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Michael Doucet recently went to Cuba and declared the environment and music very much like south Louisiana.  He went on the tour to hear music and found it everywhere he went, with a tour group.  Doucet and his band, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, are well known for experimenting and extending Cajun music.  They’ve incorporated rock and roll (“Not fade away”), surf (“Atchafalaya pipeline”), Latin (“Hey Baby, quoi ca dit?”) and other music.  Maybe we’ll hear some danzon on their next album!

The Cajun French Music Association annual Le Cajun Awards were given out Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.  Herman Fuselier reports in The Lafayette Advertiser that Travis Matte took home the most awards for his recording Old Time Cajun Songs (Mhat MP-04009).  Other winner included Lee Benoit, Courtney Granger, Felton Lejeune and Ray Abshire.  Germany’s Cajun Roosters took the non-Louisiana Cajun band prize, their second since 2007. 

Never thought I’d be writing about the Super Bowl, but if you’re in New Orleans the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 3, you can hear a lot of excellent, free Cajun and zydeco music.  There are four stages, all within reasonable walking distance, in Woldenberg Park, the area along the Mississippi River, starting at Canal St. and the aquarium and heading downriver.  It’s a lovely area for walking any time.  And it’s a site for the French Quarter Festival in April.  There’s music  Thursday afternoon and evening and Friday and Saturday from mid-day through the early evening.  Sunday begins mid-morning and ends just after lunch time.  Here’s the Cajun and zydeco lineup:

Thursday, Jan. 31:  5:00 pm Cameron Dupuy & the Cajun Troubadors, 7:20 pm Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys

Friday, Feb. 1:  5:15 pm Pine Leaf Boys, 6:30 pm Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, 8:35 pm Pine Leaf Boys

Saturday, Feb. 2:  3:00 pm Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots, 4:15 pm Lost Bayou Ramblers, 5:05 pm Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, 7:00 pm Roddie Romero & the Hug-City Allstars

Sunday, Feb. 3:  11:30 am David Doucet Cajun Trio

These acts are scattered over four stages.  If you get close enough to hear them, you’ll be able to find out where.  This doesn’t appear in any of the official NFL events.

The blog my hungry heart has a brief story and lots of photos from a zydeco trail ride.  She links to the recent New York Times story, and talks about the purely-by-chance way that she heard about the ride – in a bakery!  As she says, it’s great to hear a positive story coming from the African-American community.  Trail rides are a strong part of the community, bringing people together to enjoy the countryside, each other and music.

The first time out must have worked out well, because the U.S. Department of State has sent the Pine Leaf Boys abroad again – this time to Central Asia, to the nations of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.  They also held a master class in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.  Photo of Wilson Savoy making like Jerry Lee Lewis.  Music is one of the best ambassadors!

Raised in Lafayette, La, filmmaker Allen Clements now lives in Pennsylvania.  Clements wants to make a film about Cajuns from the Cajun perspective.  The title is “We Are Cajun” and it’s filming in and around Acadiana.  He’s asking Cajuns what it means to be a Cajun and filming their responses.  Here’s a story from KATC-TV in Lafayette with mostly stock footage and a telephone interview with Clements.   And he’s using Kickstarter to raise funds for production, with a 5 minute film clip.   The deadline to contribute is 8:24 am CT Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.   Clements says he’ll hire Cajuns to make the film.  There is a web site at http://wearecajun.com, but it’s redirecting back to the Kickstarter site.  Contribution levels start at US$1 and go to US$6500, with many Merci gifts along the way.   No funds go to the producer if the goal of $30,000 is not met, so contribute now!

The Lost Bayou Ramblers are fronted by Louis Michot on fiddle and vocals.  There’s a write-up on him in the New York Times on July 4, 2012 on the cover of the Home and Garden section.  It says “He possesses one of the great keening voices of Cajun music.”  The lead in is about how he built his house, creating one wall out of ‘boussilage,’ a mixture of local Spanish moss and mud.  The Ramblers, Feufollet and the Pine Leaf Boys are sometimes described as the best young bands of this generation, and rightfully so.  The Ramblers have a raw sound, and perform with a fierce energy, leading them to be called ‘punk.’  Read the article and buy a CD; I recommend Live a la Blue Moon.  If you like your music full of energy and feeling, you’ll like the Lost Bayou Ramblers.

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