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Preview: New Orleans Sacred Music Festival

The annual event features chanting, drumming and celebrations of many spiritual practices

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In its fifth year, the New Orleans Sacred Music Festival has grown to a daylong event featuring music, chanting, drumming and presentations representing an array of religious faiths and spiritual practices. "I think people think sacred music is going to be a sit-down-and-behave-yourself kind of thing," says festival founder Sallie Ann Glassman. "I can't describe to people what it's like to be around hundreds of people — monks, yogis, traveling Moroccan musicians, Deacon John — dancing deliriously." The event features gospel singing, Tibetan Buddhist chanting and Mardi Gras Indian music. Performers include Jump blues guitarist and bandleader Deacon John Moore playing spirituals, spoken-word artist Chuck Perkins, Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians, jazz pianist Matt Lemmler, Chosen Vessels Dance and Performing Art Company and others. There also is a Muslim call to prayer, a Voodoo ceremony, Hindu fire sacrifice and more. The festival begins with a peace walk from St. Roch Cemetery to the New Orleans Healing Center at 9:45 a.m. The Icons for Peace/Young Lions, a neighborhood youth group, leads the parade and performs spoken word and music at the festival. The event also features a sand mandala created by Buddhist monks from Tibet's Drepang Gomung monastery. Free admission.

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