Gwen Thompkins

Host of Music Inside Out

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

Ways to Connect

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong / Louis Armstrong

Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring facts about Ricky Riccardi, who directs research collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Collection in Queens, is that he never argued with his parents. 

Bruce Boyd Raeburn is known to most people as the curator of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, a position he held from 1989 until his retirement on January 1, 2018.

“Everything in life is governed by rhythm,” says Herlin Riley, “Everything. (And) when you play the drums, the rhythms are quicker.”

Within Buddhist traditions, “samsara” refers to the karmic cycle of rebirth that a being must travel through on their journey towards enlightenment. While in some traditions this can take many lifetimes to complete, others maintain that, for certain exceptional people, the transformative process can happen within a single lifetime.

She may have started 20 feet from stardom, but she’s gained a lot of ground in the meantime. Growing up in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, Erica Falls absorbed the sounds of everyone from Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald to the Sugar Hill Gang and the Ohio Players, to Roberta Flack and Steel Pulse.

Since her debut performance on Bourbon St. singing covers for the band, New Directions, Falls honed her craft as a studio session singer for Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and John Fogerty, on tour with Sting, and more recently as a featured artists with Galactic.

Ann Savoy is a lot of things: a musician, scholar, ethnomusicologist, mother, and world traveler. One thing she’s not is boring.

Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Walter "Wolfman" Washington

Outside of New Orleans, Walter “Wolfman” Washington may not be a household name. Nevertheless, he’s spent decades touring as a sideman with some of our city’s best-known acts, such as Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey.

Bruce Boyd Raeburn is known to most people as the curator of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, a position he held from 1989 until his retirement on January 1, 2018. Together with his inspired and devoted team of researchers, Lynn Abbot and Alaina Hébert, he helped make “the little engine that could” into a accessible treasury of New Orleans jazz history and a unique public resource where academics, musicians, and enthusiasts alike could connect with the men and women who shaped the sounds of the city.

The Rebirth Brass Band
Mark H. Anbinder / Flickr

This is not John Philip Sousa’s band music.

Don’t get us wrong, Sousa is in the pantheon of them-who-haul-brass-through-the-streets, but we suspect the maestro might be surprised by the music today. Which, if you think about it, is good.

In case you’re wondering — yes, this is a Best of Music Inside Out program. But the topic is universal. The songs we hear as children — even the ones we don’t like — help shape our feelings about the music we love as adults.

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