Throughout my life I have made numerous trips to New Orleans, and while each experience is slightly different one aspect is always the same….the Mardi Gras spirit lives far beyond any King Cake expiration date. Upon arriving you can feel the energy shift, you can sense creativity around you. People wonder what makes New Orleans, New Orleans? The delicious and authentic cajun cuisine, the characters that live and occupy the town, Bourbon Street, the antebellum architecture, the perpetual creation of art?
New Orleans’ historical French Quarter has a consistent flow of incoming independent artists that self promote, filling the streets with a variety of sounds, colors and talents. It is common to see 4 or 5 musicians alongside painters, dancers, mimes, magicians, psychics, hula hoopers, common folk and more, all within an arms length. Each artist contributes to the spirit and essence of the city, known for its’ bold culture and history of the arts. However you may choose to define New Orleans, it inevitable to admit that the French Quarter is the heart of city, and music is what makes that heart beat.
Photo by Andrei Severny
Last week I was wandering the streets of the FQ, solo. All day I had been stopping to listen to different musicians, most playing brass and bluegrass. I was walking down Royal Street when I heard the most soothing and graceful sound. I practically lost my breath as I approached Tanya and Dorise. It was such a beautiful day out, I was already feeling the vibes…. then this. These two beautiful people simply set up on the side of the street, a small crowd gathering around them. Tanya was played the violen as Dorise awaited the perfect moment to join her in a harmonious tune. The intensity rose as Dorise began playing her guitar. It was exhilarating, uplifting. Together they are gold.
Tanya and Dorise met in New York over ten years ago. Since then they have played as a duo in many locations around the world. They spend much of their time both improvising and playing covers in the streets of the French Quarter. I swear every cover I hear them play is better than the original. I can’t put my finger on it… something about their music is mystical… like entering the gates of Heaven ( if Heaven were a few blocks from Bourbon Street, HA).
“We’ve both been playing music our whole lives and have been playing in the streets of New Orleans since before Katrina. We were one of the first street performers to return and the storm has strengthened our commitment to bringing music to the people. The street gives us freedom to experiment and make mistakes so our take on songs stay fresh and interesting. We play a wide range of music so we can reach more people. We love doing requests and having surprise guests ranging from singers, dancers, spoon-players, you name it. Its the street so everyday is full of surprises. We look forward to recording another album, Mardi Gras, and having our own Jazzfest stage for the first time this year. “
Below is a video of Tanya and Dorise performing in the streets. It’s pretty funny, you can hear the camera guy singing after a few moments. There are tons of videos on youtube, just search Tanya and Dorise (<< or click). Their energy is contagious!
To hear their tracks visit their myspace page!
Tanya and Dorise are true independent artists, if you want to hear them live you’re going to have to work your way to the bayou. Good news is you can download all of their albums on their website!! Enjoy!