Northside Skull and Bone Gang master drummers
Left to right, percussionists Simba Marvin, Seguenon Kone, Solomon Israel, and Collins Whitt accompany the Northside Skull and Bone Gang. When Bruce Barnes worked with Al Morris to revive the skeleton tradition in the late 1990s, he added a team of African drummers to parade with them on Mardi Gras. These percussionists honor the maskers, the people of Tremé, and their African ancestors.
Before they take to the streets on Mardi Gras, the bone gang members invite the ancestors to inhabit their bodies. The drumming attracts the spirits to the gang, and the drummers’ hands connect the spirits to the percussion instruments. The instruments shown here include the djembe (far left), the dunun (horizontal drum in the center), and the shekere (encased in yellow and purple beads).