Big Chief Monk Boudreaux

Big Chief Monk BoudreauxInternationally recognized as the iconic Mardi Gras Indian, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux is, in the words of New Orleans Jazz Fest producer and director Quint Davis, “the big chief of all big chiefs.”

Monk was the founder of The Wild Magnolias Band, recording two records for Capitol Records, and touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe with Robbie Robertson (appearing on many television programs, including Saturday Night Live). In 2001, Monk departed from The Wild Magnolias and recorded two records with Anders Osborne (the first Osborne/Boudreaux collaboration being “Bury The Hatchet”), then returned to his original tribe, The Golden Eagles, to record “Mr. Stranger Man.” In recent years, Monk’s original form of African and Congo Square chanting has been featured on Tab Benoit’s “Sea-Saint Sessions,” “Fever For The Bayou,” Galactic’s “From the Corner to the Block,” Voice of the Wetlands self-titled CD, as well as Dr. John’s “N’Awlinz: Dis Dat or d’Udda.” [Read interview with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux]

Dr. John has said, “When I write those [Mardi Gras] Indian songs I try to think about what would be coming out of Monk’s mouth.”

"Big Chief Boudreaux uniquely balances the stark rawness of the Mardi Gras Indian's chants and rhythms heard on the streets and modern instrumentation and influences. Monk makes it real." (Geraldine Wykoff for Offbeat Magazine)

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux nominated for
the New Orleans 2012 OFFBEAT Magazine
Best R&B / Funk CD - Won't Bow Down!!!

On Big Chief Monk's latest CD "Won't Bow Down"

"..."Monk's Mardi Gras," a slab of low-slung funk fueled by Orgone's rhythm section, with Dr. John on piano..." [Read more...]  ( Philip Booth for Relix, April/May 2012 Issue)

"...Boudreaux takes the music light years from what he and his "gang" were laying down at the H&R Bar... Like a West African djali or griot, Boudreaux is a musician, poet, storyteller, historian, preacher, and teacher, and what he imparts on Won't Bow Down is very much the story of his life..." [Read more...]  (Robert H. Cataliotti for Living Blues, April 2012 Issue)

YouTube - f.Boo Music's Channel   Thunderbird Management   Big Chief Monk Boudreaux


"Won't Bow Down"

© 2011 f.Boo Music (ASCAP) Compact Disc

Big Chief Monk The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian phenomenon is part music, part heritage, part ancestry, part revelry, part fashion, and oft misunderstood. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux is one of the most famous and enduring leaders of that culture and head of the Golden Eagle Mardi Gras Indian tribe.

An iconic voice of New Orleans, Monk’s role as an ambassador has taken him beyond the borders of Mardi Gras Indian music, working with diverse artists such as singer/songwriter Anders Osborne, funk-jam-band Galactic, traditional cajun band BeauSoleil, and the Voice of the Wetlands All-stars (Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville).

Won’t Bow Down is guided by Monk’s adventurous spirit and love for varied musical styles. “Monk’s Mardi Gras,” featuring rhythm section of Orgone with Dr. John on piano, takes us through Monk’s history as an Indian, from childhood to Big Chief. “Footsteps” is “the best song about cooking I’ve ever heard,” says Monk’s producer, Keven Brennan. “I was sitting in his kitchen while Monk was cooking, and he was telling me how he’s been preparing game like raccoon and gator since he was a kid, “taking it home and cooking it for my mother and family.” With Orgone laying down a cool reggae groove, “Don’t Take My Flag Down” is a traditional Indian song that “we used to sing, but nobody does anymore,” says Monk.

It features special guests Dr. John (piano), Papa Mali (guitar and vocals), Jim Keltner (drums), Orgone, War Chief Juan Pardo, Jason Ricci, John Lisi, Ru Williams, and Monk’s son Joseph Boudreaux Jr.

Won’t Bow Down is produced by Keven Brennan and features Dr. John (piano), Jim Keltner (drums), Papa Mali (guitar), Orgone, and Monk's son Joseph Boudreaux Jr., just to name a few.

Joseph Boudreaux,
Keven Brennan,
Big Chief Monk,
Papa Mali
(left to right)

Photograph by
Jerry Moran

Track Listing

1. Monk's Mardi Gras
2. Don't Run Me Down
3. Footsteps
4. Don't Take My Flag Down
5. Four Horsemen
6. Lightning and Thunder
7. Gonna Set 'Em on Fire
8. Mama's Song
9. Jam With Me
10. Education


  • Monk's Mardi Gras
  • Footsteps

Buy Album at cdbaby or iTunes!

Producer Keven Brennan talks about “Won’t Bow Down”

Monk’s Mardi Gras - Orgone, Monk and I played a version of this song first at Jazzfest 2010 as Monk was coming to the stage. It’s the first pairing on the album with Orgone and Monk. The original idea came from Ru Williams, “Monk should have his own Mardi Gras song,” and then we took it to Monk talking about how he got to be the Big Chief. He would say, “go back to when I was a kid” and “listen to the sound of the bells.” Of course it made sense and rounded out the Mardi Gras message to have Dr. John on piano.

Don’t Run Me Down - Monk and I were talking about the tension between the police and Indians, paraders and second-liners. There’s a video on YouTube with Monk walking, and 5 feet behind him there’s a police car with lights flashing, hitting the siren trying to get Monk to move over. But not Monk, he’s not moving over! This was tracked in my studio in California with Jim Keltner (drums) and Dan Schwartz (bass), and me (guitar), as were some of the other tunes. Then I brought the tracks to New Orleans to have Papa Mali sing and play along with Monk.

Footsteps - Most of my conversations with Monk that don’t involve music are about food. I was sitting in his kitchen while Monk was cooking, and he was telling me how he’s been preparing game like raccoon and gator since he was a kid, “taking it home and cooking it for my mother and family.” I think Monk’s charisma shines through on this track, recorded (first take) two days after the high of Mardi Gras.

Don’t Take My Flag Down - Monk said they used to sing this traditional song a long time ago, “nobody does this song anymore.” We recorded the tracks at my studio during the Los Angeles leg of Monk’s tour with Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. It’s got Orgone laying down a cool reggae groove that Monk always likes. I’ve never heard Monk sing like this, with this sound. It just popped out. I think it’s because it made him think of home, and as Monk says, “don’t take my flag down. I’ll be home soon.”

Four Horsemen - The hook for this tune, “four horsemen gonna ride,” came from the feel and vibe of the music. When I think of songs about prophecies, revelation, apocalypse, pestilence, famine, and redemption, I can only think of Ru Williams! So I asked him to write the lyrics, and in typical Ru form, he banged it out in less than ½ hour. It’s one of my favorite tracks because it has so much space, and the repetition of the “four horsemen gonna ride” carrying through the whole tune takes you on a journey.

Lightning and Thunder - “I brought down the thunder and lightning,” says Monk of a song he did on a tour in France, “it was powerful.” Monk’s son, Joseph Boudreaux Jr. says, “I’ve been wanting him [Big Chief] to do a new recording of this song, it’s my favorite.” It’s great to have Joseph Jr. guest rapping.

Gonna Set ‘em on Fire - War Chief Juan Pardo, Mardi Gras Indian with the 101 Runners, joins Monk as a guest vocalist. He’s got such a great voice, and I love what he does with it.

Mama’s Song - Monk lost his mother last year, and although I don’t think he intentionally or consciously wrote the lyrics thinking about her, it’s obvious he is close to her and she influenced both of us. Guest singer Jacquline Hudson from Los Angeles brings her unique, haunting gospel voice to the song.

Jam with Me - This tune was a vehicle to get in some good, throw down, New Orleans jamming with my long time pal John Lisi (guitar) and Jason Ricci (amazing harp player that John’s been playing with recently).

Education - When Monk walked into the studio to start recording, he had this on his mind as the first words out of his mouth were, “there’s a song I want to put on this record that I’ve been working on. It’s a story that I’ve never told anybody publicly.” His story is that he got pushed out of the educational system by a principal who had it in for him, and forced him to repeat a grade three years in a row. It was humiliating and frustrating. His message is, “do not underestimate the importance of education.” He hopes this song will inspire people to place importance on education because even as a young child he knew that it was very valuable. His message is clear, get an education “or the streets will become your love.”

"Rising Sun"

© 2009 f.Boo Music (ASCAP) Compact Disc

Big Chief Monk “New Orleans has music roots going back to it’s beginning, when the African slaves were allowed to play drums outside the city walls with the Native Americans who came to trade with the colonists. This Rising Sun CD is a reunion of these musical streams; long lost brothers in celebration... dancing, dancing, dancing. Join us in this dance of unity, peace and healing.” (Reverend Goat Carson, New Orleans)

Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Renegade Cherokee Reverend Goat Carson had a dream of recording Native American tribesmen and African American Indians together for the first time -- a union 125 years in the making. Rising Sun brings together the Dakota, Lakota, Cherokee and Choctaw; infused with the flair of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian.

The music embodies grooves such as New Orleans funk (Golden Crown, Hey Mama), reggae (Rising Sun), atmospheric, ambient blues (Swing Low) to afro-beat punk (Whambam Medicine Man), and Hendrix-esque psychedelic rock (Voodoo Woman).

"New Orleans has music roots going back to it's beginning when the African slaves were allowed to play drums outside the city walls with the Native Americans who came to trade with the colonists . This Rising Sun CD is a reunion of these musical streams; long lost brothers in celebration- dancing, dancing, dancing. Join us in this dance of unity, peace and healing." -Rev. Goat Carson


  • Golden Crown
  • Rising Sun

Buy Album at cdbaby or iTunes!


"As a member of the venerated Wild Magnolias, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux played a key role in bringing the locally revered Mardi Gras Indian tradition to national and international prominence. In New Orleans, his persona is as indelible and cherished as any of his more widely renowned cohorts. On his latest album, Rising Sun, which also features Cherokee sage Reverend Goat Carson, Boudreaux comes out blazing with “Golden Crown,” a pulsating blues rocker that seeks to capture the excitement and anticipation of setting out with the Big Chief and his tribe on a Mardi Gras morning." [Read more...] (by Aaron LaFont, offBeat, 01 July 2009)

"The Mardi Gras Indians are as much a part of the spirit seared into the music of New Orleans as any other cultural icons. This combination of Native American, Creole, blues, and jazz sensibilities are all present in the get-down sounds of Golden Eagle, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and his Crescent City friends, romping and stomping their way through the streets and into your heart." [Read more...] (Michael G. Nastos, Rovi)