Bruce Sunpie Barnes is a veteran musician, park ranger, actor, former high school biology teacher, former college football All-American, and former NFL player (Kansas City Chiefs).
Sunpie is also deeply involved in New Orleans parade culture and is Second Chief of the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, one of the oldest existing carnival groups in New Orleans, and a member of the Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Barnes
His music is deeply influenced by a mix of blues, zydeco and Afro-Louisiana music incorporating Caribbean and African influenced rhythms and melodies. Living in New Orleans he’s deeply connected to New Orleans and Haitian culture and music. He is featured in the documentary Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music Of New Orleans.
In this interview, produced by Kanaval documentary assistant producer Eve Abrams, Sunpie talks about the cultural traditions indigenous to New Orleans and Haiti, both grown from West African roots, explored in more depth in the documentary, hosted by Leyla McCalla.
Below, listen to Bruce Sunpie Barnes.
This interview is part of a series – Exploring The Deep Ties Between New Orleans and Haiti – Abrams produced for WWNO in New Orleans, in collaboration with the Kanaval project producers at WXPN in Philadelphia. This series was produced by Eve Abrams as part of WXPN’S Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the music of New Orleans, which has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.