Gitane Cajun

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Beausoleil are the ne plus ultra of Cajun music, and there's certainly nothing here to tarnish their reputation. By now, of course, their command of Cajun music is beyond compare, both in keeping up the tradition and expanding it. Michael Doucet remains a sterling leader, and a remarkable fiddler in the style. The music, a mix of traditional and original pieces, not only pays homage to the past (as on the punningly titled "Me and Dennis McGee"), but pushes into the future, taking a bluesy detour on "La Flech d'Amour" en route to the beauty of "Les Fleurs," with its gorgeously melodic fiddle; it's definitely Cajun music, but still startlingly different. Indeed, about the only place the album falters is on the English-language "Windhorse Eyes," which comes across as countrified cliché, albeit very well done. However, everything else more than makes up for it, especially "Soleil Brille," a lovely song that blossoms into an excellent, lyrical instrumental break. They keep the fire alive on the two traditional pieces, as well as on Canray Fontenot's "Malinda," an energetic, rhythmic workout that's as much zydeco as Cajun. Beausoleil don't release new records often -- certainly not often enough -- but each one is guaranteed to be a treat.

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