CONGO SQUARE, SACRED GROUND, CHASING HORSE AND FIXICO
http://www.amoeba.com/the-congo-square-project-foundation-sacred-ground-volume-1-various-artists/albums/2853327/ In May of 2007 in a recording studio in Long Beach, Ca.. Three entities came together, blending the Americas, with Africa and European ingredients , meeting at lands edge of the North American continent which is the beginning of the Pacific world. That’s important because American Culture and Music is still our greatest export from the United States of America.
Congo Square is an an area inside Louis Armstrong Park, it is situated in the section of New Orleans known as Treme. If you find yourself on Rampart Street or in the French Quarter you are very near Treme. All these geographical destinations are important to America’s musical contribution to life on the planet and African-American music and the Creole Culture both have also been foundational in their influence of it. I’m a local musician, right now I play in church with Hense Powell who was for some years Bobby Womack’s Musical Director, up to Mr. Womack’s transition. Back in the heyday of the local Los Angeles Music scene, the era and the area was known as the L.A. Chit’lin’ Circuit. In the 70’s when I was a part of it, is when and where I met John Boudreaux , who was born and raised in Treme and a New Orleans Legend. John became a Musical Mentor to me, he was a Drummer and I was a Percussionist. Live entertainment dried up in the L.A. Chit’lin Circuit and even legends had to find other venues. Boudreaux was from New Orleans and the logical” go to” was to get a horn and become a Street Musician, he did and he also taught me the fine arts of it. “Y’all sticka’ pin in dat’ fo ‘tru’ yeh”.
Let’s add the European spice to the recipe, which is Mr.Fabian Jolivet. Fabian was born in Argentina, raised in France, he is a multi-linguist, world traveler, world class Drummer, Producer and Hard-Core Activist. The Congo Square Project Foundation/ Sacred Ground album is his brain-child and he is the driving force behind it . His goal was to bring as many legendary Musicians together and create 6 albums that help teach the world that Jazz was born in New Orleans, specifically in Congo Square. John Boudreaux is one of Music heros. Fabian got to know about me because of John. I had played in the West Coast version of John Boudreaux’s New Orleans All-Stars. Let’s say that I had minimal music credentials, certainly not enough to be featured with those heavyweights that populate the tracks . However, I had something that Fabian felt was intrinsic to the birth of this genre and that was that I was an African-Native American Activist, whose Ancestors had passed through New Orleans on their way to Indian Territory. That was enough to get me a spot on the Sacred Ground Volume 1 CD. All the proceeds from the sale of the Album are designated to help New Orleans Musicians displaced as a result of the Katrina Hurricane.
I said that this GUMBO would have ingredients representing Africa, Europe and the Americas. The two photos up top were taken in the studio, one is of me with a pensive expression on my face. Honestly , I was a bit uptight, I thought to myself, that I have 1 and a half minutes to speak for my Ancestors . They deserved the absolute best that I could bring. The other photo is of a American Indian Super star, he is seen very relaxed ,burning sage and gently chanting. He is Nathan Chasing Horse of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Nation. Not only is Mr. Chasing Horse a Medicine Man, Singer and Actor, he has appeared in ,”Dances with Wolves”, “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee” and “DreamKeeper”. The truth be told, I was also concerned about being accepted for what I was representing African-Native Americans . I had been a Activist for some years prior to this but, in 2007 the Smithsonian Institution’s book and exhibit: entitled “indiVisible: African-Native American Lives was only an early stage work in progress. I believe that if you want Respect you have to give Respect. so, I went to Mr. Nathan Chasing Horse with both of my hands full of Seminole Maroon Peace Belts ,that I had ceremoniously prepared and prayed over . As I approached Mr. Chasing Horse, I said , “Great Chief, will you Bless these ? He complied with my request by saying a gentle prayer over the items that I held in my hand, he even touched them. As we stood apart, I then said that, “Great Chief, now that you have Blessed these Gifts , they a worthy to be given to you and your people. With a smile of sincerity on his face he received them and said ,”I will see that the Brothers get these”. Truth, Honor and Dignity, Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant and North American Maroon Representative to Suriname’s 2015 National Maroon Day Celebration , recognizing the 255th Anniversary of a Peace Treaty signed by the Colonial Powers of that time.