This Saturday, downtown Alexandria will host the Second Annual Little Walter Music Festival. One of the foremost names in blues, Little Walter not only revolutionized blues harmonica playing, but was also known for such hits as “Juke” and “My Babe.” A native of Central Louisiana – born in Marksville and raised in Alexandria – it is only natural for our city to honor his memory with a festival of this scale.
Throughout the afternoon and evening of Saturday, May 24, blues bands will pack the stage of the Alexandria Amphitheater. Some of the artists have local connections like Leon Medica – long-time member of the band Louisiana’s LeRoux known for the songs “New Orleans Ladies” and “Take a Ride on a Riverboat.” Other artists come to Alexandria from afar. One such artist, Mud Morganfield will present a tribute to his father Muddy Waters – a Chicago-based collaborator of Little Walter who inspired the electric direction the bluesman took with his harmonica playing. Another artist Nacomi Tanaka is a Japanese blues singer who comes to Alexandria as a cultural exchange.
Film aficionados will also have the chance to see Cadillac Records, featuring Beyoncé in a movie recounting the careers of Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and “The Matriarch of R & B” Etta James. The film showing will be at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center – a close walk from the Amphitheater – from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM that evening.
All events are free of admission, which is really quite a treat considering the caliber of artists coming for the festival. Hope to see you Saturday!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a recent graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college located on the campus of Northwestern State University. There, he studied music history, completing an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” Now living in Alexandria, he is one of the founding members of TicketCentral and will also be writing this season’s program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.