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Local Students Bring New Orleans Music to Disaster-hit Japan

New Orleans music plays a big role in the lives of several O. Perry Walker High School students who recently travelled to a small town in Japan hard hit by last year’s devastating tsunami.

I know how much the Japanese love New Orleans music. Several years ago I had ESL students from Japan who had moved here just so they could take part in the local music scene. I love seeing our young students get the opportunity to share the music they love with other peoples and other cultures.

And of course these kids are no strangers to disaster having endured Hurricane Katrina only seven years ago.

Local Students Bring New Orleans Music to Small Town in Japan

new orleans music to sendai japan

Festivals of lights in Sendai, Japan where 16 New Orleans students will bring New Orleans music to tsuanmi-hit small town.

This report is from

“New Orleans second-line music, soul music, funk, everything,” said student Darryl Staves. “Jazz, swing.”

Over at O. Perry Walker this week, the eight students going on this journey got together with their parents to pack for their trip to Japan. They have their instruments, matching outfits, new luggage and iPads to do homework – all donated to help them on this trip.

And while it’s the trip of a lifetime for these kids, it’s all about the music.

“Music just needs to be in my life,” said student Julius Hill.

For 17-year-old Devin Lee, the story is the same. This is a dream come true. Lee, who’s never even been on a plane, knows this is the trip of a lifetime, and he understands this band will go to Japan with a message.

“That music is universal,” Lee said. “You know, it doesn’t matter what you play, how you play it. It’s all the same.”

This fantastic trip is sponsored by the Tipitina foundation and the kids are acting as not only as good Samaritans for people in need but as great ambassadors for the city and New Orleans music.

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