Ghost Town: The Hot 8 Brass Band

This video was shot for the hot 8 brass band and Tru Thoughts records by Melodius Thunk with images echoing the connections between New Orleans’ own Hot 8 Brass Band and the new pulse of this old city the band still calls home. The Hot 8 brass band has always been a group that speaks out when they see something wrong in their community – sometimes to tragic ends. But this has never diminished the bands intensity to fight for what is right. You can hear fiya in their sound on the street. And in and around the juke joints and clubs and festivals and great musical halls and theaters cross the world. The footage of New Orleans was shot days after the storm as a testament to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina so the world could know and see the truth.

Melodius Thunk Productions llc has been working with the Hot 8 Brass Band for nearly ten years documenting Secondlines, interviews and live juke joint shows (we live in the same town) and so found ourselves well acquainted with their wants and style and visual story they wanted to share. Much has been lost in post-Katrina New Orleans and in an attempt to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible, many people, neighborhoods, homes, have been forgotten in the name of progress. Throughout time it is those without a voice who get stepped on and much of the New Orleans of today confirms this truth in clear tones if you know how to listen carefully to the sounds of the street.

Hovering right round this, the 30th anniversary of the Specials’ hit, Ghost Town, the Hot 8 reached into their mojo bag and breathed out New Orleans brass band funk into this early 80’s punk anthem. Down here where we cry when they’re born and try to smile and dance when they pass – BLAM – The Hot 8 felt the ska-beat’s a-tonal chords and dead on lyrics resonating as they try to make sense of what’s become of our home, this magical city since the catastrophe and subsequent gentrification. They listened hard and heard the reflections of our “new” New Orleans against the Specials’ Ghost Town from an England 30 years before: economic unrest and social upheaval burning white hot in a furnace of violent change.

Hot 8’s album is available through Tru Thoughts