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Kenneth Venable & Beau Bassin Cajun Band

 

Cajun music in southwestern Louisiana traces its lineage back centuries to the migrations of French-speaking people from modern day Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century. That living history and the Cajun culture’s unique identity gives the music a special flavor, with ancient elements that frame modern sounds in a deeply moving but freshly interpreted way.

Nowhere is this more true than on this recording led by Cajun veteran accordionist and vocalist Kermit Venable, performed by some of the area’s top Cajun musicians, and produced by Jonno Frishberg, a classically trained violinist who has become a died-in-the-wool devoté of authentic Cajun sounds.

The band takes its name – Beau Bassin literally meaning “beautiful basin” -- from the fertile plains located just north of the Cajun capital of Lafayette in southwest Louisiana, thought to be the original river bottom of the meandering Mississippi River.

Sung mostly in the French dialect unique to Cajun Louisiana, the performances here speak entirely of origins, relying primarily on rural dance tunes, acoustic instruments, and a gently swaying rhythm accentuated by the “’tit fer,” the hand-held triangle that christens all Cajun music with its clear and ringing notes.

The repertoire ranges far and wide, including traditional numbers (like the well-known “Jolie Blonde”) as well as modern-day compositions based on Cajun motifs. Similarly, the arrangements stick mostly to the classic styles and instrumentation, but occasionally add the modern touch of an electric or pedal-steel guitar.

The overall effect is mesmerizing, transporting the listener back to the music’s gentler, more-rural origins while rendering it very much alive in the here-and-now.

 

 

 

WATERMELON MAN

BACK Á MOREAU

SOILEAU TWO STEP

VALSE DE GRAND CHEMIN (BIG ROAD WALTZ)

TON PAPA ET TU MAMAN M’ONT JETÈ DEHORS

- - (YOUR PAPA AND MAMA THREW ME OUT) - -

LA MARCHE (WEDDING MARCH)

MY TRUE LOVE

JOLIE BLONDE

BACK OF TOWN

JUST BECAUSE POLKA

NOËL AVEC UN CÖUER CASSÉ

- -(CHRISTMAS WITH A BROKEN HEART) - -

KRISTAL ZYDECO STOMP

NIETZSCHE’S WALTZ

LONESOME PRISON ONE STEP

VALSE DU PONT D’AMOUR

- - (LOVE BRIDGE WALTZ) - -

BIG A’S TWO STEP

C’EST APRÈS MOUILLER (IT’S RAINING)

AMÉDÉ CHOUPIQUE TWO STEP

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