From Quebec to New Orleans and many places far and in-between, Erik West Millette of multimedia group, West Trainz, knows the importance of seeing where you come from. Millette, who has dedicated his life’s work to West Trainz, began the project while traveling by train exploring his family’s roots; roots that would lead him to no other place than New Orleans, Louisiana.
Harry West, Millette’s great grandfather, was from New Orleans. In the 1920s Harry West traveled by train through Chicago, Canada, and New York, eventually settling in Québec City. Growing up, Millette would hear stories of life on the rails and so began his fascination for trains. Traveling and discovering his heritage, trains became Millette’s place of solitude, and the sounds became the music to which he lived his life. Millette began recording train sounds, sculpting instruments, and making music that pays homage to great mythic train lines.
While Millette couldn’t put a number on the many miles he has traveled on trains in his life, he can say that those miles lead him back to his roots in Louisiana. Millette had the opportunity to travel and make music with New Orleans native and soul musician, Willie West. Together, they created music that embodied the spiritual feeling of New Orleans, creating the perfect balance of blues, funk and soul, calling it “New Orleans Funk Train.”
West Trainz tells the story of tunes around the world and above all is a tribute to the major transcontinental express trains. It exemplifies culture, travel, and the quest for roots. It is influenced by great musicians like Ray Charles and Johnny Cash and is unique in a way that festival patrons will understand and appreciate.
Kick off Festival International de Louisiane with West Trainz April 19th and 20th, 7:30pm, at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.