As a child, Jason Marsalis watched old television shows as much for the music as for anything the characters were doing onscreen.

“I became a big fan of reruns of the tv show, The Monkees,” he tells Gwen. “My father thought it was just hilarious that I was into this. But when I look back on it, that was music from the 1960s.”

Early Music of the Garden is presented by Continuum on this program. Four different aspects of the "early" garden are visited: The Garden of Earthly Delights, Dreams in a Pleasure Garden, A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, and When Birds Do Sing.

Continuum presents a highly spirited program of joyful songs and dances featuring cheerful sounds and ringing melodies of the late-medieval period. Bombards, shawms, lutes, harps and gitterns provide a rich program of music, with songs and instrumental music from Spain, Italy, France and Britain.

This week’s Continuum features music by the 14th century French composer Guillaume de Machaut, known as the last great poet who was also a composer. His music for the Mass of Notre Dame represents the first known medieval Mass by a known composer.

(L to R) Crystal Morris, Dr. Valerie Jones, Eldric Bashful, Ebonee Davis, Tyrone Chambers II, Aria H. Mason, Brandon Richardson, Givonna Joseph, Ivan Griffin, (Pianist Wilfred Delphin, not pictured)
Derek Bridges / Flickr via

Givonna Joseph and her New Orleans-based troupe, OperaCreole, tackle some of opera’s most challenging works with gusto, including early compositions written by free people of color in the United States and Europe. So, in addition to Bizet and Puccini and Verdi and Gershwin, OperaCreole gives full attention to composers Andre Ernest Gretry, Edmond Dede, Lucien Lambert and Samuel Snaer, among others.

In doing so, OperaCréole is continuing one of the nation’s longest running opera traditions. New Orleans was home to North America’s first opera house.

On this program Continuum presents recordings by two very early "early music ensembles", the New York Pro Musica, under the direction of founder Noah Greenberg, and the New York Renaissance Band, under the direction of founder Sally Logemann.

Rebirth Brass Band at Underground Arts, 1.11.14
Wendy McCardle /

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.

Otherwise, there would only be the old-timey brass band idiom and the genre would have lost touch with the people.

Which is precisely where this music has always lived. With military bands and civic orchestras and parades and funerals and weddings, brass band music has always been popular music.

Continuum presents delightful catches and ballads of Merry Old England— 300 years ago. Featured will be Songs from the Tavern, Dancing in the Grass, Tobacco and Other Stimulants, and Men and Maids.

Sweet Crude
Zack Smith

  Onstage, they don’t look like a traditional rock ‘n roll band. Sure, the seven members of Sweet Crude are kinda young and kinda scrawny and their clothes suggest a GAP-meets-Garanimals flare.

But they carry no guitars. Five of them play percussion. And yes, there’s a glockenspiel in the mix.

Sweet Crude sounds different too. They produce a sophisticated mixture of rhythm, classical strings, and musical theater that’s highly danceable and even educational. That’s because the band sings in English and Louisiana French – a language they’re learning on the job.

The Orpheum Theater has reopened after 10 years.
The Orpheum Theater

Tune in to WWNO 89.9 FM and tonight at 7 p.m. to hear the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's historic return to the Orpheum Theater. We're broadcasting the entire concert from the September 17 opening night, featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection."