Monday, January 03, 2005

Krewe du Faye

Tonight we met at a friend's house to begin planning for what looks to be a fun Mardi Gras parade. It's called the Krewe du Faye, and it's a walking parade in New Orleans' French Quarter with a faerie and fantasy theme. No web page that I know of, sorry. It's not really that organized. Basically, you wear wings or whatnot, beat drums, and march around having a good time and confusing the tourists.

We tried to attend it a couple of years ago just as marchers, but they had scheduled it the night before MG. During the Endymion parade if that means anything to you. If it does, you understand the brutal horror which confronted us poor naive pilgrims. If it doesn't, picture half a million drunk people packed into a wide boulevard. The police had erected rather bizzare labrynthine people-corralling barriers which we failed to navigate. My companion got her hand-made wings crushed and I lost my temper well before we got near the French Quarter so we gave up and went home.

Our friend Claudia hosts a middle eastern drumming group occasionally, and she asked some of us who can keep a beat to be the musical core of the Krewe this year. We started working on some songs she picked out and arranged-- medieval Latin church music with middle eastern martial beats. Sounds strange, but it ends up being very beautiful and rousing. I think it will be great music to parade along with.

I didn't bring a drum but borrowed a tambourine and had fun playing one for the first time in my life. Up until now they've always annoyed the holy crap out of me. Like guns, I think it matters which end of one you're on.

I'm not the best hand drummer in the world, so I'm thinking of building some pan-pipes out of PVC. I had the idea tonight during practice, inspired by a couple of PVC didgeridoos my friend Rob helped me construct while visiting a couple of years ago. As it turns out, someone has already made it happen. Nice that they've already worked the bugs out of the idea since I don't have that long to get them up and piping. Much less practice on them...

For musical geeks out there, the songs we're doing have vocal parts in the keys of either F or C. I'm thinking of a two-octave pentatonic set in C or F (CGDAE or FCGDA), or perhaps a hexatonic (FCGDAE).

Still up in the air about a costume. I've got a felt black and purple monks robe which I've used as a fallback costume for years now; or perhaps I'll look into some antlers as suggested by Lady M_____.

If you're going to be in New Orleans before Mardi Gras, it will tentatively be the Friday before MG. More later when I get a firm date, place, and time.

If you're going to be in NO on Saturday, January 22, may I suggest going to to the Krewe du Vieux. It's the only parade which still goes through the French Quarter, and is mainly geared towards the locals. It's almost never mentioned in tourist info. Very adult-oriented and irreverent, and about satire and politics much more so than shiny beads. Don't attend if you're easily offended! Of all the parades during Mardi Gras, it's the first one I ever attended, and the one I most look forward to every year.


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