Dance Forever! Conference
From The Bayous to The Second Lines
Louisiana’s African American Cultural Traditions
Mona Lisa Saloy, Ph.D
Louisiana Poet Laureate
is an award-winning author & folklorist, educator, and scholar of Creole culture in articles, documentaries, and poems about Black New Orleans before and after Katrina. Currently, Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor and of English at Dillard University, Dr. Saloy documents Creole culture in sidewalk songs, jump-rope rhymes, and clap-hand games to discuss the importance of play. She writes on the significance of the Black Beat poets--especially Bob Kaufman, on the African American Toasting Tradition, Black talk, and on keeping Creole to today. Her first book, Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Her collection of poems, Second Line Home, captures New Orleans speech, family dynamics, celebrates New Orleans, the unique culture the world loves. Saloy’s screenplay for the documentary Easter Rock premiered in Paris, the Ethnograph Film Festival & at the national Black museum. She's lectured on Black Creole Culture at Poets House-NYC; the Smithsonian; Purdue University; the University of Washington; and Woodland Patterns Book Center. Her documentary, Bleu Orleans, is on Black Creole Culture. She is an editorial reviewer for Meridians: Feminism, race, transnationalism. See her recently published verse in I am New Orleans, anthology. Kalamu ya Salaam, editor. University of New Orleans Press, 2021; in the Chicago Quarterly Review, Vol. 33, Anthology of Black American Literature, and Obsidian journal, Water!!! Magazine 2-22, and forthcoming in Black FIRE!!! Anthology, March 2022; and in in Tribes journal NYC, April 2022. Mona Lisa Saloy writes for those who don’t or can’t tell Black Creole cultural stories. www.monalisasaloy.com Tweet to @redbeansista & @MonaLisaSaloy
Geno Delafose (born February 6, 1971 in Eunice, Louisiana) is a zydeco accordionist and singer. He is one of the younger generations of the genre who has created the sound known as the nouveau zydeco. His sound is deeply rooted in traditional Creole music with strong influences from Cajun music and also country and western. His father is the famous zydeco accordion player John Delafose.
Delafose was born and raised in Eunice, Louisiana. At the age of eight, he joined his father’s band, the Eunice Playboys as a rubboard player and continued to play with the band until his father’s death in 1994. He also appeared on the several of the bands recordings. He switched to the accordion in the early 1990s and started to play as an opening act for his father.
In 1994, he debuted with album French Rockin’ Boogie on Rounder Records. The name of this album also became the name of his band with whom he still plays with today. He released two more albums from the label, before signing with Time Square label to release Everybody’s Dancin’ in 2003. He has also appeared on the compilation album Creole Bred: A Tribute to Creole & Zydeco released in 2004 on Vanguard Records
Kiazi Malonga is a second generation Congolese American born into a family of artists. He was first introduced to the Ngoma drum at age two by his father Malonga Casquelourd, a world-renowned traditional drummer, dancer and choreographer from Congo Brazzaville. Casquelourd traveled to the US in 1972 and shortly thereafter began to build his exceptional legacy in the traditional arts in the US.
It was in this setting that Kiazi Malonga was trained and learned about his Congolese cultural heritage. He became the lead drummer of his father’s dance company, Fua Dia Congo, at age 16 and began teaching at that time as well. Kiazi has taught and performed throughout the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Europe and Africa. He currently teaches Congolese traditional music in Oakland, CA. Kiazi released his debut album, Tembo Kia Ngoma (https://linktr.ee/KiaziMalonga) in March of 2021; which incorporates never before recorded compositions from the late Malonga Casquelourd as well as newly composed music.
In addition to music, Kiazi founded and runs a US based nonprofit social enterprise, Pelisa Energy (https://www.pelisaenergy.com/support). Pelisa Energy aims to close the energy gap in Central Africa by supplying solar-powered technologies that have immediate benefits to the health, education and livelihoods of the Central African people.
Kiazi completed a dual masters in International Affairs and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development and has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Stanford University. He has gained working familiarity with environmental, social, and governance criteria and ESG reporting frameworks (GRI, UNGP, CDP, SASB, and GHG Protocol) and ESG ratings/rankings tools (Just 100 and Sustainalytics).
Since coming of age in the nurturing environment of a very musical family and a distinguished bloodline of drummers, New Orleans native Herlin Riley emerged from that most creative era of all things rhythmic in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, to enliven the ensembles of such influential and demanding improvisers as pianist Ahmad Jamal and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis through his commanding yet elegant rhythmic presence.
His authoritative style of melodic percussion is deeply imbued in the fertile creative soil of the Crescent City, encompassing as it does the entire length and breadth of America’s ongoing musical journey.
Now with the release of his debut recording for Mack Avenue Records, Riley’s New Direction is an engaging, wide-ranging recital that distills a lifetime of experience into a swinging body of new music that defines what a big tent the music of New Orleans has always represented stylistically and spiritually.