Cajun music, an emblematic music of Louisiana, is rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada. Cajun music is often mentioned in tandem with the Creole-based, Cajun-influenced zydeco form, both of Acadiana origin. These French Louisiana sounds have influenced American popular music for many decades, especially country music, and have influenced pop culture through mass media, such as television commercials.
Notable artists[edit | edit source]
Traditional: Blind Uncle Gaspard, Joseph Falcon, Cleoma Falcon, Leo Soileau, Iry Lejeune, Nathan Abshire, Ambrose Thibodeaux, Lawrence Walker, Balfa Brothers, Octa Clark & Hector Duhon, Austin Pitre & Milton Molitor , Aldus Roger & the Lafayette Playboys, Denus McGee & Sady Courville , Mamou Hour Cajun Band , Amedie Breaux, Moise Robin, Revon Reed's Mamou Social Club, Clément Brothers
Less traditional: Ray Abshire , Cory McCauley, David Greely Tribute to Varise Conner , Robert Jardell, Jesse Légé, Chris Miller, Ganey Arsement
Essential compilations[edit | edit source]
- Louisiana Cajun and Creole Music: The Newport Field Recordings - recorded and edited between 1964 and 1967 by Ralph Rinzler. Listen on: Deezer, Rdio Spotify
- J'ai Ete Au Bal - Vol. 1 The first volume of the soundtrack to the documentary J'ai Ete Au Bal (I Went to the Dance) is an exciting cross-section of the biggest names in New Orleans zydeco and cajun music, featuring first-rate cuts from Walter Mouton, Queen Ida, Nathan Abshire, Iry LeJeune, and Michael Doucet, among many others. Listen on: Deezer, Rdio Spotify
- J'ai Ete Au Bal - Vol. 2 J'ai Ete Au Bal (I Went to the Dance), Vol. 2 is as exciting as the first volume fo the soundtrack, featuring excellent sides from cajun and zydeco artists like Clifton Chenier, Dewey Balfa, Boozoo Chavis, Sidney Babineaux, D.L. Menard and the Louisiana Aces, Rockin' Sidney, and Beausoleil, among many others. It's a fun, intoxicating listen that, in conjunction with the first volume, gives a good sense of what cajun and zydeco is all about. Listen on: Deezer, Rdio Spotify
- Rough Guide To Cajun & Zydeco This installment of the Rough Guide's music series features the Cajun and zydeco genres of Louisiana in all their aspects. As with all Rough Guide albums, the spectrum of music featured is really the outstanding feature. The album starts out (as it rightly should) with Clifton Chenier, the founder of modern zydeco and the undisputed king of the form before his death. It then moves on to his heir in Buckwheat Zydeco's "Zydeco Boogaloo." From there, it takes a turn into a section of more Cajun works, with David Doucet's guitar work and Jimmy Newman's country-flavored zydeco. After a quick stop at the Caribbean-influenced zydeco of John Delafose, it returns to Cajun territory with numbers from Beausoleil, Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil), the Savoy-Doucet band (featuring Michael Doucet), and Eddie Lejeune's stripped-down setup of three instruments. After this sojourn in the whiter end, it goes back to zydeco with a piece from the more modern Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas and the ancient Cheese Read. An interesting work follows from the California Cajun Orchestra, with a thicker, more traditional (read: lower speed) sound, possibly due to their home being in the Bay Area. The album then moves back toward the Cajun end with the full-fledged country sound of Jo-El Sonnier, followed by the anthem of both genres in Buckwheat Zydeco's "Let the Good Times Roll." The finale of the album is the old "Cajun Hank Williams" sound of D.L. Menard. Overall, the album is missing a few notable figures in the genres (such as Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocque), but it still manages to provide a pretty thorough picture of the sound in what it does have. Both sides of the coin (Cajun and zydeco forms) are represented equally, and are given fair shots at showing off their wonders. Anyone looking to get a taste of either genre can find a worthwhile compilation in this one, and those who are already enveloped in the sounds of the region can probably pick out a couple of new finds to listen to at the same time. Enjoyable in all the right ways. ~ Adam Greenberg Listen on: Deezer, Rdio Spotify
- Folksongs Of The Louisiana Acadians These wonderful 1950s field recordings of Cajun musicians and singers by Dr. Harry Oster have seen the light of day in previous incarnations, but this is by far the most satisfying collection, including a couple of numbers never issued before, in its nearly 80 minutes. This is relaxed, homey Cajun music, not a high energy dance hall wall of sound or slick studio-fication; it really satisfies. Some of the performers are quite well-known: Chuck Guillory, Cheese Read and Austin Pitre, for example. But Shelby Vidrine's hot, rhythmic fiddling on 'Contredanse de Mamou' and Isom Fontenot's all too rarely heard Cajun harmonica (chordal, split-tongue style) on more than half a dozen selections make this a 'must-get' item in my book. No, it's not Steve Riley or Beausoleil, but it is wonderfully heartfelt down home music. Listen on: Deezer, Rdio Spotify
Blogs[edit | edit source]
Sources[edit | edit source]
- J'ai Ete Au Bal (I Went To The Dance) 1989 This is an outstanding documentary about the music and culture of Louisiana. Cajun music and it's evolution and revival are highlighted with old footage and interviews with musicians and their audience. Zydeco's origins and players round out the overview of the great music from this extremely rich cultural region. This film was shown in an abbreviated version on PBS's American Experience.
- Last.fm-group Cajun