Joie de Vivre Café
107 North Main Street
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Jesse Leger sang up a storm of what he described as Cajun one-steps, two-steps, an occasional three-step and a ton of pretty waltzes...all in French. With David Greely, then Wilson Savoy on fiddle, and Erica Weiss on guitar, it was a night of Cajun delight.
During the evening, café owner Melanie Harrington addresses the crowd. "We and the music community had a terrible loss with the sudden passing of our dear friend Al Berard. I debated whether to cancel tonight's dance. I asked myself, what would Al do?"
"Dance!" a man shouts. "That's exactly what I thought. I'll bet Al is grinning at us from above," Melanie says. In southwest Louisiana, music is a vehicle that expresses sadness and loss as well as joy and celebration. Tonight we soften the jagged edges of his loss with the pleasure of dancing to the Cajun music he loved and devoted his life to playing.
Melanie urged people to support this fund to underwrite production and distribution costs guitar project CD that Al had recently completed.
David Greely (and later Wilson Savoy), Jesse Leger, and Erica Weiss had the crowd on their feet all night long.
"This is great! It's like a family reunion. I'm seeing everybody I haven't seen since last year, all my friends from dancing," my friend Mohammed from Belmont, MA exclaims. That certainly explains a great deal of hugging and kissing that's going on as the crowd enters the café. That's Mohammed above with Bernard Ussher and Rubia Solis from Lafayette.
Melanie Harrington has transformed the Joie de Vivre Café into an all-purpose venue: tasty and imaginative vegetarian food, Saturday morning Cajun jams, art shows, Thursday night dances, and an occasional fortune teller. "I work seven days a week so this is the only place I get to dance!" she says.
Jesse Leger is the real deal, sings in Cajun French, knows songs from way back and sings them like they did back then, with a voice that has the mournful quality that's been echoing over the bayous in southwest Louisiana for over 200 years. When he wants to rev up the dance floor, his accordion is more than up to the task.Wilson Savoy knows the Cajun catalog inside out and can improvise and harmonize with the best of them. Erica Weiss has been playing guitar with Jesse for years, is a steady rhythm accompaniment whether he plays locally or on the road.
VIDEO 6 Impromptu after concert duet Savoy/Greely
Photos and Videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.