13 November 2017

Post 567: THE GENEROUS MAKERS OF GREAT VIDEOS

If, like me, you spend many hours watching YouTube videos of traditional jazz bands playing in the USA - and particularly in New Orleans, you must have noticed that dozens of the videos have been put up by two video-making enthusiasts who use the code-names digitalalexa and RaoulDuke504And more recently James Sterling has also come on to the scene. And there others - such as Wild Bill and jazzbo43, who have captured many good New Orleans performances for us. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude; and I think the bands too must be grateful to these people for spreading their fame to many thousands throughout the world. 

A great experience I had in New Orleans during April 2015 was meeting two of these video-makers. They were enthusiastically filming at the French Quarter Festival.

RaoulDuke504 has the advantage of living near New Orleans. I met him while he was filming the Tuba Skinny performance at the Festival. Here he is:


I had the great privilege of shaking his hand and thanking him for the pleasure he has given me (and so many thousands of people) with his wonderful videos.

Digitalalexa is actually two people - husband Al and his wife Judy from New Jersey. They travelled down frequently to New Orleans and had a grand time filming their favourite bands. Al and Judy film the same performance from different angles and when they return home Al edits the two videos into one, trying to make the most of the best shots they have obtained between them. It was a great honour to meet Al and Judy several times at various events. Al told me his videos by 2015 had over three million 'hits'. It was through their videos that I (and hundreds of other fans) first discovered Tuba Skinny and some of the other great bands. So I am deeply grateful.

Here is Judy at The Louisiana Music Factory, where they were about to film a Tuba Skinny Concert.


And here at the same event is Al.


These wonderful modest people enjoy their relative anonymity. But I hope they won't mind my featuring them on this Blog and saying a Big Thank You to them on behalf of us all for bringing us such pleasure.



By the way, Al and Judy also founded The 2015 French Quarter Festival and Tuba Skinny Appreciation Society. Al and Judy designed and then Judy embroidered a batch of these lovely souvenir bannerettes. They distributed them to several fans to wave during the Parade and they also gave some to the members of Tuba Skinny.
What terrific souvenirs. I treasure mine!

James Sterling lives in Florida and can get to New Orleans in five hours by car. In January 2015, he came upon a YouTube video of Tuba Skinny (probably one of digitalalexa's). He told me it changed his life for ever. (Exactly the same experience had happened to me a year or two earlier.) He said: 'I watched Tuba Skinny videos for 6 hours straight, finally stopping at 1am'. Since then, James has made the journey three or four times each year. In 2016, I had the pleasure of meeting James and his wife, too. Here he is in Frenchmen Street. Thank you, too, for all the good work, James!