...and Jason Frey.
Hello Mr.Nedro. That is a good list. If I had to list such players I would have named many of the same ones. You seem to be very aware of the traditional players. There are many unknown Cajun accordionists that are strictly traditional players also. As Jerry pointed out. The Greezy McGill's out there. They come from all over Cajun land and abroad. They play just as good or better than those that choose to play professionally or choose to stand in the limelight. The Sleepers is what I call them. Their music and style is the wild card. The X factor. Back in the time when I would boast that I could play the accordion, I ran into a couple of these Sleepers, and watched them play. And I left with my tail between my legs hardly believing how much better they were than I.
I've seen it time and time again, where a young accordion novice only wants to play like Steve Riley, or Wayne Toups, or even Marc Savoy. They pay no attention to anyone else's music at first. They have distaste and prejudice toward anyone else's music or playing style. And by doing that, they automatically handicap themselves. "Awww, I don't want to listen to that old crap. It sucks" or "I don't like the way those old traditional guys play." is what they say or might think.
Well Confusious the Cajun sez, "That "traditional old crap" is the root and the trunk of the tree. It is the source or as near the source as we have. Always seek out the source. To find the source root and trunk, is to find the entire tree and an understanding of how it came to be what you see now. If one is so ignorant as to only seek out a single branch, the fruit, or just the leaves of the tree, then they shall never know the whole tree nor come to understand it."
In less confusing words, their learning of the accordion will be in ignorance and it will come slow and laced with difficulties and confusions. After a time, when they fail to achieve peace of mind through knowing of their accordion, they will start to second guess the very path they chose in worshipping the abilities of only the most popular players. Besides, we don't need "parakeets" that play exactly like Wayne Toups, or Marc Savoy, or Johnny Fancy Fingers. Greezy made it as plain as the day is long. We need accordion players with their own unique style and rhythm that adds well to our Cajun culture, not takes away or cheapens it. I'm glad you bought this post up. Thank You.
What would the definition of traditional be?
Hey Mr. Lafleur. It took me roughly 5 seconds to come up with what I call an answer to your very wise question. I hope it is sufficient.
A playing style that bleeds of an unbreakable integrity. One that cannot be questioned as to it's authenticity. A playing style that does not bring discredit to the accordion player nor the melodies he chooses to play. A playing style that reflects directly, the musician's heart and soul and thus brings peace or joy to all that may hear.
Now I shall quote "The Musician's Prayer" which is discretely displayed inside the accordion case of The Blue Max. I wrote it down and keep it on me at all times. Well, I keep it on me as long as I'm carrying my wallet. That's why it only took me 5 seconds to find it.
"May my life be like a finely tuned instrument upon which the Master Musician creates a melody that brings His peace to all that may hear."
How do I get sucked into these clever rhetorical Cajun traps?
From my distant Texarkana, Anglo-Saxon, Cajun wannabe perspective, it's the "old French music," or the "old timey music." Wade Falcon defines early Cajun music by the period 1928-1965.
If it sounds like the old music it probably is traditional. If it doesn't, then it must something else.
Amede + Denus = traditional
Octa + Hector = traditional
Cyp + Adam = traditional
Anything newer than these better sound old to earn the seal of quality.
What else can I teach you about Cajun culture, Lafleur? :-)
Greezy, sounds from your jive that you are far too worldly wise to be traditional.
More avant garde!
AJ, Pahaha Avant Garde? Qui c'est ca? After I went look up dat werd....yes you can say I'm avant garde but with traditional roots. "New and unusual ideas, especially in the arts" LOL, the only new idea I have is to revisit the old ideas, and try and get everybody to come along and learn with me. So's we can all find our way.
I thought we only may call the living traditionals
If we may write down the old masters, the list become endless I'm affraid.
Moise Robin , Breaux Freres, Sidney Brown, Shirley Bergeron, Segura Brothers, Boi Sec Ardoin & Canray Fontenot, .........
There are also youngsters who can play traditional and that's very hopefull
I thought Shirley Bergeron was a steel player and his pap Alphee was doing the accordion???
You're completely right
Ha, it definitely is a rhetorical question. "traditional" is a very vague and slippery object in anything Cajun. It may be easier to define if the music actually came over with the Acadians, but it didn't, it was born here by a melding of so many influences, and never quit changing. To some, even the accordion may not be considered traditional. The steel guitar may be considered traditional to some because it was used in what is now old recordings. Some consider the harmonica not traditional, even though it was used at least as long as the accordion. Who gets to decide.
So it is an instrument thing, or a feel thing? For me it is a feel thing, but for any of us, we have to pick our own point in the constant changing music to pick what is traditional to us, making us each right in our own mind, and wrong.
I think mr. Master Musician said some poignant words here:
"A playing style that bleeds of an unbreakable integrity. One that cannot be questioned as to it's authenticity. A playing style that does not bring discredit to the accordion player nor the melodies he chooses to play. A playing style that reflects directly, the musician's heart and soul and thus brings peace or joy to all that may hear."
The old players had distinctive styles because they often didn't have recordings to listen to, just memory from a live performance. Once recordings became common, they still weren't able to slow down and dissect recordings like we can now, so they all had their own twist. Is Iry traditional? Well, his music was his interpretation and twist on Amede and Angelas' music. I wonder who their influences were. Now many players sound exactly alike, because they are trying to. Is that good or bad? Some genres that is what is expected, not so with Cajun music, if you do that you are copying. So someone puts their twist, and many scream, "you're not traditional".
So how do you win, and who's right. You can't win and no one is right. Who cares, this is what is important to me, "A playing style that reflects directly, the musician's heart and soul and thus brings peace or joy to all that may hear".
Many old masters injected a syncopated rhythm in their playing, mastery of the base side, which many don't even play anymore. They had an ability to pour emotion into their playing that made the listener not notice that the player wasn't technically as proficient as some. Those are the things I consider traditional, and are the hardest to capture.
You wrote some wise words down here Bryan and I agree with you.
When I was in Louisiana in 2011 at the Bayou Cabins there were three man come to play there with an accordion, electric guitar and bass.
If I'm right they were part of the family
They played Cajun-songs in a hard rock/heavy metal way and I liked it very much.
Not really traditional but they did a great job in making music and I still could hear Cajun-music in it.
Bryan, I could not have put it better! That is the kind of depth and understanding I was hoping to see within the Cajun Accordion Culture one day. Looks like that day has come.
There are people out there, that have never witnessed an old master or even a newer master pour emotion into an accordion or fiddle presentation. They've never witnessed an accordion player "get into the zone" and play the best version of a song they've ever heard. They have never shed a tear when watching a Cajun musician play a tune that pulls on forgotten emotion. They have never gotten goose bumps from catching a glimpse of an accordion player's best moment that was so good, it could reach out and make a connection with a little 5 year old kid that was so strong that the kid would grow up and want to play the accordion 20 years later and for the rest of his life after that.
That's why capturing the "traditional" is so hard. You can't fake it. You can't buy it. It usually takes a long time to accomplish. There are no shortcuts to accomplish it without awareness of it. And....it is music from the soul of one to the soul of another. And more often than not, it is from a time gone by. A very rare occurrence indeed! But still possible to capture if you are aware that such a thing exist. We are now all aware of it. Thank you!
Well spoken by you and Bryan.
As my neighbor and classical guitarist (a genuine 30 year Segovia student and long time friend of Segovia and former head of Univ of Sf Cal Classical Guitar dept) with considerable international fame says..
"All I need to hear is one soulful note. Something that connects with all that has gone before."
I will add a caveat..
Peace is not the only state of bliss created by music well played,. Anything that touches the emotions to the point of "rapture" or intrigue or wonder or inspiration or reflection or awe.....
It is within our family genes that music is our second language.
I will also say this is not specific to any genre of music.
My heritage being Swedish, Bohemian and German.
I would like to hear from Jude Moreau whose wisdom, heritage, and experience put me in awe.
Well said Jeff! I would like to hear from these local Cajuns residing right in the middle of all this accordion playing in south Louisiana. I've looked back in the Bravenet archives and they once came here. I wonder what happened to cause them to go into silence or to leave completely? Maybe they are not sure of themselves, their culture, and their accordion abilities? Maybe they got themselves into trouble by saying the wrong things and they were shamed into not coming back to the Bravenet? It happened to me. I came here a long time ago and was confronted and then shamed in front of everyone on the Bravenet by Jerry Moody. Of course, my very own attitude could have had something to do with that too. But I forgive him for he knows not what he do. LOL
I do know not all of the Louisiana Cajun musicians are too busy touring and playing accordion in Europe, China, and California. We can't all be big shots. Some of us got to stay home and hold down the fort in Cajun country. I don't care if they come on here with a fake names or not. The very words they type will define who they truly are. Well, for the most part anyway. I can spot a Cajun anywhere in the world if I can only hear him say a couple words and look to see how he or she dresses and carries themselves. Usually within 30 seconds or less, LOL.
Jeff, if you have some German in your lineage, well that makes you half Cajun already. Lot's of German blood running through the roots and branches of the Cajun Family Tree. Don't know how it happen, but it happened. I think it had to do with those German Prisoner of War camps they put in Cajun territory. We spoke French back then. They could understand us. Eventually, they were set free and intergrated into our culture. Some dam good rice farmers them Germans turned out to be.
And what's important too Jeff, the Germans had lots of Monarchs and Sterlings.
I don't know what kind of music they played in that time, but nowadays German music is "humpapa" just like our Dutch music :-)
I wonder if somebody know who was the first who played Cajun-like music on the accordion.
I happened around 1900 or something but it looks like nobody knows precisely.
one name to add, Belton Richard
I think Andre Michot does a good job of capturing that old style I like.
WF agrees. Andre gets 2 votes.
My apologies Greezy, that was a cheap shot!
No offense taken AJ. Seemed like a complement any ways. No one had ever called me Avant Garde before. "Advanced Guard" is how I took it and that sounded kinda tuff. LOL. Like some type of military fire squad position or some mystic but strong kung fu stance.
Or maybe the home guard!
Pahahaha, we used to catch that program on LPB Louisiana public broadcasting. "I am the spirit of Cajun Country" Dam the English!
**** right Greezy!
I'll stop messin round now and get back to the accordion.
Oh and would it be kosha to add Geno Delafose to the list?
Zydeco, but he is kinda traditional and does play cajun tunes,
plus his picture is on the header.
Really enjoy listening to his stuff.
Thanks for mentioning me Jeff. I'm working on a recording right now, that I hope will fit the definition of "traditional".
I know what it means to me. I just don't know how to put into written words.