by Ken Korman
The age-old connections between Africa and New Orleans will be on display tonight, Friday, March 23rd, at an event called "Hallelujah Bye and Bye: Funeral Processions in Ghana and New Orleans" at the Freeman Auditorium inside Woldenberg Arts Center on the Tulane University Campus.
Sponsored by the Tulane Department of Music, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and the New Orleans Film Society, the event begins at 7:00 p.m. with a jazz funeral demonstration by local educator and musician Dr. Michael White. Immediately following the demonstration at 7:15 will be a a free screening of the documentary film A Por Por Funeral for Ashirifie. The evening concludes with a panel discussion at 8:15. Participants will include filmmaker Steven Feld, Rev. Kwame Assenyoh (former pastor at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New Orleans), Freddi Williams Evans, and Dr. White.
A Por Por Funeral for Ashirifie documents a funeral procession in the Ghanian township of La. The "Por Por" of the title refers to the sound made by antique squeeze-bulb car horns, which were salvaged by local union transport workers when the horns became obsolete and made into the centerpiece of a new style of music. The music is only played at the funerals of fellow transport workers. The documentary explores the links between musical funeral traditions in Ghana and New Orleans.
Follow this link for a look at the film's trailer.