Music is a most important part of our Acadian ancestry. Before the days of television (and the Internet), the typical Acadian home included a musical instrument either a fiddle, accordian, guitar, piano, or organ and, most important: a copy of a series of song books published by Reverend Father Charles-Emile Gadbois from St-Hyacinthe, called "La Bonne Chanson". This section is dedicated to Father Gadbois... may his songs live forever!
We have been left a virtual heirloom in music that is rich in spirituality, poetry, philosophy, advice, and humor. The musical compositions are typically simple and melodic, and are oriented to different moods (rest, contemplation, love, grieving, working or happiness) and different purposes (e.g., putting a child to sleep, expression of love, recounting history, giving advice, something to do while working). The reels, jigs, quadrilles, two-step and waltzes typically have inviting tempos which are difficult to resist. They were written to draw people to join in dancing, a social practice that was and continues to be central to the Acadian and French-Canadian culture.
Some of these songs are of French origin, that is, songs brought over from France by our progenitors nearly 400 years ago from the northwestern provinces of France (ie, Poitou and Brittany) in the case of Acadians, or from the northern provinces of France (ie, Normandy) in the case of the French-Canadian songs. Other songs are Acadian, Cajun or French-Canadian in origin, that is, they were composed by the early settlers of Acadia and New France during the period of the early settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries and later in Louisiana. And, I'm sure that yet others are of more recent origin; songs composed in the 19th and 20th centuries by our great-grandfathers and grandfathers. This section serves as a repository of those songs.
A Most Beautiful Memory of our parents and grandparents
This beautiful video presentation created by 'Creations TONYM' with the music by Jean Lapointe. Take a few moments to view the presentation. You will most certainly enjoy it. If you are familiar with our great custom for music at home, this presentation will bring back fond memories. If you are not familiar with the custom, the presentation makes a good lesson in the history of our culture.
Click here to start
EARLY CAJUN FOLK SONGS...
Library of Congress Recordings by John Dubois Recorded in 1956. Collection was compiled by Elizabeth Gamble and edited by Joseph C. Hickerson of the Library of Congress. Published in 1978 under AFS number 10,942 by the Library of Congress American Folklife Center (http://www.loc.gov/folklife/guides/French.html). Posted here by permission of the Dubois family. We are especially indebted to Mrs. Mary Dubois Oels, John Dubois' sister, for her interest and support to our website and especially to our Acadian and Cajun music archive. We are all proud of John Dubois' contributions to preserving Cajun history and good Cajun music.
John Dubois, who was from Kaplan, Louisiana, was an ardent supporter of the preservation of the Louisiana Acadian or Cajun culture. In 1956, at the age of 30, he was invited by the Library of Congress to record his recollections of the old Cajun folk songs that had been taught to him by his grandfather, Laodice Broussard and grandmother Elise (Vincent) Broussard in Vermillion Parish, Louisiana. John was invited again in 1973 for a second recording session (AFS 15,402) of Acadian-French folksons, this time with Bunyan Webb on guitar. Hopefully, someday, we will be able to post that recording session as well. John passed away on 8 January 2000 at the age of 74. He was a Cajun balladeer known as the "Maurice Chevalier of the Bayous". Although most of his recordings were on vinyl and tape, he did publish three CDs: "Rendez-Vous Louisianais", in 11 Jul 1996; "Bayou Ballads: Forgotten Songs - Circa 1840-1980", in 3 Nov 1998; "Dans le Creux du Bois (In the Deep of the Woods)", in 3 Nov 1998. He recorded on Chaud Dog Records.
We have organized the 1956 recordings into eight segments: the Introductory segment where John introduces the recordings (no music) followed by the seven segments. None of the songs are titled but for the sake of organizing the music, we have given each segment a title based on the content of the segment. If you know the name of any of the individual songs in this session, please let us know in an e-mail to email@example.com
ONE OF OUR OWN... "THE OLD PORT BUSKER" !!
To us, he's just another 'Joe'... Joseph E. Theriault. From the beginning, we've known about Joe's music when he touched based with us a couple of years ago to identify one of the unnamed folk songs here in our music section. Talking to him recently, I learned that Joe performs locally in southern Maine and New Hampshire in a trio which includes Joe on the 'button box', Glen Torrico on guitar and Ray Miller on mandolin. In the mail earlier this week, I received a CD from Joe that he and his friends recorded. Here's one tune called 'Valse Bernadette". Take a listen... As many of you know, Joe is delegate of the Francois/Marie Anna Great Branch. Joe, send us a photo of your trio in action!
La BANDE Feufollet! When it comes to music, one of the things that we look for in a song is whether it might be based on an Acadian folk song. So naturally, we were very interested when we received a note from Ms. Barbara Faloon, a school teacher in Millinocket, Maine, telling us that she had found the lyrics to one of our Cajun songs "J'ai Passé Devant Ta Porte" listed in our Music Archive below. In our research of these lyrics on the Internet, we fell upon the greatest bunch of kids... they call themselves 'La Bande Feufollet'. They're young 'Cadiens' (Acadians) from old Louisiana. Here's their version of "J'ai Passé Devant Ta Porte / I Passed By Your Front Door" back in 1999 when they were still just school kids. You might want to follow along with the LYRICS to that very old song.
As it turns out, they've kept themselves busy, here's an clip from one of their recent songs titled "Fier D'Etre Cadien / Proud to be Cajuns". What a sound! They are a hit in many parts of the United States and Canada. They've been to most major cities in the US as well as Montréal and even Shediac, New Brunswick!! (In photo at right, the kids have taken over the giant lobster in Shediac.)
Here's a link to
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