A Traverse City event this December features the heat of Cajun tunes! The first Cajun band to win a Grammy, BeauSoleil, continues to advance the cause of Cajun music. MyNorth Media entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau describes the band that artfully blends elements of rock, jazz and calypso into its Cajun/folk roots.
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
How They Got Their Start
A Louisiana native, Doucet was awarded a Folk Arts Apprenticeship by the National Endowment for the Arts. He turned aside from his original intent to study the Romantic poets, instead delving into the Cajun music of his home state. He founded the band Beausoleil (named for the leader of the Acadian resistance to British deportation efforts in the mid-18th century) in 1975, which released its first album stateside in 1977. Since then the band has recorded nearly three dozen albums and played shows across the country and the world.
Cajun and Creole music, spiced with elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues, folk, and other styles
Influences and Inspirations
Dewey Balfa, Canaray Fontenot, Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin, Terence Simien, Clifton Chenier
BeauSoleil was the first Cajun band to win a Grammy, for its album L’amour Ou La Folie in 1998; it then won a second in 2010 for Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The band has been nominated for the award a dozen times, and won numerous other awards as well. The group’s music has been featured in numerous films and television shows, such as The Big Easy and Austin City Limits, and performed with such artists as jazz heavyweight Roswell Rudd and country/Americana singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter. The group even performed at halftime of the Super Bowl in 1997. Beausoleil was featured in an on-screen performance on the first episode of the final season of HBO’s hit series Treme, set in New Orleans. Its most recent album, From Bamako to Carencro, draws on both Cajun and West African influences. Doucet told the website AllThingsStrings that the music he plays demonstrates connections between Spain, France and Africa. “There is so much Spanish music in our Louisiana music that comes to light in the music of Professor Longhair or James Booker or Jellyroll Morton,” he said. “Creole culture is a mix of African and the French and Spanish and, of course, Creole culture also is tied to those in Haiti, Martinique, Guadalupe, whatever.”
“The best Cajun band in the world.” – Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion
“Cajun music purists admire the fiddler Michael Doucet’s informed command of traditional Cajun music, while those who just want to party surrender to Beausoleil and boogie to classic Cajun two-steps, reels and a host of other rhythmic influences that have made this Grammy-winning Crescent City outfit one of the most colorful roots bands on the scene.” – The New York Times
Milliken Auditorium at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City
Date & Time
Saturday, December 5 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $27 or $24 for Dennos Museum members. Northern Michigan event tickets can be purchased at MyNorthTickets.com.
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