Cha Wa: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Gathered at Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a hallowed space for Black American music, Cha Wa's set begins with hand-clapped rhythms and light percussion – then, a burst of horns gives way to "My People," a song that zeroes in on the disparities between the haves and the have-nots:
"Rich people living in paradise
Poor people under the bridge at night, oh yeah
Most people know what it takes to survive
But my people know how to do it and thrive."
Cha Wa celebrates Black culture through the medium of rhythm, while also punctuating cultural differences with the hope of opening up the eyes and ears of those ignorant of, or ignoring, those differences. Decked out in a brilliant green feathered "Indian suit," Joseph Boudreaux Jr. celebrates the roots of Mardi Gras Indian culture.
The concert, filmed during the pandemic, was a challenge for a band so used to the stomping feet and smiling faces of a sweaty New Orleans nightclub. It's something they thrive on – an audience can give as much energy as it receives, after all – so performing in front of a camera crew without that same energy was a challenge. All that said, the spirit and message of these songs, from their new album My People, come through loud and clear for a not-so Tiny crowd.
TINY DESK TEAM
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