I love the music of places like Cuba and Brazil and God knows they have had a massive influence on the course of world music.
But let’s look at a few numbers for perspective.
The current population of Brazil is over 191 million people (191.000.000.)
Cuba has over 11 million (11,000,000)
New Orleans, at the height of its population (roughly 1960) had less than one million, 627,000 to be exact.
Today, after the federal levee catastrophe, the city is estimated to have something over 300,000.
So let’s line it up:
Brazil – 191,000,000
Cuba – 11,000,000
New Orleans – 300,000
For people who like percentages this means that New Orleans is only 00.15 % of the population of Brazil and only 2.7% of the population of Cuba.
Now, music is not a competition and the point of all of this is not to rank places and people by their importance, but it does illustrate a point about little New Orleans.
Jazz, R & B, rock and roll, funk, and a whole bunch of other varieties of music that didn’t get a name that stuck…no place on earth in the modern era has ever cranked out as much music as New Orleans.
Ernie K-Doe may have been right when he said it:
“I’m not certain, but I’m almost positive that all music came from New Orleans.”
Manchester, New Orleans’ sister city, which has also had a disproportionate influence on the course of popular music, has a population of less than 500,000.
Big things come in small packages.