Louisiana Folk Roots Housewarming Party at Begnaud House
Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folk Life Park
340 Fisher Road
December 15, 2012, 1:00-3:30 PM
Louisiana Folk Roots has a new home. It will surprise no one who knows a sliver about southwest Louisiana that their house warming party included food and a huge “Jam” behind the back porch of their new digs in the historic Begnaud House on the grounds of Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folk Life Park.
Top row: The Begnaud House at Vermilionville; bottom row photo right, Ray Landry in black cap, Henry Hample, orange shirt.
You didn’t have trouble finding the place. Park the car and roll down the window. The sound of Cajun music floated over the pond behind the Begnaud House all the way to the parking lot. Musicians from age 5 to 75 sat in folding chairs in a huge circle had a grand old time, singing ballads, waltzes, and playful songs. Cajun French lost its linguistic similarity to Parisian French long ago so I’m sure my high school French teacher Ms. Curtain would forgive me for not comprehending most of the lyrics.What wasn’t lost in translation was the bond the musicians had with the language.
The coolest thing about these “jams” is the range of musicians. Fiddle legend Michael Doucet played with stalwart fiddlers Mitch Reed and Henry Hample and veteran accordionist Sheryl Cormier. There is no caste system at work. Everyone is welcome.
Above photo left: Sheryl Cormier (red shirt, accordion), Mitch Reed (black shirt,fiddler), Michael Doucet (fiddle); middle photo on right - Zack Fuselier; Michael Doucet
Cajuns and Creoles embrace their heritage. Founded in 2000, the mission of the non-profit organization Louisiana Folk Roots is simple: Keep it going. They promote learning opportunities in music, crafts, language, and natural history. The fact that their new office is now on the grounds of the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folk Life Park in Lafayette is a perfect fit.
Mitch Reed and Michael Doucet play an impromptu sweet ballad. Double fiddle playing is common in Cajun music. You won't find two better proponents of the style than these two men. Young fiddler Zack Fuselier, in foreground, is soaking it up.
Superjam organizer Ray Landry invites some real hot shots: Michael Doucet, Mitch Reed, Sheryl Cormier, and Henry Hample. They're joined by a whooping and hollering bunch of amateurs (note the two little fiddlers at the 18 second mark) on the pondside back porch of Louisiana Folk Roots' new home in the historic Begnaud House on the grounds of the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folk Life Park in Lafayette, LA. Watch fiddler Henry Hample get the train rolling!
Young Zack Fuselier sings a ballad as Mitch Reed and Michael Doucet accompany him. Zack's been playing fiddle for about three years.
At Jam leader Ray Landry's request, Henry Hample, renowned for his children's songs as well as his Cajun repertoire, treats the crowd with "Mrs. Murphy's Chowder" You'll see why he's so highly regarded by children of all ages.
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
Cajun musicians rarely go anywhere without packing their fiddles, accordions, and guitars. This Saturday morning I witnessed a morning jam at the Cafe Joie de Vivre (https://ptatlarge.typepad.com/ptatlarge/2012/12/joie-de-vivre-and-music.html), an afternoon jam here at the Begaud House, and one that spontaneously erupted at a house party Saturday night (below).