Back to back to Bethel: Let the good times roll
Unwilling to stop (but at least having brakes to do it), I switched gears on Sunday and conjured up the (Cajun) French translation of my weekend’s theme: “laissez les bons temps rouler” and rolled into the lot at Bethel Woods (one more time!) to celebrate Mardis Gras with Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra (www.BrotherJoscephus.com).
I checked out the Bethel Woods website and read that BroJo is a 10-piece “explosion of righteousness that blends New Orleans party music, laced with soul and a good helping of jam-bandy Roots Rock with a righteous splash of good, upbeat Gospel without the religious overtones (we like to call it secular gospel).” Unsure where I had stashed my love beads, I grabbed the camera and snapped pics of the kids, who were making Mardi Gras parasols in preparation for the festivities—yet another charming aspect to the World Stage Series, which presents these events free of charge, and encourages families to participate, while learning about the musical heritage of assorted cultures all around the globe.
Magically creating the atmosphere that New Orleans is famous for, the troupe paraded to the stage, instantly engaging the crowd with spirit, energy and fantastic voices as they launched into rousing renditions of “Les Bons Temps,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Bury Me in New Orleans” and yes, even “Good Times!” Addressing the horrific devastation that Hurricane Katrina left behind, Brother Joscephus himself spoke to the crowd and declared that “It seems like there’s a lot of bad news these days, but as bad as it looks, the forces of hate ain’t got nothin’ on love!” as the audience jumped to their feet, dancing and grasping for the beads being tossed while the orchestra exploded with their rendition of “Mighty Mighty Chain of Love.”
Dedicated to “bringing the spirit of New Orleans to the world,” Brother Joscephus and his band of merrymakers’ explosive show is (IMHO) exciting, infectious, uplifting and inspiring in it’s unabashed celebration of life. With no encouragement needed, the audience leapt to their feet and joined the parade as the troupe worked their charm throughout the gallery, gathering momentum and basking in the glitz, glamour and sequined revelry that only New Orleans (“the spirit that will never die”) can evoke.