Various Artists

Musique Cajun: Louisiana, USA

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As anyone who's read Evangeline knows the Acadians were French settlers who were chased out of Canada by the British in 1755. Some of them ended up corrupted to "Cajun." Many Cajuns still speak French (although usually English as well) and have a distinctive cuisine and music. The music features accordion, fiddle, guitar, triangle, bass, and drums, and the songs are typically two-steps or waltzes. Evidently the French connection attracted the attention of producer Jean-Pierre Tzaud of Playasound who recorded this album. Tzaud contributed liner notes in which he treats the Cajuns as if they were merely transplanted Frenchmen and not the products of a rich gumbo of ethnic influences. Worse, he does not bother to tell us the name of the groups or the individual musicians playing on the album. Disgraceful. The first group, which plays on about eight tracks, is the best. Their rhythms are incredibly infectious, their ensemble rich and well filled out, their lead singer pleasant if not stellar. Their best song is their first, "Les Haricots Sont Pas Sales" ("The Beans Are Not Dirty") which you'll want to play over and over. The second group has a slower, thinner sound and a hokier vocalist; they sound like something from a carnival. One of their numbers, "Diggy Diggy Lo," picks up the pace and is quite fun. The quality of the recording is not very good. An album worth having at a bargain only.

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