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Happier than a clam in mud at Torpedo Factory

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Feb 23,2011
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,
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Courtesy Photo<br />Junkyard Saints is a Baltimore-based seven-piece band
Courtesy Photo
Junkyard Saints is a Baltimore-based seven-piece band

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - This good old-fashioned Louisiana dance party is sure to make you happy as a clam in mud.
 
So put on your dancing shoes. It’s time for the one and only Louisiana Dance Party. Sponsored by Hungry for Music, the event will be held at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town on March 4.

“The festivities will begin with two amazing toe-tappin' bands, Junkyard Saints and Squeeze Bayou. Popular dance instructors Ben Pagac and Debbie Shaw will be on hand to provide free lessons in the art of swing, cajun and zydeco stepping," said publicity volunteer Kay Coyte. "There will be King Cake and Mardi Gras beads for all and drinks will be plentiful at the cash bar, along with light snacks.”

Courtesy Photo<br />Jeff Campbell, founder of ‘Hungry for Music,’ has a deep conviction that every instrument he puts into a kid's hands is a tool for peace in the world.
Courtesy Photo
Jeff Campbell, founder of ‘Hungry for Music,’ has
a deep conviction that every instrument he puts
into a kid's hands is a tool for peace in the world.

Proceeds will benefit Hungry for Music, a Washington-based charity that donates instruments to young musicians in need. Children who demonstrate a desire to learn music, or teachers who have willing pupils but no instruments, are the beneficiaries.

"Most anyone will attest to the healing power of music – its ability to soothe in times of tension and its ability to transform sadness and aggression into hope and creativity," said founder Jeff Campbell. “Hungry for Music’s goal is to embrace and promote the positive qualities of music: its ability to enhance communication, create community, inspire a talent, unite all people, and most importantly to heal.”

In 2010, Hungry for Music donated 512 musical instruments throughout the United States and abroad. In February, the charity delivered six alto saxophones to the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center in Alexandria to help the staff begin an after-school program. Musical instrument donations will be accepted at the door during the Louisiana Dance Party. Visit www.hungryformusic.org for more information and to purchase tickets.  

 

Courtesy Photo<br />Washington-based Squeeze Bayou plays traditional Cajun and zydeco dance music from Southwestern Louisiana.<br />
Courtesy Photo
Washington-based Squeeze Bayou plays
traditional Cajun and zydeco dance music
from Southwestern Louisiana.

Junkyard Saints is a Baltimore-based seven-piece band with full horn section performing its own brand of New Orleans-style party music, blending funk, swing, Latin and R&B, with a splash of zydeco. With regular college and independent radio airplay across the country, including National Public Radio, Junkyard Saints has played at some of the most notable venues and festivals in the country including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Pier Six, Fort Lauderdale's Cajun Crawfish and Riverwalk Blues festivals and area First Nights.

Junkyard Saints just won this year’s Wammie Award for Best Roots Rock Duo. They have also won Washington Area Music Association's WAMMIE Award for artist of the year in 2006 and best roots rock group from 2006 through 2009. Bandleader Brian Simms (keyboards, accordion, vocals) was voted musician of the year in 2009. The band, nominated again for 2010 WAMMIES, also has Eric Ulreich on guitar and vocals, Matt Everhart (bass), Christian Stengle (drums), Jeff Chiaverini (trombone), Todd Butler (trumpet) and Kyle Coughlin (saxophone).

Washington-based Squeeze Bayou also is a WAMMIE winner (2008, Folk/Traditional Group), and counts Simms among its members. The band, together for 20 years, plays traditional Cajun and zydeco dance music from Southwestern Louisiana. It specializes in two steps and waltzes, but the music reflects a blend of many styles including country music, blues and Creole. Most of its material comes from traditional sources and the vocals are sung in Cajun French. In addition to Simms, lead singer Karen Collins (fiddle) is backed by Matt Levine (lap steel), Fred Feinstein (guitar), Kevin Enoch (bass) and David Lopez (drums).

In 1998, Squeeze Bayou's CD "Steppin' Fast" was awarded the Cajun French Music Association's Prix Dehors de Nous for the best recording of the year by a Cajun band outside Louisiana.

Jeff Campbell has a deep conviction that every instrument he puts into a kid's hands is a tool for peace in the world. Since 1994 Jeff's agency, Hungry for Music, has made it possible for almost 5000 kids to participate in music programs that they otherwise wouldn't be able to attend because the cost of the instruments was prohibitive for their families. Campbell's belief that music heals, coupled with his dedication to his mission has brought Hungry for Music from humble beginnings to its current recognition as an emerging international resource that connects people who wish to donate instruments with kids and music programs who need them.

Louisiana Dance Party is on Friday, March 4, 2011 @ 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at www.hungryformusic.org; $20 at the door.



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