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Cha Wa: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Gathered at Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a hallowed space for Black American music, Cha Wa's set begins with hand-clapped rhythms and light percussion – then, a burst of horns gives way to "My People," a song that zeroes in on the disparities between the haves and the have-nots:

"Rich people living in paradise

Poor people under the bridge at night, oh yeah

Most people know what it takes to survive

But my people know how to do it and thrive."

Cha Wa celebrates Black culture through the medium of rhythm, while also punctuating cultural differences with the hope of opening up the eyes and ears of those ignorant of, or ignoring, those differences. Decked out in a brilliant green feathered "Indian suit," Joseph Boudreaux Jr. celebrates the roots of Mardi Gras Indian culture.

The concert, filmed during the pandemic, was a challenge for a band so used to the stomping feet and smiling faces of a sweaty New Orleans nightclub. It's something they thrive on – an audience can give as much energy as it receives, after all – so performing in front of a camera crew without that same energy was a challenge. All that said, the spirit and message of these songs, from their new album My People, come through loud and clear for a not-so Tiny crowd.


  • "My People"
  • "Bow Down"
  • "Morning Glory"
  • "Wildman"

  • Joseph Boudreaux Jr: lead vocals
  • Aurélien Barnes: trumpet, vocals
  • Joe Gelini: drums
  • Stephen Gladney: saxophone, vocals
  • Joseph Maize: trombone, vocals
  • Alexey Marti: percussion
  • TJ Norris: bass, vocals
  • Ari Teitel: guitar, vocals
  • Andriu Yanovski: piano, vocals

  • Video: New Niveau Productions
  • Audio: Justin Armstrong, Adam Keil, Chris Finney
  • Video Editing: Tony Broussard
  • Piano Tuning: Dave Doremus
  • Special thanks: The Golden Eagle Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, Ron Rona & Preservation Hall, Single Lock Records

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.