Festival International de Louisiane
Sunday Bands April 29, 2012
Canailles (Quebec- Québec Roots), Scene Malibu, Fais Do Do Stage
I didn’t think I could be surprised by anything after hearing the Middle East band Lamajamal and the Slavic Soul Party on Saturday but in the midst of the 1:30 PM Canaille show one of the guys yodels ("J'l'hais" from http://www.myspace.com/bellescanailles)! When they patter with the audience, their English has a heavy Quebecois accent and inventive syntax. Canaille means "scoundrel" in French and these kids fit the bill with their ragtag blend of country blues cajun and a big shot of garage rock played with guitars, accordion, banjo, standup bass, percussion, washboards (and at least one kazoo!).
Most of their songs are originals.The girl lead singer has great pipes, and has one style that sounds like Grace Slick who swallowed sandpaper ("Becik" http://www.myspace.com/bellescanailles). The eight musicians (self-taught no less, which may account for their eccentric style) began jamming together by chance in a Montreal park in 2009. Their set still has the feel of spontaneity. The music is raw, full of twenty-something energy, feels like it could fly off the rails at any time and if it did, they'd laugh at the result.
Savoy Family Cajun Band (Louisiana- Traditional Cajun), Scene TV5 Monde Lafayette Stage
The Savoy Family Band - what a pile of talent on one stage. Marc and Ann Savoy should donate their DNA to the Smithsonian - their sons Wilson on keyboard and fiddle and Joel on fiddle are immensely talented as are Marc on accordion (he builds them), Ann on guitar. Red Stick Rambler drummer Drew Simon is on percussion today. This is one of the royal families of Cajun music.
Marc's "Savoy Music Center" in nearby Eunice is considered holy ground by visitors from all over the planet. The brothers Wilson and Joel got into great fiddle duels that had Marc, usually pretty phlegmatic, whoop once or twice. This is the best kind of sibling rivalry. Listening to any of them tell anecdotes about a song they're about to sing is a treat. What's in store might be an old ballad they breathe new life into or a barn burner of a two step.
Dancing to the Savoy Family Band
The Savoy Family Band on stage
Chico Trujillo. (Chile – Cumbia/Punk/Ska/Chilean Folk), Scene Popeye International Stage
Today Chico Trujillo is working their magic at the biggest stage in town, Parc International, a permanent stage with a ton of paved space in front for people to dance and set up their camp chairs. Music and dancing happens so often around here that the city fathers and mothers realized it needed a public space in the middle of town to accommodate it.
Today's music, like Friday night's, has a distinctive Latin flavor and the crowd is eating it up. The instrumental mix of trumpet, trombone, saxophones, drums, accordion, guitars, is a great platform for the singing. It may be in Spanish but scores of spectators have no trouble interpreting it in to dance moves. Judging by the size of the crowd, Chico Trujillo became a crowd favorite this weekend.Dancing to the Savoy Family Band
Five Louisiana acts perform at various stages today, the last day of the festival. Bands like the Savoy Family Band (Cajun), Andre Thierry (Zydeco), and Leroy Thomas (Zydeco) play for large crowds. The University of Louisiana/Lafayette Jazz Combo and the Destination Gospel Choir make happy music, too. Toward the end of Leroy Thomas's set, the last of the festival, Leroy steps up to the mic. Leroy's cousins are zydeco band leaders Geno Delafose and Keith Frank.
"I want to introduce one of the last living legends of zydeco. Along with Buckwheat Zydeco, my father, Leo "The Bull" Thomas are a couple of the only ones left."
Leo makes a statement standing still. His performance suits are electric pinks, royal blazing blues, and percussive purples and I mean from hat to shoes. So when Leo gets into his hit song, "Why You Gonna Make Me Cry?" dancers grab partners and dance anywhere they find room. He's earned his status as a living legend.
The Festival International de Louisiane was selected as Best World Music Festival in the 2012 About.com WorldMusic Reader's Choice Awards. The average attendance over the five day festival is 350,000. The fact that the festival is free, supported by the sale of festival pins and merchandise, and honors the region's Francophone roots, is a matter of great local pride. Spend just one afternoon or evening there and you'll feel it.
Photos and Videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.