dear to her heart. Founded by Derek Tabb, a drummer for The Rebirth Brass Band, to reacquaint city youth with their musical roots, the program serves about 140 kids from the French Quarter. Each Monday through Thursday they get an hour and a half of academic tutoring with students from Tulane and Loyola universities, musical instruction, time to play music together as a band and then dinner, before heading home.  DiFranco is on the board.

This newest segment of the quarterly “Sense of Place” series will air in the “World Café" 2 p.m. hour, Monday through Friday, June 15, but afterward, listeners can find this as well as the first two installments online.

“Sense of Place” is made possible through two years of funding from the Wyncote Foundation.  

As soon as Dye airs the final hour of the New Orleans series, he’ll be packing his bags for the fourth trip: Havana.

Additional information on the series, including video interviews with many of the people Dye encountered in his travels, is available here.