Shotgun Griot is a podcast featuring conversations with creatives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Host Amina Desselle interviews artists working within various media, including musicians, visual artists, writers, comedians, culinary professionals, dancers, actors, and more. Each episode explores the guest’s personal journey and creative vision.
Shotgun Griot hosts regular gatherings for local creative professionals to discuss topics relevant to their work in New Orleans. The theme of each Shotgun Charrette is determined in advance, based on local happenings. These events foster creative community by providing space for artists to reflect on events in their communities and developments in their crafts.
Shotgun Griot was named in reference to two distinctly African traditions woven into the cultural fabric of New Orleans. Shotgun architecture arrived in the United States from West Africa through the legacy of free Haitians of color. Traditionally one room wide, one story tall, and several rooms deep, the shotgun reconfigures Western notions of privacy to create an African-derived sense of shared space. Shotgun Griot is recorded in a shotgun house in New Orleans.
The griot tradition began centuries ago in West Africa. The griot is a storyteller and musician who passes on the stories of a community through spoken word and song, sometimes serving as an advisor or a local mediator. The art of the griot is purposeful and resilient, traditionally passed from generation to generation within a family. The artists of New Orleans maintain the city’s collective memory in a variety of media, providing creative testimony to the lived experience of residents, as they imagine and construct our shared spaces. In the words of Senegalese film director Djibril Diop Mambety, “The griot is a messenger of one’s time, a visionary and the creator of the future.”