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Streaming New Orleans Voices of Congo Square

Streaming Media Producer's Steve Nathans-Kelly interviews William Sabourin and Carlos Larrondo, Director and Tech Director of the world premiere live stream of Voices of Congo Square.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Carlos Larrondo and William Sabourin, two documentary filmmakers who are involved in an amazing project called New Orleans Voices of Congo Square, an electrifying stage show described as “a vibrant and brilliant production of New Orleans’ magical music, colorful dance, and mysterious chants."

Dating back to the pre-Civil War era, Congo Square was a place in New Orleans where enslaved and free people of color congregated on Sundays to dance, sing, make rhythm and music, and preserve and meld cultural and religious traditions that reached back to Africa and Haiti and were widely suppressed elsewhere in the slaveholding South. Congo Square represents resistance, resilience, and cultural survival, and is the wellspring of New Orleans’ vibrant and colorful Black Carnival traditions and jazz.

Voices of Congo Square is a show that’s been running for several years and was scheduled to go on world tour earlier this year, before COVID-19 made that impossible. But the show goes on, and on December 11th and 12th, Carlos Larrondo and William Sabourin will be working with the show’s creators, Chief Shaka Zulu and Naima Zulu, the cast, and their own production crew, to deliver Voices of Congo Square to the world as a live stream.

One sign-of-the-times challenge William and Carlos will face is that they are on different continents. Unable to travel because of pandemic restrictions, Carlos will be streaming the show from Barcelona, Spain with the recently released Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro ISO and Streaming Bridge. William directs the on-site crew in new Orleans. In the interview, William and Carlos told us more about the show, the livestream, and how they make it all work.