Dewey Balfa

Cajun Fiddle, Old and New: Instruction

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This is a full-scale analysis of Cajun fiddle styles, complete with extensive written notes as well as recorded commentary from both fiddler par excellence Balfa and his assistant Tracy Schwarz, a member of the New Lost City Ramblers. Balfa gets support from a variety of instruments in this program of Cajun staples, which Schwarz explains have been "shortened" to allow for a maximum of information. It is true there is information aplenty. Between the text and interviews, this project could certainly be used as an educational aid, if not a complete study program for those wishing to learn more about Cajun music. A better teacher couldn't be found than Balfa. He is a wonderful musician and comes across as a charming fellow, not at all overinflated and indeed a bit perplexed that there would be so much interest in his traditional music. This is a worthy project and contains much good playing, but definitely shouldn't be mistaken for a Cajun record to put on at a party. Some of the most enjoyable touches are the snippets, including commercials, from the Basile Cajun Hour radio broadcast and the track recorded at the Mamou Mardi Gras.

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