No accordion here, this is a version of BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet’s long-time favorite song Zydeco gris gris.  Since Jimmy Breaux left the band, BEauSoleil has not had a regular accordionist.  At the June 2014 Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, it was Jo-El Sonnier doing the honors.  Wonder if they’ll add a regular accordion player to the band.  BeauSoleil tours a lot, so look for ‘em in your town soon!  And it was recorded underground in Tennessee.  

One hour and twenty-six minutes of zydeco excitement; here’s Buckwheat Zydeco in Milwaukee.  This was a student produced project with Student Ops, and they did a great job!  This isn’t someone with a single low-res camera, it’s HD all the way with student producer Morgan Kauphusman and student director Justin Avery..  There’s all the performer to audience interaction, as well as a big band, with trumpet and saxophone.  Eh toi! 

YouTube user Louisiana Stars has posted a video of a 2014 performance of “Let’s Go!” by Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.   This is the title track of his CD “Let’s Go!” The title says it’s a Mardi Gras gig, but doesn’t say where.  Note the sax and trombone players, not a regular part of his band.  As usual, Nathan Williams wears his trademark hat and sunglasses and does a little dance step as he plays; that’s not easy with a big old piano-key accordion strapped to his chest!    Williams is an under-appreciated musician, with eight main albums released by Rounder, and three live performance at Jazz Fest, as well as many individual tracks on compilation albums.  As he says:  “You got to wonder where you’re going but never forget where you came from.”

Let’s go (Rounder, 2000)
I’m a Zydeco Hog (live at Rock ‘n’ Bowl) (Rounder, 1997)
Follow Me Chicken (Rounder, 1993)
Your Mama Don’t Know (Rounder, 1992)
Steady Rock (Rounder, 1992)

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2011, 2012 and 2013 ( – search artist in pull-down box)

Here’s Marc Savoy, solo, on stage at the Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix, AZ.  He’s playing the first song he learned, “J’ai passe devant ta porte,” or “I passed by your door.”  It’s an instrumental, so don’t wait for the vocals to kick in.  Savoy is one of the two best accordion makers, the other being Junior Martin.  They’re all made by hand, slowly, and they aren’t cheap!    

Here are four glorious Louisiana Creole songs brought to you by KEXP-FM, Seattle, WA.   The set starts with Le soleil est leve (The sun is setting), then Pa Janvier (or Donne moi Pauline), a great minor key song from the Cajun repertoire.  There’s an interview with Watson from 8:40 to 15:31, followed by Cochon de Lait, then some more discussion about the band members, and Les hurlements.  Watson plays diatonic and double-row accordion and violin and sings.  Each song is named with text over the video. 

Here are some real, live Mardi Gras singing the Chanson de Mardi Gras near Iota, Louisiana.  “Mardi Gras,” or “Fat Tuesday” is the last day before Lent.  It is the last day for feasting before the austere Lenten season.  In Cajun country, men and women dress up in colorful costumes and ride the highways, going from house to house, begging for ingredients for the communal gumbo eaten at the end of the day.  “Mardi Gras” refers to the day and, in Cajun country, to the riders themselves.  There are two figures with mock whips in hand, one in brown and one in a red vest.  Looks like the man in the vest is the capitain (captain), who is responsible for keeping a semblance of order among the riders.  Singing begins at about 0:43.  Every community has its own version of the chanson de Mardi Gras.  Here are three:  Balfa Brothers, Austin Pitre, and Steve Riley.  The one sung here doesn’t match exactly any of them.  Love the look of wariness on the dog on the porch, and the frisson on the faces of the children.  The wire screen masks are evident, the conical capuchon hats, and the fringe on all the costumes.  Capitaine, Capitaine voyage ton flag!

Jeffrey Broussard will be featured in the second hour of this week’s American Routes radio show from Nick Spitzer, along with D.C.’s Chuck Brown.  Broussard is a singer and accordion player, and leader of Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys.  He was also a member of the band Zydeco Force.  It’s show #839.

Here are the incredible Pine Leaf Boys live at the Hawamé Roots Festival in Belgium.  That’s the irrepressible Wilson Savoy (Marc & Ann’s son) on accordion and vocals, Courtney Granger on fiddle, Drew Simon on drums, Thomas David, bass, and Jon Bertrand on guitar.  The hand-held camera may make you a little dizzy, but just listen.  And in the middle it starts all over again! 

Belton Richard is not well known outside of south Louisiana, but he is an incredible accordion player and one of the best singers in Cajun music.  Richard (ree’-shard) has also written many songs, including this one, Adalida.  This evening performance was outside on the main stage at the Festivals Acadiens & Creoles 2013.  (2014 dates are Oct. 10-12, by the way–you must go some year to enjoy Cajun music at its home.)  Richard was active in the 1970s and then dropped out of the business until his 1995 album, I’m Back!  He’s backed up here by the Jambalaya Cajun Band, Terry Huval on violin, with Clarence “Junior” Martin on pedal steel guitar.  Richard plays the occasional Sunday dance at La Poussiere, now that Walter Mouton has retired.  

There are still a lot of untold stories about French North America.  One is about the French of what is now called Missouri.  This was part of upper Louisiana, the French corridor through the current United States, sold to the fledgling country by Napoleon in 1803.  (The Louisiana Purchase was completed 210 years ago today!)  Reminds me of the call in a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade in 2006, just after the Corps of Engineers/Hurricane Katrina disaster to “Buy us back, Chicac!”  This is not at all the usual Friday video, though it does has a musical background.  The music sounds Cajun to me. 

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