He's At The Heart Of Mardi Gras' Iconic Sound

art neville playing at a concert
Via Flickr
Abeni Jones
January 24, 2023

For decades, Art Neville blessed our people with his classic tunes. From jazz with a little funk on it to brassy sounds heard in New Orleans’ streets, Neville is a bonafide legend.

As a teen, Neville recorded “Mardi Gras Mambo” with the Hawketts, and the song blew up, becoming a Carnival classic that is still played at Carnival more than 60 years later.

After playing with a few different bands and recording more New Orleans classics, he formed the Meters, which included brothers Aaron and Cyril. In the 1970s, they went on tour with the Rolling Stones, and former Beatle Paul McCartney was such a fan, he had them perform at one of his album releases.

The brothers re-formed as the Neville Brothers a few years later and released Yellow Moon, a Gold-certified album that sold over half a million copies in 1989. They are still staples in the New Orleans Jazz scene.

For so many of our people, music is a balm. We salute musical legends like Art Neville, who was never afraid to create beautiful Black sounds. Even if you’ve never experienced Mardi Gras, you can celebrate Neville’s legendary sound.

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