A large part of modern music is born in the cities located between New Orleans and Nashville.
New Orleans (Louisiana) is the birth place of jazz music. It is still packed with jazz clubs around the Faubourg Marigny and on the (in)famous Bourbon street. Music is everywhere: musicians try their luck with the public at every corner of the French quarter. Locals organize parades behind a brass band to celebrate weddings or anniversaries, where bystanders happily join in. Prominent community members even get jazz funerals: burial societies accompany their members in music to their last trip.
Memphis (Tennessee) is not only the birthplace of Elvis Presley. It has a very vibrant musical tradition. Blues, rock-n-roll, soul, and jazz music are still heard nightly at the different clubs and music venues on Beale Street. Artists such as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters or Roy Orbison worked there and recorded in its studios a large part of their songs.
Nashville (Tennessee) has all kind of music, but is well known for being at the heart of country music. Thousands of young people attend its clubs every night, creating a joyful, noisy, messy and dynamic atmosphere.
For this photo project, I have toured musical clubs in those three cities, trying to grasp their unique atmosphere and revive via the use of black and white a kind of mid-XXs century vision of the deep South of the US.
Jazz singers, bartenders, bikers or just young people having fun in the steamy hot weather of the Louisiana and Tennessee summer, epitomize a nostalgic vision of this lost wonderful period in American musical history.
About Benjamin Angel
Benjamin Angel is a French photographer based in Brussels. His work is primarily in black and white, though he has already published this year two colour series in the online edition of Dodho Magazine (‘in the heart of the Omo valley’ and ‘Priests of Ethiopia’). His photos on the inhabitants of Jerusalem have been gathered in a dedicated book in 2019 (People of Jerusalem. Husson editions. Belgium ). Part of his work on Ethiopian tribes has also been published in a recent collective book (‘Tranches de vie #2’. Husson editions. Belgium). His photos are shown in several exhibitions in Belgium. [Official Website]