Fun, fresh, and creative, HARMONOUCHE combines world class musicianship and a good dose of humor to deliver a unique sound orchestrated with jazz guitar, diatonic harmonica, singing, whistling, clarinet, saxophone and other instruments. Evoking Parisian cobblestoned back alleys and neighborhood joints in the Crescent City, HARMONOUCHE’s smooth blend of world styles energizes audiences and harkens back to old world times.
HARMONOUCHE was originated by Raphaël Bas in 2011, a French guitarist and harmonica player who moved to New Orleans in 2005. The band also includes Chris Kohl on clarinet and Pascal Valcasara playing saxophone, piano, melodica and cajon.
HARMONOUCHE’s repertoire includes a variety of melodious ballads and fast tempo numbers with fiery themes and improvisations. Musical boundaries are pushed to explore innovative grounds – mixing the old and the new – inviting the audience to enjoy and be inspired by the journey.
Meschiya Lake began her singing career at the age of nine. As a young woman, she traveled with the Know Nothing Family Zirkus Zideshow and End of the World Circus – a troupe blending traditional circus arts with modern sideshow varieties. It was while touring with this troupe that she fell in love with New Orleans, her home base for the last decade and counting. In 2007, Meschiya began singing with the traditional jazz outfit the Loose Marbles on Royal Street in the French Quarter. In 2009 she formed The Little Big Horns Jazz Band.
Ms. Lake and her band have since performed around the world – from NYC to Brazil, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy, Russia, the U.K. and Ireland. Her passion, energy and skill have garnered much praise, from NPR’s top ten albums to First Lady of Jazz at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. But most importantly, at home in New Orleans, Lake was recognized as Female Performer of the Year, three years running, at the Big Easy Awards, was named Best Female Singer in Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat poll in 2013 and 2014, and in 2013 the Little Big Horns were honored with the Best of The Beat’s coveted Best Trad Band award. Along the way, Meschiya’s found time to write and produce two albums with the Big Horns, as well as work as a vocalist with musicians like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tom Waits.
Bruce Sunpie Barnes is a veteran New Orleans musician, actor, photographer, author, and former NFL player (Kansas City Chiefs). He has traveled to over 50 countries playing his own style of what he calls Afro-Louisiana music incorporating Blues, Zydeco, Gospel, Caribbean and African influenced rhythms and melodies. He learned accordion from some of the best Zydeco pioneers in Louisiana including Fernest Arceneaux, John Delafose, and Clayton Sampy. Along with his musical group Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, he has performed at festivals and concerts across the US and around the globe.
In addition to this musical work Sunpie is also a member of the Paul Simon band and finished a 58 city arena tour “Paul Simon and Sting Together” which spanned 34 countries (2014-2015). He is deeply involved in New Orleans parade culture and co-authored the 2015 critically acclaimed book “Talk That Music Talk” passing on Brass Band music in New Orleans the traditional way. Over 300 of Sunpie’s photographs are featured in this book.
Sunpie is the Big Chief of the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, one of the oldest existing Black Carnival groups in New Orleans. He is also an active member of the second line parading organization Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
David C. Symons is an accordionist, composer, singer, and accordion technician living in New Orleans since 2012. He founded and currently leads New Orleans-based Brechtian european chamber folk cabaret ensemble The Salt Wives, klezmer band Klezervation Hall, Vermont-based band Inner Fire District, founded legendary Vermont bands Black Sea Quartet and The Brass Balagan, and has played in many bands, including Daniel Kahn and The Painted Bird, Ezekiel’s Wheels, Debauche, and The Underscore Orkestra.
David is a former musical director of Spielpalast Cabaret in Burlington, and has worked as a composer for The Vermont Stage Company, as well as acting in many plays. He originated the role of Hades in the original 2006 and 2007 productions of Anais Mitchell’s folk opera Hadestown.
David is a former faculty member of The Summit School in Montpelier, VT, where he taught a course on klezmer music. He is one of the founders of the New Orleans Accordion Festival.
VIP Seminar Speakers
Cheese Sex Death is a Chicago-based cheese advocacy and events company by Erika Kubick, a monger turned preacher devoted to educating and exciting cheese lovers everywhere. This self-described “Cheese Slut” believes cheese is the sexiest, holiest food in the world and that we should all pleasure ourselves with it every day. She launched Cheese Sex Death as a blog in 2015 and has since amassed a following of 35k and transformed her company into an advocacy platform offering tastings, classes, private parties, sexy swag, and more. Follow her at @CheeseSexDeath.
Harsha E. Chacko, Ph.D., C.S.W. , is a Professor Emeritus of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration at the University of New Orleans (UNO) where he taught for 33 years. He has a doctorate from UNO and Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts, where he first became interested in wine.
At UNO, Harsha developed and taught a popular course titled “Wines of the World.” He has led field study trips to Napa and Sonoma, CA for 10 years and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (the Society of Wine Educators). Harsha taught the “Wines of the World” course in Montpellier, France for the UNO Glories of France program. During this time, he toured Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire Valley, Rhone, Beaujolais, Southwest France and Languedoc Roussillon to acquire firsthand wine knowledge. His other wine research includes the Piedmont, Tuscany and Frascati regions in Italy, the Douro Valley and Setubal in Portugal, Ribera del Duero in Spain, and Marlborough in New Zealand.