In Which a Disaster is Swallowed Whole and Set to Music

John Swenson of New Orleans magazine Offbeat writes that "There has been plenty of rhetoric about New Orleans music post-Katrina, but just as 9-11 didn't produce a wellspring of inspired popular music, Katrina has failed to inspire the bumper crop of musical observations that many predicted. There have been a few good songs written about the event and its aftermath to be sure, but the disaster is too large scale to be swallowed whole in a song."

He's right about 9-11, we couldn't find a single song, but not only does the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund's benefit download - Re-Define 8/29 - offer 20 original download songs about the loss, it has been given a four star review in Rolling Stone Magazine and met with fanfare from international music lovers.

In these songs curated by NOMRF Chairman Jeff Beninato formerly of the dB's, the disaster is not only swallowed, it is digested and translated from some of the best artists around. Song samples are available on the page as well, so you'll be the kind of informed consumer musicians depend on. REM, Craig Klein, Ewin McCain, The Subdudes, Dr. John (pictured above) – you're invited to log on and see what they've come up with regarding New Orleans recovery.

Swenson goes on to review music by the wonderful Anders Osborne, who has played NOMRF benefits around the country that help us help other displaced musicians. He concludes that, "The spectral presence of the dead in our lives, beckoning mutely for us to join them in whatever afterlife they inhabit while they haunt us in this one, is one of the uneasy legacies of Katrina, one which mocks the empty bravado of recovery rhetoric suggested by the song's title."

Empty bravado of recovery rhetoric indeed, without support from music lovers around the world. You're what we depend on.


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