Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cajun/Zydeco Grammy News

This evening, I was invited to a local celebration. In the past few days, the Recording Academy have approved a new Grammy category for Cajun and Zydeco music. This is something that has been advocated for quite a while, by several people. Cynthia Simien, wife of Terrance, has been an especially vocal advocate. Congratulations to all the advocates. After all, if there is a Grammy category for Polka, it is only just that the indigenous music of Louisiana should also be honored in a systematic manner. The gathering this evening was fun with many of the 'usual suspects' in attendance.

Needless to say, local press has been little short of ecstatic. Both the Baton Rouge Advocate and the Lafayette Advertiser,
along with the TV stations have provided extensive coverage. Thus, this is a popular move.

Cajun and Zydeco music though has been recognised by the Recording Academy before. In 1982, Queen Ida Guillory received a Grammy. Then in 1983 Clifton Chenier was recognised. The fact that this evenings event was held in a club that was opened by Clifton playing was thus entirely appropriate. Rockin’ Sidney Simien received a Grammy in 1985. Most 'recently', in 1997, BeauSoleil was honoured. There have been quite a few nominations since, but these are the only winners to date.

In honour of this change in the Grammy rules, I will close by raiding the archives of YouTube again. Here is a short video of BeauSoleil, who won a Grammy, a decade ago. This is actually quite an interesting recording for reasons that will be discussed below.

Although the video quality is none too good, the sound quality is at least reasonable. The title of the video claims that the song is "Baby Please Don't Go". However, this song is also known as the "Seychelles Waltz". The video was apparently taken in a club in Austin, Texas. The line up in the video is also quite unusual.

On the far left, playing the fiddle is Michael Doucet. In the middle, and towards the front of the stage, is Jimmy Breaux, on accordion. To stage right is David Doucet on guitar. However, the curious thing to note is the drummer. It seems that Billy Ware is playing Drums. Usually, Billy plays percussion. The normal drummer is Tommy Alesi. Apparently, Tommy had managed to break both his wrists, thus making the change in musical assignments necessary. It is funny the kind of situations that can get captured on YouTube.

So, congratulations (albeit a decade late) to BeauSoleil for their Grammy. Let us hope that the future Grammy winners, in the new Cajun and Zydeco category, live up to their example.

The CP


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