Now up on my blog an interview with author, historian, and musician Ned Sublette:http://beckermusic.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-with-ned-sublette-author-of.html
Some you may know Ned as one of the co-conductors in the recent performance of Rhys Chatham's A Crimson Grail (for 200 electric guitars).
Ned is the author of two great books about New Orleans: The World That Made New Orleans and the just released The Year Before The Flood.
The Year Before The Flood describes the year Ned Sublette spent in New Orleans researching The World That Made New Orleans. During that time, Ned and his wife Constance (also and author) lived in the historically tough working class neighborhood known as the Irish Channel. After ten months and a brief return visit to take in Satchmo Summerfest, Ned returned to his home in New York just ahead of hurricane Katrina which hit Louisiana on August 29th and - thanks to decimated wetlands and an inadequate levee system - destroyed so much of a city he had come to know and love.
The Year Before The Flood resonates with me on a number of levels. I lived in New Orleans for five years (1994 to 1998) meeting and collaborating with many incredible visual artists, dancers, and musicians. I met my wife in New Orleans and we were married there in a ceremony that brought family and friends together from as far away as Texas, Minnesota, Florida, and Atlanta. My CD project Saints & Devils – a five year recording project inspired by stories and icons of the deep South with performances by musicians from New Orleans – was mastered just two weeks before hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. As artists, we sometimes find that the purpose of our work is to bear witness to a history we do not control.
This month (August 2009) I chose to spend a lot of time mediating on the history of New Orleans, the experience I gained as a result of living there (1993 to 1998), and the possibilities for its still uncertain future. Ned graciously took time to answer some questions for me.