A Mardi Gras Concert will heat up the Syracuse cold this weekend … while also helping to support a Performing Arts Center for people in one of the city’s struggling neighborhoods. The event features a New Orleans legend who says music should help bridge divides.
Terrance Simien is an eighth generation creole musician from New Orleans who’s been playing music for more than 3 decades.
He’s only too happy to share the feel and spirit of Mardi Gras in the South, with an audience here.
“I always try to make it a mission at this time to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to people who can’t come down here, places like Syracuse. We always bring our Mardi Gras show on the road somewhere to people who can’t experience it in Louisiana.”
Simien explains Mardi Gras is often celebrated as a party before lent … a chance to celebrate, have fun and let loose, just before giving something up as a resolution to live right. But more than just part of the celebration, he describes music as medicine to help with whatever people are dealing with.
“The Louisiana creole experience throughout the years has been slavery, Jim Crow and all kind of difficulties a lot of people … can’t imagine. But the way we make ourselves feel better is through our music. Music helps us continue our journey. And it’s not just for ourselves, but it’s for the youngsters coming behind us. That’s how we was raised. The music is a very important thing to us. It’s about forgetting your troubles and thinking of a world better than the world you live in today.”
Simien will share the stage with Syracuse’s Melissa Gardiner and Professor Louie and the Chromatics.
The concert will raise money for Salt Space Performing Arts Center. The project on Syracuse’s west side will provide a place for performances and learning for people of that neighborhood – many of whom might not have access to or outlet for artistic expression. Professor Louie is only too happy to support the cause.
“It’s always a really great idea to do something from the community where you’re playing because you’re asking the community to come out and spend money and see you. It’s nice to give something back on the spot, if you can.”
He hopes the Salt Space Center, being right in the neighborhood, might put people in touch with music, perhaps instruments they couldn’t afford.
“The music needs to carry on. It’s one of the best things for people to do, play music whether professional or in your house or on the front porch. And it’s really important to play music that can play without big production, and big lights and big bombs going off.”
Terrance Simien agrees … however people come together and play or listen, there’s a positive outcome.
“People need to remember that music can heal a lot of wounds; live music can bring people together like nothing else. We got all this crazy stuff happening these days in politics and religion which is pushing people away. But live music always, always brings people together in a way where you know you realize all these things we fuss and fight about, yeah we got to get it right, but we got to get it right together.”
The Mardi Gras Party concert to benefit Music for the Mission and the Salt Space Performing Arts Center takes place Saturday at the Palace Theater in Eastwood starting at 7:30.