August 15th is the Acadian National Day in Maritime Francophone Canada.  It’s especially popular in northern New Brunswick, like it is in Caraquet.  Watch a 72 minute National Film Board of Canada/Office National du Film du Canada film Tintamarre – On the Trail of Acadians in North America (some browsers may not work).  Laissez les tintamarre commence!


Here’s Caroline Gerdes’ article on the courir, Cajun Mardi Gras, in National Geographic’s Explorer’s Journal.  Looks like this is part of a series of articles on cultures and folkways around the world.  The author confesses she’s from Greater New Orleans, which probably means the suburbs somewhere.

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!

The 2014 Congrés Mondial Acadien, or World Acadian Congress, is set for August 8 through 24.  There’s a theme song Mon tour de te bercier you can hear online, too.  It’s sung by Canadian pop stars, Natasha St-Pier and Roch Voisine, both of Acadian ancestry.  French lyrics are available on the page.  The Congrés is held every five years.  The first was in Canada in 1994, then in Louisiana, 1999, all others have been in Canada.

Thanks to Dorothy Brown Photography (“Small stories from real life”) for posting this collection of photos of Bay Area zydeco Andre Thierry and band from a Mardi Gras party (about a month early) at the St. Finn Barr Church in San Francisco.  Zydeco music is part of a cultural matrix, of family, community, church, and more.  As she says “Zydeco: It’s good for you!”  For more on zydeco in northern California, see Mark DeWitt’s book Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World, University Press of Mississippi, 2008.

Lake Arthur, Louisiana is about halfway between Lafayette and Lake Charles and south of Jennings and I-10.  There’s a barbershop in Lake Arthur that hosts a Cajun jam session every other Saturday.  This video starts with an advertisement and lasts about 01:48.  Listen for the Cajun accents.  Louisiana Traveler – Cajun barbershop.

A tout le monde, bonne annee pour 2013!  Je souhait que vous avez le meilleur musique Cajun, Creole et zydeco tout les jour et tous les soir!

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