November 13, 2007

Willie Birch in the Brooklyn Rail

Really fresh interview with Willie Birch in the Brooklyn Rail.

"Birch: The religion we call voodoun has a nature of embracing everything. It pulls it in and when it shoots it back, it’s disguised but it’s still Yoruba. I see New Orleans’ culture the same way. New Orleans culture is a culture that allows everything to come in but when it tweaks it and pushes it back out, you still hear those drum beats coming out of Congo Square. That is the root. This place is so powerful. It’s not like New York. It’s not like L.A. It’s not like Paris. It’s not like London. I’ve never been to Moscow although I’ve studied Pushkin–it’s not like Moscow. It’s not like Africa. It’s not like Nairobi. It’s not like Cairo. It’s like New Orleans. And its culture comes from the bottom. And the bottom begins, as far as Willie Birch is concerned, at Congo Square. And the nature of what came out of that was able to take all of the human condition and put it in its pot and when it shoots it back out it shoots out a whole different idea of what it means to live in this place in this time of our existence. So I don’t worry about the idea of what’s going to happen."