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. 

From the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series, here are Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys in a seventeen minute performance!  They do mostly original songs from their CD Grand Isle.  You’ll hear Lyons Point, Valse de chagrin, Grand Isle, and Honest papas love their mamas better (Fats Domino).  Here is one of the best and most solid Cajun bands around with incredible instrumentals and great vocal harmony.  They play all the favorites but also write some excellent new songs.  

Here is the late, great Clifton Chenier playing Bon ton roulet, a song recorded in the 1950s by Clarence ‘Bon Ton’ Garlow.  This must be quite close to the end of Clifton’s life, Dec. 12, 1987.  He’s sitting down, as he did in the last year or two, and his playing and singing don’t have their usual energy.  He does get revved up at about 2:10, and carries the tune well on accordion.  That’s his son C. J. Chenier with the introduction and playing saxophone.  The person who posted the video identifies Clifton’s brother Cleveland Chenier on rubboard and Harry Hypolite on guitar.  Don’t recognize the bass player and drummer.  Looks like a television appearance, but there’s no additional info.  Fait attention!

This is not your granddaddy’s Cajun music!  Here are the incredibly energetic Lost Bayou Ramblers with Bastille.  The indispensable Louis Michot, fiddle, vocals; Andre Michot, accordion; Cavan Carruth, guitar, vocals; Paul Etheredge, drums, vocals. 

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