“The story of New Orleans is the story of America—a country founded by people who wanted freedom, and who wanted to escape social injustice and cultural biases. The music of New Orleans has been a celebration of life: uniting, healing, and lifting people up.” —filmmaker and New Orleans native Michael Murphy
For more than 300 years, New Orleans music has communicated a desire for freedom and served as an inspiration for the city, even in the darkest of times. Music helped restore New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and currently serves a form of expression against ongoing cultural and racial biases.
Song and Culture
Up from the Streets—New Orleans: The City of Music leads off the Virtual Cinema series inspired by the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. Director Michael Murphy and musician Terence Blanchard, the executive producer, showcase New Orleans song and culture, reflecting on music’s ability to uplift and unite.
The Music Scene
This new documentary is Murphy’s second tribute to the New Orleans music scene after Make It Funky! in 2005, as Hurricane Katrina hit. Using his hometown as a backdrop, Murphy shows how music has the power to change lives. New Orleans natives including Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis chronicle the development of the music scene while candidly addressing the racism many legendary musicians have experienced.
Jazz to Hip-Hop
Up from the Streets also follows the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Cuba, where the band members connect with musical and cultural traditions. Archival footage features icons such as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson, Dr. John, and the Neville Brothers. The younger generation is profiled through the history of Bounce music, the city’s distinctive hip-hop sound.
● Up from the Streets—New Orleans: The City of Music WATCH NOW (June 24–30) Your purchase ($12) provides access to the film for 3 days and supports both the MFAH and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund. See the Trailer