Cat Velez - 24th June 2015

Dan Henshaw's elegant video for Soul Circuit's Rolling With Me featuring Maverick Sabre, is a captivating documentary about a little known African American tradition unique to New Orleans - the Mardi Gras Indians. 

DAN HENSHAW:

"I’d shot in New Orleans a couple of times before and had fallen in love with the city. It's mishmash of music, sin and spirituality that makes it unlike anywhere else in the US. On a previous visit I’d seen these African American guys parading around the ‘hood in elaborate, homemade American Indian suits with psychedelic coloured feathers, holding guns and shouting war cries. It was wild and intimidating but totally fascinating. When Soul Circuit asked me to pitch a music video for Rolling With Me the lyrics reminded me of those Mardi Gras Indians – I knew that imagery would work great with the track.

"My friend Chris, a local who had connections with the Mardi Gras Indians, filled me in about this working class, black tradition unique to Southern Louisiana, that traces its origins back to the times when Native Americans would shield escaped slaves from the white man. Freed slaves began ‘masking Indian’ (they never refer to dressing up or wearing costume, it would belittle the culture) to parade and show solidarity with another oppressed people in the late 1800’s, eventually forming their own tribes or gangs. 

"In the early days there would be violence between some of the tribes, as local gangs “masked Indian” to settle grudges. Now it is a much more positive and celebratory way of life. Chris introduced me to Walter, the older Indian in the video, and his son (also named Walter), the younger Indian whose narrative the promo follows. They are both members of Creole Wild West, the oldest of all the Mardi Gras Indian tribes.

"It is Walter Sr’s voice you hear at the start of the video – he’s a really interesting guy. His past is quite a dark one - he's an ex-addict who ran with gangsters and has spent time incarcerated. It was the influence of the Creole Wild West tribe that helped him turn his life around and give him a purpose beyond hustling. Now he and his son take such pride in designing and making their Indian suits, and representing their tribe, that it's all consuming and keeps them away from the shadier sides of New Orleans life. The allegiance to the tribe and the respect for its history is stronger than any gang affiliation."

Watch 'Soul Circuit feat. Maverick Sabre 'Rolling With Me' by Dan Henshaw' here

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorDan Henshaw
ProducerHarvey Ascott
Director of PhotographyPercy Dean
EditorFouad Gaber
Editing companyTrim Editing
ColouristJason Wallis
Lead actorCreole Wild West Mardi Gras Indan Tribe
CommissionerDan Millar
LabelSony Records
Local ProducerChris Scheurich
Production AssistantAli McNally

Cat Velez - 24th June 2015

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