Cajun and Creole Music IS Alive and Thriving

In the past four months since I moved to Louisiana I have evacuated twice, moved my classroom twice due to Katrina, lived way out in the country in Opelousas, bought a house in between hurricanes, and just now moved to Lafayette. I can say “Yes, Mam” without even thinking. And I’ve substituted Seattle’s KUOW with public radio station KRVS 88.7 (available on-line at www.krvs.org ). I also tune into KBON 101.1 (Eunice) to improve my Cajun French and listen to Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music while on the way to and from work. Thanks in part to Radio Acadiana, I have found a few new musicians to top my list of favorites.

The Pine Leaf Boys are releasing their first CD this November. If anyone is in the bay area around Thanksgiving time, you really have to catch them in Alameda. I got my first taste of part of this group when I heard fiddler Cedric Watson jamming at the Balfa camp (Louisiana Folk Roots Cajun and Creole Week) last April. Cedric is one of those gifted fiddlers who can play what he wants with ease and innovation. He has a smile and a style reminiscent of the late, great Creole fiddler, Canray Fontenot. When Cedric sings, imagine Amadé . When he plays, I see Canray. But the truth is, it is all Cedric. And like all great fiddlers, you will soon be able to discern his style from all the rest once you give it a listen.

Wilson Savoy and the Pine Leaf Boys play incredibly beyond their chronological years of twenty somethings. The talented Wilson has really made it on his own, regardless of name and genetic heritage. He’s a phenom on the accordion, and he’s no wuss on the fiddle either. Drew Simon on guitar, is the quintessential Cajun voice. (They all sing, but then there is Drew). And I’m here to tell you, they are all really nice guys. They are all living together in Lafayette, and are frequently spotted around town doing their night owl thing at the Blue Moon Saloon, Mello Joy Café and wherever…which means I’m sure they’re out and about long after I’ve retired for the night. The boys are already internationally known so if you haven’t heard them yet, you’re missing something.