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Hands down, New Orleans is the world's most musical metropolis. All of the city's sensual delights converge in the rich tradition of Mardi Gras. With irresistible folk-rooted music and stunning, ornate costumes, the Mardi Gras "Indians" unleash a sensory barrage that epitomizes New Orleans. And among New Orleans's many "tribes," none exceed the talent, renown and flamboyance of The Wild Magnolias.

With Metro Blue's release of The Wild Magnolias' Life Is A Carnival, the century-old legacy is honored with contemporaary immediacy. The Wild Magnolias celebrate 25 years of recording, with this album grounded in the bedrock of New Orleans "Fonk." Featuring the passionate, street-smart singing of Big Chief Bo Dollis, with able assistance from Big Chief Monk Boudreau and drummer/vocalist Norwood "Geechie" Johnson, Life Is A Carnival also has such stellar guest stars as Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Robbie Robertson, and Bruce Hornsby.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

The Wild Magnolias
The Wild Magnolias

Mardi Gras "Indians" are not Native Americans. They are black working-class groups that are part secret/spiritual society and part neighborhood social club. Fifteen or so "tribes" parade on Mardi Gras Day, chanting, singing, and beating percussion instruments, similar to their Carnival counterparts in Trinidad, Brazil, etc. They are costumed in elaborate hamdmade outfits that fancifully recall the dress of Native Americans, complete with feathers, ornate beadwork and enormous headdresses.

Big Chief Theodore Emile "Bo" Dollis was born in New Orleans in 1944. As a child he followed a tribe known as the White Eagles, and he began "masking" as a Mardi Gras "Indian" in 1957. In 1964 Dollis became the Big Chief of The Wild Magnolias. Joseph Pierre "Monk" Boutreaux was born in New Orleans in 1941. He has "masked Indian" since the late 1950s and collaborated with Bo Dollis and The Wild Magnolias since the mid 1970s. Boudreaux is exclusively featured on "Lightning and Thunder" and "Context at the H & R Bar, New Orleans," released in 1988 on Rounder Records. Dollis continues to revel in his culture, his music, his Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and his splendiferous costumes, as he has for decades.

Artist Biography courtesy of Third Floor Media


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