Jamalar Agency is a New Orleans owned and operated, full service entertainment agency that specializes in representing, recording and producing New Orleans Roots Music from their offices and studio located in the now famous 9th Ward.
It all began in 1982 when a small group of struggling musicians, known as JOYFUL! (Jessie Veal, Alfred Caston, Meredith Mickel, Albert Mickel, Loretta Caston, Alvin Washington and Reginald Veal) needed a booking agency to book and market their very own shows, thus the beginning the JAMALAR Agency. They all had day jobs so they could travel the region performing in gospel shows and festivals on the weekends, with time to rehearse, write their own music, and conduct business each Tuesday and Thursday nights at the homes of Alfred Caston and Albert Mickel.
Determined as they were, to become successful, mistakes were made as they learned how to conduct the business of making, marketing and distributing records, booking shows and collecting their monies. It was tough, and sometimes costly. Since they each had their day jobs, the money they earned from record sales and concerts went right back into the business and as a result, their discipline, and a small record deal, paid off. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the Jamalar Agency had grown to one that participated in several hundred concerts a year, in over ten countries world-wide, and employed more than one hundred New Orleans musicians annually.
In 1991, the Jamalar Agency began to host workshops called "This Business of Music." Their goal was to educate young, independent musicians and groups about the "Business of Music." To their surprise, these workshops were well attended and hugely successful. As a result, in 1996 the Jamalar Agency formed what is now known as WAAM International (Worldwide Association of Artists and Musicians), and produces the WAAM International Conference and Showcase, on an annual basis, during the Labor Day weekend. (Unfortunately, the effects from Hurricane Katrina have put the conference on hold for several years now). The workshops grew from a one-day event into a weekend experience. An experience that provides an opportunity for artists and groups to not only learn how to conduct business and network, but to also showcase their talent before an audience of their peers as well as local and international talent buyers and concert promoters, with the possibility of being selected to go on tour with other Jamalar Agency artists.
The artists selected to go on these tours needed a professionally produced record for promotional purposes, so 1996 also brought the inception of Rampart Street Music, Jamalar's newly formed recording label, which led to the development of their state of the art, 32-track digital recording studio. The group, JOYFUL! earned money from concerts and record sales, invested it in recording equipment, and then learned how to use the equipment to produce a quality product for their roster of artists. To date, Rampart Street Music and the Jamalar Agency have produced over two-dozen full-length recording projects. Many of which have received airplay on radio stations locally and throughout North America; they are placed in record stores through out the region, and can be found on Internet sites such as CD Baby, Itunes Amazon.com and RampartStreetMusic.com.
The JOYFUL Foundation is the most recent undertaking of the Jamalar Agency. Formed in the early part of 2008, this foundation, which is funded by the group JOYFUL!, serves to help financially challenged music students to pay for their own instruments. Most of all to help young music students learn and understand the uniqueness and importance of New Orleans music culture. This organization helps to expose these students to real professional concert situations that will entail traveling abroad to places like France, Germany, Italy and Poland as well as provide local and regional performing opportunities. Students from West Jefferson High School were the first such recipients to receive thousands of dollars to fulfill JOYFUL Foundation's mission for 2008. 2010 has been a banner year for our Foundation. Not only have they dontated brand new instruments to 3 talented inner-city students, the foundation was instrumental in bringing one of the award recipients together with a Japan television crew who was in town doing a documentary on underpriveleged children throughout the United States.