I've been dipping my toe into singing in Cajun french. Unfortunately my situation isn't one where I can drop everything and go attend a french immersion camp or travel a great distance to get instruction. I'm doing my best to learn by listening/singing along to Spotify and using the cajunlyrics.com website along with google translate to help me understand what I'm actually singing.
I am looking for anyone out there would be willing to connect via webcam and help correct my mispronunciations and help me sound as close to cajun as I can. There's just no substitute for the real thing.
Songs I have worked out and feel fairly comfortable with and need some tweaking
Another Lonely Night
Waltz of No Return
Songs I'm currently working on and need help with pronunciation and words
J'ai Fait un Grosse Erreur
Bayou Pon Pon
Email me if you would be willing to work with me. I'm happy to compensate for your time.
Knowing you and seeing you play both Cajun and your German base songs I know you will prevail at learning to sing Cajun. Can't wait to hear the final product once mastered maybe you can even get Marilyn and Terry to learn
Mastery (or my closest approximation) is the goal here and the requisite 10,000 hours can be a long slog if done alone. I'm doing my best to keep going on this but some company, challenge, and reassurance along the way from someone would be quite a help.
Ehren, check out "You Can Speak Cajun French" by Fred Charlie, available from most music outlets. You can't get more Cajun than Fred, and his spoken words are the real deal. This is an excellent source for pronunciation.
Yeah, I know, this isn't what you're asking for, but Michael Dupuy sings very clearly enunicated French. The Mid City Aces CD is a good source for Mike's singing and also some nice work by Gina Forsyth.
David Greely's books might be worth looking at, he has a certain structure technique to transcribing the lyrics.Check out his website.
I'm in the same boat as you but perhaps not quite as determined and I'm partial to zydeco.Tend to keep things simple and often go for songs with simple lyrics or less wordy creole versions of the songs, if I'm stuck I'll repeat the same verse twice.
When I play it's my own limey interpretation, but hopefully there is an essence of louisiana music as I have a passion for it, no way am I even going to attempt to be anything like the real deal. Enjoyment is the main thing at my level.
Good luck with finding a tutor.
Would Ganey Arsement be able to help? Think he offers skype lessons.
All the best
I'm on cajunlyrics.com anytime I'm looking up a new song. It's been incredibly helpful. I got Ann Savoy's book and am using it for pronunciation help.
If Ganey gets finished with his school stuff and want's to send me an email, I would be love to work with him. I get looking for the books ya'll suggested.
Have you tried cajunlyrics.com ?
Also if you can get your hands on the book
Iry Lejeune: Wailin the Blues Cajun Style Hardcover – 2007
by Ron Yule (Author)
It has all Iry's songs in french and english, really good book.
Say Ehren. Are you aware of the accordion player named Jimmy Breaux? To this day, I have never heard him sing one single Cajun French lyric, but the man knows that accordion well. I believe his grand father was Amede Breaux. I've also never heard a single lyric come out of Aldus Roger's mouth, but I guarantee you that he spoke fluent Cajun French. I never heard my Grand Father sing a single lyric either, but he spoke fluent Cajun French. What about Marc Savoy? You don't hear him sing much either. That said, I know of many modern Cajun accordion players living right in the middle of Cajun land that are "victims" of Americanization and the systematic loss of their mother Cajun language. They also chose not to learn Cajun French as they were growing up and their parents chose not to teach them. They struggle with their Cajun music because of that. But there are some who don't care about that and they memorize Cajun lyrics, learn how to play a little on accordion, they get a band together, and go out and make a Cajun CD even though their music is not even worth being recorded and their singing is soulless and as bland as a mayonnaise sandwich. The younger south Louisiana people hardly hear the language spoken from the older folks anymore. Where they do hear it spoken mostly is on Cajun radio and through Cajun songs. The newer the songs are, in many cases, the more bland and fake they tend to be. Some "Cajuns" learn the language exclusively from Cajun recordings rather than go down the road and visit with their grand mothers or parents that know how to speak Cajun French and bother them with the undertaking of learning Cajun French. So, you are not alone in your struggle. Learn from older recordings and what ever "correct" lyrics that you can. Also learn to translate Cajun lyrics into English and vice versa. Just remember that you have all your life to learn the accordion, the songs, and the language. All of your life! Now that's a long time if you live to be 90 or 100. What's the rush? Are you looking to start a Cajun band and come to Louisiana and try to convince Cajuns that you are Cajun? Do you realize that it is very hard to fool a Cajun when it comes to their music and culture. These people sometimes guard what they have left of their culture from outsiders like misers. But not to worry. I believe that as these concerned misers die off (too little too late), what will be left behind will be mostly willfully ignorant Americans living in south Louisiana calling themselves Cajuns. Some of them will try to maintain their culture and language and there will be pockets of them that will be successful, but the majority will lose their culture and language and by the time you come along having learned the language and the music of their ancestors, it will be easy to fool this willfully ignorant majority and the rest of the world. Take your time, the longer you take, the easier it will be to become a Cajun because hardly anyone will be left to know better. If you don't believe all that I have said, then the next time you're in New York City setting in a restaurant that offers Cajun Gumbo, go ahead and order that gumbo and see how it taste (like a sock boiled in muddy water). Authenticity cannot be rushed nor faked. Neither can a gumbo.
Thanks for the words of encouragement, Greezy. I want you to know that I'm not trying to convince anyone that I'm Cajun. I'm just trying to respect the music and the people who created it.