There are certain places in the world where music is as important as food and drink – a necessity that defines a people and provides a wonderful means of self-expression. Lost in the rhythm, emotions are laid bare. James Sparshatt’s previous adventures have taken him to the streets of Cuba, the dance halls of Buenos Aires, the flamenco haunts of Andalucia and a music school in Soweto. This year he is heading to Lousiana in search of the soul of New Orleans and the stomp of Cajun country.
We have asked him to keep a diary which we hope you enjoy!
Diary Entry 1
My flight is booked… it is always a magical moment when plans are set in stone. I have planned a two week trip, half based in the Treme district of New Orleans, the rest in Lafayette – heart of Cajun country in the Louisiana bayou.
Plan is rather a loose term… I have loved researching the best places for live music in New Orleans using guides like the Foursquare City Guide and a great article in the Guardian by local musician and blogger Davis Rogan from 2014 (sadly a few of these joints no longer exist) and will be in Lafayette for the Festival Acadiens et Creoles, but finding the perfect image is as much by luck as by judgement. I doubt I will sleep much… the images that really resonate from Buenos Aires all seemed to happen around 4am.
My approach is loosely akin to a wildlife photographer… you learn by observation, you find your spot where an image is likely to happen, where the lighting and ambience works and then you settle in and become part of the furniture. Slowly the elements that contribute to that defining moment become more apparent, but there is no guarantee. You have to be in the right spot, at the right time, when the juxtaposition of dancers or singers creates a shape and their emotional intensity transcends the ordinary.
I can but hope that luck and hard work will prevail!