Cha Wa: Small office concert (at home)

The Tiny Desk is operating from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and around the world. It’s the same spirit – stripped back decors, an intimate setting – just a different space.

Gathered at the Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a space dedicated to black American music, Cha WaThe set begins with hand-struck rhythms and light percussion – then a brass explosion gives way to “My People,” a song that focuses on the disparities between the haves and have-nots:

“The rich living in paradise

Poor people under the bridge at night, oh yeah

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Most people know what it takes to survive

But my people know how to do it and how to thrive. “

Cha Wa celebrates black culture through rhythm, while punctuating cultural differences in the hopes of opening the eyes and ears of those who ignore or ignore these differences. Dressed in an “Indian costume” with bright green feathers, Joseph Boudreaux Jr. celebrates roots of Indian Mardi Gras culture.

The concert, filmed during the pandemic, was a challenge for a band so accustomed to the feet and smiling faces of a sweaty New Orleans nightclub. It’s something they thrive on – an audience can donate as much energy as they receive, after all – so performing in front of a film crew without that same energy was a challenge. That said, the spirit and the message of these songs, of their new album My people, come loud and clear for a not-so-tiny crowd.


  • “My people”
  • “Bow down”
  • “Morning glory”
  • “Wild man”


  • Joseph Boudreaux Jr: lead vocals
  • Aurélien Barnes: trumpet, vocals
  • Joe Gelini: drums
  • Stephen Gladney: saxophone, vocals
  • Joseph Maize: trombone, vocals
  • Alexey Marti: percussion
  • TJ Norris: bass, vocals
  • Ari Teitel: guitar, vocals
  • Andriu Yanovski: piano, vocals


  • Video: New Productions Level
  • Audio: Justin Armstrong, Adam Keil, Chris Finney
  • Video editing: Tony Broussard
  • Piano tuning: Dave Doremus
  • Special thanks: The Golden Eagle Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, Ron Rona & Preservation Hall, Single Lock Records


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Small production team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann

About Ethel Nester

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