Congo Square rhythms fest kicks off March 23

March 16, 2013 • Entertainment

FILE – In this May 4, 2012 file photo, the Pedrito Martinez Group performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. Martinez and the Red Baraat rhythms band are among the acts heading to New Orleans to headline a festival celebrating the music and culture rooted in Africa that made its way to the Caribbean and Gulf South region centuries ago. The Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival is a free event open to the general public. It is in its sixth year and will be held at Armstrong Park in New Orleans March 23, 2013 through March 24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — By New Orleans standards, the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival is relatively young, reaching its sixth year this month. But the music and culture that the two-day event celebrates made their way to the Gulf South region centuries ago.

Beginning in the 1700s, slaves and free people of color gathered in Congo Square on Sundays to trade goods and play music. It’s where much of the city’s early jazz, blues and gospel music was born, and the Login to read more

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