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Music / The Wild Tchoupitoulas

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The Mardi Gras Indians (sometimes known as the Afro New Orleanian Tribes or Black Indians) are Afro-American social clubs that take on the names of fictitious Indian tribes. They each have their own special expressions, rituals, and costumes influenced by Native American dress and culture and today there are over 30 "tribes" which play and perform to this day. In 1976, a record would come out that brought the music of the Mardi Gras Indians to a wider audience.

The Wild Tchoupitoulas is an album by a Mardi Gras Indian tribe of the same name, whose name was itself fabled to be the name of a lost Indigenous tribe meaning "those who live at the river". Headed by George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry and notably produced by famed producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint, it would exemplify the traditional music of the Mardi Gras Indians, itself being a cross-pollination of New Orleans R&B, jazz, funk and the call-and-response style chants associated with Mardi Gras Indians. The songs themselves would be a mix of traditional songs from Mardi Gras Indian processions ("Indian Red") and original tracks written by the backing band ("Hey Pocky-a-Way", "Brother John"). Whom of which was made up of funk band and session musicians, the Meters and Landry's nephews Art (who was also an original member of the Meters), Charles, Cyril and Aaron, who would later make up the funk band the Neville Brothers, inspired to continue playing and performing by there time as apart of the group.

While it was their sole record and not much of a financial success, it would receive much critical acclaim and later be included in the Library of Congress' National Registry, as a designation of "cultural, artistic and historic importance to the nation's aural legacy".


  • The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)


  1. "Brother John" (3:37)
  2. "Meet De Boys On The Battlefront" (4:07)
  3. "Here Dey Come" (4:07)
  4. "Hey Pocky-a-Way" (3:59)
  5. "Indian Red" (7:21)
  6. "Big Chief Got a Golden Crown" (4:01
  7. "Hey Mama (Wild Tchoupitoulas)" (4:46)
  8. "Hey Hey (Indians Comin')" (4:00)


  • George Landry - general composer, vocals, tribe role ("Big Chief Jolly")
  • Norman Bell - vocals, tribe role ("Second Chief")
  • Booker T. Washington - vocals, tribe role ("Trail Chief")
  • Candy Hemphill Christmas - vocals, tribe role ("Flag Boy")
  • Amos Landry - vocals, tribe role ("Spy Boy")
  • Art Neville - keyboards, background vocals, producer, arranger, composer (track 4)
  • Cyril Neville – congas, background vocals, composer (tracks 1, 8)
  • Charles Neville – percussion, background vocals, arranger, producer
  • Aaron Neville – piano, background vocals
  • Ziggy Modeliste – drums, composer (track 4)
  • Leo Nocentelli – guitar, composer (track 4)
  • George Porter, Jr. – bass, composer (track 4)
  • Teddy Royal – guitar
  • Willie Harper – background vocals

Tropes of the Nation

  • Alliterative Title: "Hey Hey (Indians Comin')"
  • Badass Boast: In "Meet De Boys On The Battlefront"
    I'm an Injun ruler from the Thirteenth Ward
    A big Chief Kahuna and I won't be bought
    I walked through fire and I swam through mud
    Snatched the feathers from an eagle, drank panther blood
  • Bilingual Bonus: Although the record is predominantly in English, it also has the tribe/band singing in Kouri Vini, the native tongue of the Louisiana Creole people, of which many of this albums participants were.
  • Break Up Breakout: The Neville Brothers would achieve success as a band themselves not too long after this record's release.
  • Face on the Cover: The album cover is a painting of the tribe members in their traditional apparel
  • Folk Music: The record is comprised of traditional Mardi Gras Indian music and songs, with a few exceptions.
  • Funk: The record (and Mardi Gras Indian music, by proxy) can be considered an admixture of this, New Orleans R&B, zydeco and jazz.
  • Native Americans: Although the origins of the tradition are shrouded in folktales and general mystery. The Mardi Gras Indian tribes are largely considered to be tributes to Native Americans. Specifically for hiding runaway slaves during the 1800s.
  • Record Producer: Allen Toussaint, however Art and Charles Neville, along with one of Toussaint's label associate and producer, Marshall Sehorn.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: Most songs are either traditionals or songs written by the band. "Meet De Boys At The Battlefront" is a interesting case in which and where the song is a traditional, but the instrumental behind it is from the old hit "Rum and Coca Cola", originally by Lord Invader, a calypso artist (and Covered Up by The Andrews Sisters).
  • Self-Titled Album: The album was named after the tribe.
  • Title Track: "Hey Mama (Wild Tchoupitoulas)"