Raw Material’s cultural and performance tour was the highlight so far of my 2015 artistic experience. Having the opportunity to introduce the crew to the sights and sounds of New Orleans, the city I call home, was an honor.
Raw Material brought a young vibrant crew of emcees/singers who not only boasted infectious, youthful energy but impeccable songwriting and performance skills well beyond their years. The instrumental backing provided by the seasoned leadership of Raw Material was an honor to work with and has definitely left a positive impression on the individuals and organizations they interacted with while in the Crescent City.
The Raw crew began with an opening reception/meet and greet event at the historic Tekrema Center for Art and Culture, hosted by Greer Goff Mendy. Several local New Orleans musicians, performers & poets gathered to share their artistic visions and welcome the members of the Raw crew. It was a beautiful display of art with a historic New Orleans setting. As a traveler, it is important to me to experience the most genuine cultural experience in respect to the people of that area. Raw Material connected with local New Orleans musicians, renting their equipment and space for rehearsal, resulting in impromptu jam sessions and cultural lessons heard from the mouth of the New Orleanians who lived it!
After finally getting them out of the hotel, the crew dined at Neyow’s known for their authentic Creole cuisine. Raw Material began their musical journey at the Resurrection After Exonneration (RAE House) headed by John Thompson, an ex-felon exonerated after being wrongfully convicted. Raw served as the musical guests to a platform of conscious poets, during RAE House’s monthly cultural programming artistically exploring the black male identity and pride.
The next show took place at New Orleans up and coming, underground venue, Gasa Gasa, Raw showcased with several hot New Orleans hip hop bands for the RAWKUS: International Hip Hop House Party! The tour concluded with a meet the artists’ workshop & performance at the university of New Orleans!
Again, it was such an honor to welcome the Raw Material crew to my home, and to the people that make up this city both artistically and culturally. It is amazing to have developed such a relationship with an organization, I now consider as family! I look forward to the future and many more cross cultural exchanges, such the Raw Roads International tour!