Louis Armstrong's voice wanders the streets of New Orleans every year during the Satchmofest. And nothing sounds more beautiful than What a wonderful world.
Under the sticky sun of Louisiana, I lay back in the grass and open my eyes.
I see green trees …
A low stage stands behind about 200 people who waver with the sun. Behind black railings people sit on folding chairs. And above them, fingers and faces peer through wrought-iron balconies on candy-colored walls.
I see blue sky and white clouds …
I'm sitting in the summer of the Satchmo Fest in New Orleans, a three-day festival dedicated to local hero Louis Armstrong (by the way, they pronounce the "S" in Louis).
The festival is small and attracts only 36,000 guests throughout the weekend. This is sweeter for me. I can walk between two open stages, sit down, take a nap and even dive into a museum in the middle of the music to learn more about the place. Geek alert in height: that is my kind of music festival.
What a wonderful world: the background story
Today, I find this song one of the most soothing in the world – and it's deliberately designed to be that. At the height of the 1960s unrest in the US, Armstrong was pleased to record something even more uplifting. though critics blocked it at the time.
Louis Armstrong's own life story makes the texts even more poignant – and inspiring for me.
My guilty secret
I'll tell you a little secret: I hate talking about music. I always feel shy.
Traditionally, here would be the part in which I introduced a childhood trauma to explain it.
Maybe a beating at the behest of a trombone. Skinned by a saxophonist or injured by a violinist.
In fact, the injury happened to the neighbors as I struggled to learn the strings.
Sneering at music
No, I just met enough people who love to laugh when you talk about music.
"If you do not know who Gobbledeygook-Mildred is, then you do not like jazz."
"If you can not tell me the difference between a blah de blah doberry and the essence of a sound, then you do not know jazz."
And in annoying retrospect. I believed them.
As an adult, it is clear to see what kind of ridiculous, stupid reactions that was. Music, like art, is there for us all.
I'm angry that I let her come to me. And I'm angry that I missed it.
SatchmoFest in New Orleans offers a gumbo-laced chance to fix something of it. Not least because of a delicious quote from Armstrong, saying, "If you have to ask what Jazz is, you'll never know."
Almost everyone recognizes this gritty voice and this wonderful, wonderful world.
Plenty could recite his entire discography and fit into the annals of music history.
Me? As always, I am a bit lost in French quadrilles and modal jazz. I am more interested in the history of the man. Especially the inspiring story of his success.
I hear babies crying. I watch them grow
You will know much more than I will ever know
And inspiring is the word when it comes to the life of Louis Armstrong.
Not such a wonderful world
Because I am fortunate enough to live in one of the freest and most tolerant places in the world – and because even here a true sense of equality is far from perfect, it took me long and hard times to realize how bad things were only recently, when it comes to rights that I take for granted.
I am still shocked to learn that women did not receive the legal right to equal pay until 1970.
That in Australia the indigenous people were only included in the census in 1967.
And that the United States of America, a nation based on the ideals of equality and freedom, somehow managed to live in such a way that Louis Armstrong, the son of the South, became one of them, if not the As the best jazz musician in the world, his band was still forbidden to play because it is a mixed breed.
Armstrong could play. But not on the same stage as his white band members.
I think the acronym for Cyber is WTAF ?!
Louis Armstrong in New Orleans
What in the world and everything As Has the world been dealing with such nonsense for so long?
Armstrong, the boy, was born in 1901 in the intoxicating city of New Orleans, where Cajun, Creole flair and crocodile-laden swamps are found.
Born as grandchildren of enslaved individuals, his father left the country when he was young.
His mother worked in a brothel, and as a teenager, the young Louis, which was not surprising, was in trouble with the law. After firing a pistol on New Year's Eve in 1912, he was arrested and, in time, sent to a place called New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs.
In one of those strange twists of fate, Waif's Home gave him music lessons, and the rest was, as they say, history.
There are two types of music, the good and the bad. I play the good kind. Louis Armstrong.
The pain of New Orleans
In the meantime, I'm not in the sunshine anymore. I went through the Louis Armstrong exhibit housed in the New Orleans Mint and intervened in the back of the lecture hall.
It is 2015 and, astonishingly, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the consequent destruction, devastation, shortcomings and deceptions.
The panel talks about the rescue efforts, the loss and the attempts to save the legacy and tradition of music in New Orleans.
It's hard to listen. But important in the heart of the Satchmofest, where there are layers for all.
Music lovers, New Orleans residents and people like me: here to explore the city for the first time.
"Every time I close my eyes and blow my trumpet, I look straight into the heart of the good old New Orleans … It has given me something to live for." Louis Armstrong
And despite all the filth of the past that I put together here (or rather, the museum carefully presented in the heart of the festival), I think we can all be inspired by it.
I see green trees
I see friends shaking hands and saying how you're doing.
They really say "I love you."
What a wonderful world Louis Armstrong
Despite the misery and inequalities of the past – and even the misery and inequalities of today – there are still places with sunshine, laughter and music.
Despite the headlines, most people really want a better world.
Yes, as the red beans and rice simmer from the nearby stalls and these lyrical notes merge with scratched voices, I agree with Louis.
Yes, I think, what a wonderful world.
I traveled to New Orleans and the Satchmo Summerfest as part of the Expedia UK sponsored # MustLoveFestivals project.
As always, I have the right to write what I like. A trademark of a wonderful world.
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