31 January 2008

Bouncing Queen + Mardi Gras: Airs Feb. 4

A quirky tradition at the St. Paul Winter Carnival is the Bouncing Team: Fourteen guys holding a round, canvas blanket rocket a young woman 30 feet into the air. She does an aerial gymnastic move. They catch her. The Winter Carnival started in 1886, so did the Bouncing Team; they've been tossing woman skyward ever since -- not one dropped yet.

Listen to a story produced by host Todd Melby. It also aired on NPR's Day to Day and Hearing Voices.

And then we're off to another festive event: Mardi Gras.

We'll air a piece called "Costuming for Mardi Gras" by Eve Abrams. Here's a desription of that story: "If you live in New Orleans, you have to know a thing or two about costuming. A handful of New Orleanians explain how it's done, what it means, and why it's so darn important."

And then we'll conclude with another piece called "Mardi Gras Indian Music." The title pretty much says it all. But if you want more information, here it is: "On Mardi Gras Day, tourists line New Orleans' wide avenues to watch the grand parade floats. The celebration tourists rarely see takes place on the strrets and stoops of the Treme, Black Pearl and the Ninth Ward, some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Those are the parade grounds of New Orleans Black or Mardi Gras Indians. The Wild Magnolias, the Fi Yi Yi, altogether about 40 tribes march in elaborate costumes inspired by the noble Native Americans who were not enslaved by whites. , Some say the tradition reflects West African masking and dance rituals. While their numbers have diminished since Katrina, a number of tribes have recorded music through the years. Producer Virginia Prescott dusts off the stacks to hear the music of the Mardi Gras Indians."

It'll be a great show. Tune in!

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