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 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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