Music and New Orleans go hand-in-hand, with the deep-rooted Jazz and Funk woven into the very fabric of the city.
This is why it’s no surprise we’d find an incredible street busker like this one in the “birthplace of Jazz.” This clarinet expert will have your jaw to the floor!
New Orleans has had jazz music ringing through its streets since the 19th century, and it’s still alive today.
Jazz music in New Orleans dates back to before they even knew what to call it, and back then was often spelled “jass” before the name finally stuck during the 1910s.
Jazz gets its roots from ragtime and blues and originated from the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is home to some of the most famous jazz musicians to ever do it, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolton and many more—but the talent doesn’t stop there. In fact, the city is bursting at the seams with talented artists just waiting to be discovered.
Doreen Ketchens is one of those talented jazz musicians in NOLA, and man can she play clarinet.
In this video from 2013, Ketchens had people from all around the world asking: “who is that?”
She takes her clarinet and puts on a jazz-clinic for locals and tourists alike.
It’s as if she’s in another place, as she plays flurries of beautiful notes that are all strung together perfectly.
People walking by can’t help but stop and enjoy the show, but Ketchens is no stranger to blowing people away in The Big Easy.
Native to New Orleans, Ketchens is one of the only female band leaders in the city specializing in Dixieland and Trad Jazz.
People in New Orleans know Doreen Ketchens as “Lady Louis,” because she’s one of the few musicians who can actually hold a note like Louis Armstrong. Not only has she been performing with her band, Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, in the French Quarter for decades, but she’s also gained the attention of some of the most powerful people in the world in the process.
Doreen Ketchens. at New Orleans Calling, Live from Basin Street Station, a syndicated radio program of WWOZ-FM heard in more than 30 markets! Photo by Katheryn Valentino
Lady Louis has been seen all around the globe for her immense talent, but she’s also performed with some of the biggest names in jazz and has been featured in hit tv shows like Tremé on HBO.
Ketchens has also played for a number of United States Presidents.
Revered as one of the trailblazers of the New Orleans jazz scene, Lady Louis has performed for more than one Commander and Chief including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan and George Bush Sr.
On top of all that, Ketchens is a music teacher, helping people with hopes of playing like her one day master their clarinet.
If you play the clarinet, you can check out her YouTube channel for some tips and lessons that will help you improve.
Even with Covid-19 getting Mardi Gras practically canceled this year, Ketchens still found a way to celebrate music.
Just last month, Lady Louis posted a video from home playing a beautiful piece “Mardi Gras Mambo” out of respect for the holiday celebration that started hundreds of years ago.
There are not many people in the world that can play the clarinet like Doreen “Lady Louis” Ketchens. As soon as the Mardi Gras celebration goes back to normal, I’m sure she’ll be back out in the French Quarter mesmerizing tourists with her top-notch clarinet skills.
To see Ketchens go off on her clarinet, just watch the video below!
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