"Van Helen" cello

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September 20, 2017 at 9:01 am Quote #57196



New Orleans Jazz Museum exhibit brings female perspective to jazz history
Updated on September 20, 2017 at 6:31 AM
Posted on September 20, 2017 at 6:30 AM
By Jennifer Larino
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

David Kunian, music curator at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, can name quite a few influential women who have helped shape the city’s jazz scene, from Blue Lu Barker to Aurora Nealand. But he found a lot lacking when he started looking through historical accounts of jazz in 2016 with an eye for women’s stories.

“The story of women and how they’ve contributed to the arts and jazz has not really been told,” Kunian said. “I figured we could do a small part to remedy that.”

The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint is showcasing the lives of women in jazz in a new exhibit called “Women of Note” that opened Aug. 3 and runs through August 2018. The exhibit, the idea for which came from local women’s rights group NOLA4Women, features historic photos, recordings and other artifacts from female artists, ranging from the early days of jazz to present.

Kunian said it took a lot of digging to fill in the details about the history of women in shaping the music form, especially in the early days when it was considered improper for women to be in nightclubs, much less sing or play piano in them.

Kunian worked with several contemporary artists to gather instruments to display, including a red and white cello from Helen Gillet painted to look like an Eddie Van Halen guitar. Gillet calls it the “Van Helen” cello.

Kunian noted many of the women who appear in the contemporary portion of the exhibit can be found singing and playing in local venues.

“The music is still alive and being played,” he said. “It’s as much of a creative force as it always has been.”

The Women of Note exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. See the New Orleans Jazz Museum website for more information.


September 20, 2017 at 10:57 am Quote #57197

Chris UK

Cool!… that pick-up is a hell of a long way from the strings, so far away I wonder if it actually works or if its just for show?

September 20, 2017 at 12:23 pm Quote #57198


I bet Ed would think that is pretty cool.

The poor folks play for keeps down here…They’re the living dead. Nobody rules these streets at night like Van Halen!!


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