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Displaced New Orleans musicians get help from Gulfport church to raise money through live music

It’s all about musicians helping musicians during a time of need.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 8:24 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Since last year, a group of musicians out of New Orleans have been hosting a weekly live-stream music show, raising money to give back to struggling artists affected by the pandemic.

Now, after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, the Funky Uncle is getting some help from a church in Gulfport so they can continue their mission of using music to bring people together.

“When COVID happened we weren’t able to bring it out into the public, to give free funk away to the people,” said Funky Uncle producer Chris Beary.

So in April 2020, the Funky Uncle began streaming a weekly concert every Wednesday night. Beary says the stream helped raise money for musicians and gig workers.

“We’ve raised about $468,000. We’ve helped over 600 people with grants. 100% of the money that gets donated goes directly to the musicians and gig workers,” said Beary.

Singer Whitney Sanders said she thought the weekly concert was going to be canceled.

“I did a wedding Saturday in Jackson, and I thought I wasn’t going to sing for months. I sang like it was my last day on earth,” she said.

Previously, the livestreams were held each week from a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras float dubbed “the Funky Uncle Lounge.” With nowhere to play because of Hurricane Ida, St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Gulfport stepped in to help.

“It’s amazing that they were able to put this together to help musicians not only keep playing gigs, but also raising money to help musicians pay their bills,” said Sanders.

FunkyUncle.Live Presents: The Funky Uncle All Stars

Please tune in TONIGHT September 1st at 7pm CST as we go LIVE with The Funky Uncle All-Stars for a Very Special Hurricane Ida Relief Show! FunkyUncle.Live has been hosting free live-streamed music shows over the past 75 weeks raising $465,767.46 and helping over 600 musicians and gig-workers. Hurricane Ida and lack of power in the city will not stop us from helping our community and bringing Free Funk to the people. Luckily we have been able to partner with St. Peter's by-the-Sea and Father Patrick to host a show tonight to help soothe our people and to help raise money for the continued devastation to our music community. Now more than ever we need your help. We’re going to continue to try to bring you the Funk for FREE every Wednesday. Our music community needs help more than ever and we have had endless requests for relief. Please help if you can. How can you help? - Tune into our livestream this Wednesday at 7pm - Share this post or our Livestream with your friends - Donate on our website or by texting FUNK to 36413 - Purchase something out of the Funky Shop - Purchase a past Frenchy Painting (Brint Anderson, Eric Struthers & Friends, Mustache Petting Zoo or Bones of Uncertainty) www.funkyuncle.live Soul Project NOLA NOLA.com WWLTV WDSU News OffBeat Magazine New Orleans, La. #FunkyUncleLive #FridaysfromtheFunkyUncle #HurricaneIda #NewOrleans #NOLARelief #Ida #Hurricane #NOLA

Posted by FunkyUncle.live on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

It’s all about musicians helping musicians during a time of need.

“I went to bring a musician some cash so that he could pay his electric bill. He wasn’t there and I talked to his wife, and she started crying and hugging me,” said Beary.

Now, money raised will go back to helping artists impacted by not only the pandemic but now by Hurricane Ida.

“Friday’s from the Funky Uncle” is the group’s weekly webcast, which features various New Orleans musicians playing live. Combined with musician interviews and outreach news in the vein of Soul Train or the Midnight Special, the hour and a half program streams online, Facebook Live, Youtube, and Twitch raising money through virtual donations, sponsorships and the sale of paintings.

To watch the Funky Uncle, tune in to their website or social media pages every Wednesday at 7pm.

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