O Sister! in New Orleans (Spanish with English subtitles)


Han Viajado un total de 9.400 millas (15.130 Km) Desde Sevilla, España… O Sister! All this started when family, friends and fans of the Boswell Sisters in the US discovered that there’s a crazy band in Seville, Spain, playing their music and they sent us the sketch of an unpublished Boswell Sister song
and gave us the opportunity of finishing it We recorded a video of the process and sent it to them They liked it a lot and all this developed into a relationship that led to us being invited to a Boswell Sister Tribute
which took place in October 2014 in New Orleans Of course, they didn’t have the financial means to cover
the costs of bringing a band all the way from Spain Shortly after, friends encouraged us to set up a
crowdfunding campaign: “Do it, it really works” So we got down to it, not expecting the great response we got, and were impressed by people’s support and how everything worked out It was amazing Going to New Orleans was like a dream for us It meant going to the mecca of what we do And that’s how it all began Well, the first impression from the city… – …was the incredible heat – Right, and the oppressive humidity We were sweating and it was even hard to breathe I remember being in the cab and thinking “which of these
marvelous houses will be the one we stayed at?” A pretty strong feeling of being “in the South” The huge southern trees with necklaces hanging from their branches, which we learnt was a tradition in their Mardi Gras Carnival, the colonial houses… New Orleans has such a surprisingly rich past of mixed cultures,
with the French and Spanish periods, the Caribbean influence… It is a very evocative place What I remember most is waking up on our first day there,
because we arrived late at night and ready for bed And it was a one-day marathon of information We had to be at the museum at 9 am for the start of the events
and from then on we spent the whole day on a non-stop chain of… – stimuli So we got there early and no one was there yet,
and we were quite exhausted We needed a coffee so we went for some breakfast
and when we got back everybody was already there… – Well, and the event had actually started We opened the door into a very pretty room, and Kyla introduced us: “This is O Sister! from Seville” and everybody started to applaud and cheer We were so embarrassed because we were late… Yeah, and we entered and didn’t know if all that elation was ironic because
we’d arrived late, kind of “at last, these Spaniards are always late…” but we then realized that it was just they were already
very fond of us even before meeting us They put a coffee and a donut in our hand and that’s that,
so it was a very warm welcome And so we continued listening to the talks They also played part of a documentary about the Boswell Sisters
which was still in production process Vet Boswell’s granddaughter Kyla spoke about the activities program Then there was a short coffee break to meet each other and that was when
we started to recognize all those faces we’d seen only in photos It was especially moving to meet Cynthia, with whom I had spoken a lot by e-mail She gave us an original photograph of the Boswells, which was a great surprise There was also a lovely, very affectionate woman,
Aura Lee, who is also a singer and a great Boswell fan, and who knew Vet Boswell and a lot about them She gave Helena and me a pearl necklace So it was a very warm welcoming, as if they already knew us Somehow, having that common bond made things easier Compared to when you arrive at other music festivals with
lots of different bands, this link made it easier You could tell that all of us gathered there had in common
a great love for the Boswells’ music It was a bit strange, even a bit weird if you think about it, but also very nice It was an informal and fun chance for everybody to meet each other We felt a very warm welcoming vibe and in fact ended up jamming a few Boswell Sister songs
together as a way to break the ice It was fun And it was actually quite moving; we had a nice start with everybody That day, Cynthia took us to eat our first hamburger – Yeah, remember? – in a very typical diner… – and you ended up singing… Another of the activities on the first day was a tour through
emblematic places of New Orleans related to the Boswells’ life Well, we parted from the New Orleans Museum of… What was its name? Museum of… Natural History? Hahaha! …The Archaeological Museum! No! What was its name? Yes, a local museum, the “Historic New Orleans Collection”,
where they had managed to include an exhibition on the Boswell Sisters They had a collection of their musical and personal legacy From audio tapes and some bits of film,
to all kinds of objects that had belonged to them A banjo, a violin, a very pretty old radio, musical scores,
drawings of and by them… it was very nice And on the tour, they showed us the place the studio where
they made their first radio recording used to be or the theatre where they went onstage for the first time in a Vaudeville show… They also showed us other landmarks like: “Nearby is the house
where Louis Armstrong used to live…” So you realized these sisters lived in a place where
you couldn’t escape being impregnated with good music The main stop was the family house where the Boswells grew up We all sang together on the house’s porch steps and took pictures… The moment we all sang together was interesting, seeing how everybody knew
the songs and lyrics by heart and also knew the same Boswell versions we know It was a bonding moment that broke the ice
and from then on everything was more relaxed you felt “we’ve come here to learn but also to have a good time” After the house, we went to a park where quite
an iconic picture of the Boswells was taken in which they are leaning on the statue of a lion between classical columns next to a lake with the Southern trees covered with
hanging “Spanish Moss”, which is typical over there – We ended up – Yeah, singing “Rainy Days” I think… – with the girls from the Australian group Experiencing it live at the place is very gratifying,
different from reading about it in a book you’re there seeing the streets where all that happened A great experience The main event was a collective concert with all the bands held at the US Mint which was a kind of municipal Auditorium which was really nice The experience was great because we spent the day there together with the other bands getting ready, doing the sound checks and there was a chance to share nice moments It was full of people walking around, some warming up their voice,
others practicing on their instrument It was very funny, it seemed like you were at a contest The auditorium was good, it sounded really well, which made the sound check easy Each band played three songs, and I remember all the rest of us
were waiting for our turn together in the green room There was a screen where you could follow the performances together so a very nice atmosphere built up as we all saw the other bands,
applauding and cheering It was the first time we saw the other bands that participated and it was impressive
to see how good each one was, the strength of their performances… It was really interesting to see the different arrangements of the songs we all knew How each band added their own spice, a chord here or a vocal effect there I think we were all living a special moment meeting other people
who are into your same line of work which you kind of know is a quite rare, rendering a very specific repertoire investigating a style of vocal harmonies that has been pretty much forgotten Suddenly meeting other people from around the world
who do the same thing you do was pretty exciting And we then played “You-dle-oo-dle-oo”, the unfinished song they had
offered us to complete and premiering it there was great And the response was fantastic People had heard it on the documentary we filmed about the process It was the song’s live premiere in the US You got the goose bumps Yes Yeah, that was actually really cool Then you had all the music in the street There was a great variety of styles, from country-western and folk to older New Orleans Dixieland rhythms, rhythm and blues, funk…
mostly all kinds root music Another landmark of the journey was that we got to play at
one of the oldest clubs in Frenchmen Street It is called “The Snug Harbor”, and we played 2 sets that night It was really fun Yeah, and we had actually been there the night before, and
I remember thinking “wow, we’re going to play here!” Because you look at their schedule and it is full of people you admire So playing there felt like a big responsibility for me It was another highlight of our trip because the Boswell
Tribute Concert was great and was the big event but it was a collective show in a very specific
environment of people who shared the same interest But playing a full concert in the birthplace of this music was a challenge and seeing it was a success was great for us We were a bit worried about the language because in Spain
we joke around a lot with the audience but how do you tell a joke in English if you feel clumsy with the language? Anyway, I think we succeeded and everything worked out well And it meant a lot for us You realize how New Orleans is a city that brings together
people from many different places and we had the anecdote of having Spanish singer Luz Casal
sitting in the front table on our first set We spoke to her afterwards and she said:
“How do you have the nerve of coming here and doing this?” There was a very open attitude Musicians, including well known ones, were generally
interested in meeting us, and treated us really well You felt there were no barriers to that extent it was a very gratifying experience We are on route 1, which must be the first one they built… and these are a few chickens we’ve brought with us – alligators, we’re alligators – highway 61 chikens…as they cross the road all the time,
we’ve taken them with us in the cars On the second part of the journey we took advantage to go up the Mississippi
and explore route 61, called “The Blues Highway” Which runs north from New Orleans to Memphis Yeah, we didn’t have time to reach Memphis,
but we followed it till Clarksdale, Mississippi which is a town with a rich history in the blues and
the origin of the African-American musical tradition It is probably one of poorest areas of the US nowadays, and you can see that Yes, and the feeling you get is that all that area
used to be much wealthier and more populated It has a decadent but also very evocative air, you also see,
of course, remains of the plantations, the slavery years… You see where this music originated We visited Dockery Farm, one of the possible
birthplaces of the blues, where Charlie Patton considered the father of the Delta Blues, is supposed to have lived and worked We got to Clarksdale, where there was an interesting blues festival,
and we decided to stay for a couple of days We also saw some great concerts, especially one in a very genuine bar With a very basic sound equipment but sounding really
greasy and powerful, really awesome Living the blues, the real thing in a rural joint, is priceless Also meeting the folk and weirdos, because we had
some adventures as foreigners in the town joint The next day we went to a place we liked a lot It was an old farm and they had set up an incredible venue – with very cool decoration They gave concerts, the blues festival was being held
there and people could find accommodation there It was surrounded by cotton plantations and the cotton was high at that moment We were going to a concert at a big venue, but on our
way we went by the door of a bar with another concert We took a look and heard this sound of a strong Jimi Hendrix style blues We said “Wow, great concert, let’s check out the one
next door and we can come back later” But before we’d walked 30 feet we heard:
“Hey you, where are you goin’?” The guitar player had come out to get us leaving band and audience inside He was talking to us and playing a great guitar solo as he walked towards us He took us right in and it was a great night A crazy night And after that we came back When you come back you start to assimilate everything that’s happened and all the music you’ve heard and you try to
incorporate it to your experience as a musician As a band we’ve grown exponentially This journey was a turning point for us We felt that we still had a lot of things to discover
in this musical style we like so much, but it also helped us see how much we’ve learnt and
how much it has given us through our research and what a great opportunity to be able to travel and meet Kyla, Cynthia, and all these people that are a part of the History of this music we’re doing After all these years as a band, you see one of our goals,
going to New Orleans, come true Thank you very much to all the fans, family and friends… – yes, our patrons in this campaign… – …who have wanted to help us make this dream come true They haven’t just helped us to go to New Orleans, but to make a band become more genuine and nourishing it for a long time