EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 6, 2014

From Bourbon Street to Wallis Street

Gloucester resident brings Mardi Gras to North Shore

While waiting for spring, you can warm up to the music of Mardi Gras this weekend.

That’s because singer Henri Smith, leading a band with fellow New Orleans natives Charles Neville and Amadee Castenell, is bringing the music of Fat Tuesday to the North Shore this weekend.

“We pride ourselves on authenticity,” said Smith, who lives in Gloucester. “It’s going to be four of us, including a young drummer, Charles Burchell. He’s going to be with us Sunday at the matinee. He was taught by some of the greatest drummers of New Orleans.”

Neville, who with his brothers Aaron, Art and Cyril, has performed all over the world, is a Grammy Award-winning saxophone player, and so is Castenell.

“Castenell’s been with Elvis Costello,” Smith said. “He won a Grammy with Dr. John, and he’s been with Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, and Etta James.”

The band will play concerts at the Larcom Theatre on Friday night and Sunday afternoon and, minus Neville, will also appear at the Community House of Hamilton and Wenham on Saturday night.

The Community House is encouraging visitors to wear Mardi Gras costumes, and will provide plenty of floor space for dancing.

Smith’s band will play traditional Mardi Gras tunes like “That’s When I Know It’s Mardi Gras,” and “Mardi Gras Mambo,” which North Shore audiences like to hear all year, he said.

“We play all kinds of jazz music, but people tend to want to hear Mardi Gras music, because they don’t get to hear it that often,” Smith said. “Especially with the Fats Domino stuff I do, they love that.”

Smith knew Domino in New Orleans, and sang at the rock ’n’ roll legend’s 80th birthday party.

“He was a very nice guy and Amadee and I both knew him,” Smith said. “I was good friends with Dave Bartholomew, he grew up down the street. He wrote a lot of hits for Fats Domino. They were both inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

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