Bal Masqué

Musicians from RAM during a recent trip Chef Donald Link took to Haiti.


For the last few years Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski have hosted one of the best parties of the year both in terms of music and food in support their Link Stryjewski Foundation.  Bal Masqué is easily the most stylish way to kick off the Carnival season. The musical selections are always top-notch and the hosts bring in chefs from all over the country to participate. If that weren’t enough, the celebration is a proper masked ball, which adds an air of elegant mystery to the proceedings.

This year the foundation will feature the Haitian band RAM as their headlining guest. RAM’s style of music is known as mizik rasin (roots music) which combines elements of tradition Haitian Vodou ceremonial music with modern elements of rock and roll. There is still a tremendous kinship between Haitian music and New Orleans music, especially in our funk and brass traditions. Hearing RAM perform highlights that shared heritage all the more. RAM will be supported by the Mardi Gras Indian funk ensemble Cha Wa and the progressive Cajun outfit the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Cha Wa’s 2016 release Funk’n’Feathers was a mini revolution on the local scene as it took the traditions of Mardi Gras Indian chants and funk and gave them a modern flair. They sound both like where New Orleans has been and where it is going. Late last year, The Lost Bayou Ramblers released their latest studio record, Kalenda, which was produced by Korey Richey who was most recently seen working with Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. Here the Ramblers have moved into slightly more experimental territory while keeping the heart of their Cajun roots in tact. What we are looking at is an outstanding night of music.

If the promise of great music weren’t enough Link and Stryjewski will be cooking along with guests Nina Compton, John Currence, Suzanne Goin, Paul Kahan and more. One of the things that makes this event special is its textured nature. The masked patrons mingle with members of several costumed carnival and burlesque groups that contribute to the overall feel of the space. Bal Masqué feels like a little taste of Carnival distilled to its romantic essence. To top it off the proceeds all go to the Link Stryjewski Foundation to both nourish and educate the youth of New Orleans. You’ll want to be at this party.


Bal Masqué, Saturday, January 20, at the Sugar Mill,




must-see music

Jan. 5
Katy Perry turns the Smoothie King Center into a Pop Altar.

Jan. 16
The Moody Blues bring prog rock back to the Saenger.

Jan. 18
Marshmello dances into Mardi Gras World.

Jan. 18-20
The Radiators family returns home for three nights at Tipitina’s.

Jan. 20
A Prairie Home Companion drops by the Saenger for a story.

Jan. 21
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rolls into the House of Blues.

Jan. 27
Lucinda Williams will take the stage at the House of Blues.

Jan. 31
Yonder Mountain String Band will jam the night away at Tipitina’s.

Dates are subject to change; email or contact  him through Twitter @Minima.



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