Grammy Award winning New Orlean’s Neville Brother Cyril Neville has been called a philosopher, poet, and one of the last great southern soul singers. In 1970 he released his debut solo single, “Gossip” b/w “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind,” which included backing music by brother Art’s new outfit, the Meters. It just so happened at this time that the Meters were looking to expand their lineup, and asked Cyril to join in on vocals and percussion contributing to the classic Meter’s albums such as 1972′s Cabbage Alley and 1975′s Fire on the Bayou. Later that year, The Rolling Stones invited the Meters to support the bands World Tour and Mick and Keith wouldn’t have it any other way “you guys should come on tour with us with Cyril as your singer.” is how it was put to the Meters who obliged. Cyril has co-written songs with Bono of U2, Taj Mahal, Daniel Lanois, to name a few and was the one that Lanois credits as the musical catalyst that led to the Neville’s Grammy Award winning record ‘YELLOW MOON.” Most recently he has fronted and sang for New Orleans Funk band Galactic, the Voice of the Wetlands All-stars, The Neville Brothers, and continues to do shows with his own group Tribe 13. His most recent television appearances have been on 2011′s episode of Jimmie Kimmel LIVE and HBO’s hit series “Treme.” Cyril is featured on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, plus many more. He has performed all over the world including the infamous Amnesty International tour with U2 and the Police and has sung for Nelson Mandela. There is no doubt that with in the first few vocal notes it is easy to tell that musical royalty runs deep in Cyril’s blood and he remains a percussionist to be reckoned with. BIG CHIEF MONK BOURDREAUX The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian phenomenon is part music, part heritage, part ancestry, part revelry, part fashion, and oft misunderstood. Chief Monk Boudreaux is one of the most famous and enduring leaders of that culture and head of the Golden Eagle Mardi Gras Indian tribe. He admitted that he shared those feelings of confusion related to those traditions that he embraced long before he fully grasped them. “My dad used to mask as an Indian,” he recalled. “We would get up at 4 o’clock in the morning, help him make his dress, watch him when he’d leave, stay out there, and wait for him to come back. As I got older, I started wondering why he was doing that. I never asked, but I knew there had to be a reason. “Then I started building up my own Indian suit. I was 12 years old. My dad had stopped, so I went with another tribe. I was chief scout the first year. The second year I was spyboy. It’s a feeling you can’t explain, because it’s something deep inside of you.” Boudreaux confided that the costumes take about eight or nine months to complete. One of the greatest concerns regarding the continuity of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition is whether subsequent generations will have the patience and devotion required to preserve it. As he became involved with the Indians, one of his mentors taught him a number of songs with the realization that he would one day be the chief. Soon thereafter, Boudreaux realized that he had a gift in terms of both performance and creativity. “I started off singing Indian songs,” he said. “Later on I realized that I could sing just about anything that I wanted to. I could create my own music, and lyrics just come to me. If something stays on my mind, I can make a song out of it.” Music has also become a vehicle for raising awareness of the plight of coastal erosion, a dynamic that contributed to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, accelerated in its aftermath. Boudreaux joined forces with blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Tab Benoit and an all-star band of musicians in the project “Voice of the Wetlands.” The group recorded and performed songs aimed at raising awareness of this issue that is central to the viability of the region.