As with the rest of our WW *insert city here* shows, WW New Orleans was created to celebrate a place that bore the roots of so much music that we love here at Worldwide FM. Hailed by many as the home of jazz, soul, funk and some of the most exciting styles of hip-hop, a New Orleans focus was very much a no brainer for the programming team. The monthly shows so far have constituted four segments, an hour each from Brice Nice (Brice White) and DJ Soul Sister (Melissa Weber) respectively, followed by sets from two of their selected New Orleans DJs. We’ve heard everything from jazz, funk, second line, bounce, hip-hop, club and street sounds to great chat about the New Orleans scene today and of yesteryear.
I spoke to the pair on a three-way Zoom call. They are both working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Weber is sat in front of ten or so crates of records, which she informs me is only a small part of her collection! Unsurprising, as she’s been collecting since she was six years old. Weber is a celebrated local DJ, having programmed for WWOZ FM for over 25 years, and is the founder of the oldest rare groove radio show in the US, Soul Power. She is an MA Musicology student at Tulane University and has presented at a swathe of international music studies conferences. Her fountain of musical knowledge, unlike many other academics in her field, is plumbed into real-life, place-based experience. For us, this makes her radio contributions invaluable. She says, “Everything I play is informed by my being a native New Orleanian, also by my collecting of music over my entire life. What you hear on my show is not from 100% New Orleans musicians, but it represents me and my soul as a New Orleanian”. This very much sums up the mood of WW New Orleans, which spotlights collaboration, musical tradition and the unyielding commitment to self-expression in a city that has faced so many troubles. She says, with a small smile: “And anyway, it bears repeating that all we know as popular music today, the foundations of that come from New Orleans.”