Louisiana Sounds Across the Country

Cajun Music

"I had played in house dances, family gatherings, maybe a dance hall where you might have seen as many as 200 people at once. In fact, I doubt I had ever seen 200 people at once. And in Newport, there were 17,000. Seventeen thousand people who wouldn't let us get off stage." -Dewey Balfa

Dewey Balfa is considered to be an ambassador for Cajun music and culture. He was a fiddler and singer who lived from 1927-1992 who was credited with being a driving force in the revival of traditional Cajun music. In 1964 Balfa gained great publicity and performed at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival. Balfa was originally supposed to be a regular guitarist at the festival but he ended up being a last minute replacement playing with famous Cajun musicians. He and the musicians assumed that their urban audience would not accept their Cajun music, but the audience thoroughly enjoyed their performance and responded with wild cheers and applause.

D.L. Menard is sometimes called the "Cajun Hank Williams." He made multiple hits and he recorded with other greats like himself including Dewey Balfa. Mr. Menard is from Erath, LA representing Vermilion Parish. He attributes his style to Hank Williams for he grew up listening to a great deal of country music. The Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time placed the Cajun musician at No. 72 in 2014. He recently passed away in July 2017 and nationally known media outlets such as the New York Times, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone paid tribute to the iconic Cajun artist.

Michael Doucet is another artist who is credited with being a Cajun music revivalist. He is both a showman and a scholar and performs with famous Cajun group Beausoleil. In 1997 Doucet and Beausoleil performed on national television for the the Super Bowl pregame show. Doucet and Beausoleil definitely spread their Louisiana sounds across the country many times. They opened for famous Rock band The Grateful Dead and played for the Clinton and Carter presidential inaugurations. They've even played around the world and have performed in every state of the U.S. Michael Doucet and Beausoleil have won two Grammys and a fun fact about Mr. Doucet is that he was an adjunct professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana known today as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


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