This kind of second line rhythm comes out of the New Orleans tradition of the jazz funeral. On the way to the cemetery, the bands play dirges, slow and solemn. But after the internment, on the way out, after they have “cut the body loose” the music abruptly changes as does the mood of the mourners. It becomes raucous and festive, with a second line of dancers following the band as the crowd shifts into a full-on celebration of the life of the departed.
Iko Iko (Jockamo) was written in 1953 by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford. It describes a confrontation between two groups of Mardi Gras Indians. It has been performed, covered and recorded by dozens of artists and has become a NOLA standard. Here the Neville Bros. perform a live medley at the New Orleans Jazzfest 2010. Oh…Cyril is the super-hot one.