If MP3 file does not start automatically.
Bamboula by Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Louis Moreau Gottschalk was baptized in New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral in 1830. That makes him by far the earliest angel on our tour. Of Jewish and Creole birth (1829), he became America's first great composer and a pyrotechnic piano player. His music dates from the first half of the 1800s and contains a unique mix of the new world's gumbo. He lived, studied and toured in Europe, composing rhythmic music from what he absorbed growing up in New Orleans. It was clear Europe had never heard anything like Gottschalk. He became America's first international superstar, winning praise from the likes of Hugo, Chopin, Bizet, and Berlioz.

A place on the northern border of old New Orleans was once used by the Houmas Indians as a sacred place for their annual corn harvest prior to the arrival of the French. By the mid 1700s, during the French colonial period, enslaved African vendors gathered there and danced. This spot, now known as Congo Square, was within earshot of Gottschalk’s childhood home. As a mature musician and composer, Gottschalk paid tribute to the rhythms of the dances there, among them the Calinda, the Congo and the Bamboula. Gottschalk’s tune, Bamboula, clearly exhibits the origins of New Orleans’ music. You can hear cakewalks, ragtime, and jazz, all of which came later.

Congo Square is round... marked with swirling patterns of bricks that dance to Eddie’s guitar version of Gottschalk’s potent piano piece.