Accordion player/vocalist Kermit Venable and his four-piece band, the Beau Bassin Cajun Band, are one of the New Orlean's best-kept musical secrets. Outside of a 1981 tour of Europe and Japan as part of the cast of Labor of Love, a Japanese-American musical about rice farming, Venable (born January 3, 1944 in Lafayette, LA) has rarely been heard outside of his native state. Venable and the Beau Bassin Cajun Band, however, have been attracting enthusiastic crowds to their four nights a week performances at New Orleans restaurant Michauls for the past six years. Affectionately called "the Cajun ambassador," Venable continues to lead the band through any of the more than 500 estimated Cajun French songs in his repertoire.
The son of an amateur harmonica player and singer, Venable has been singing since earliest memory. For many years, Venable hosted a Cajun music radio show on KSLO in Opelousas and served as news director on KRVS at the University of Southwest Louisiana in Lafayette. Although he temporarily left radio, he returned in the mid-'80s as the host of a morning Cajun music show on KSIG in Crowley, later moving to KSIG as news director. Venable also shared his love of music on television, hosting a weekly French-language variety show on the community access station in Lafayette. From 1985 until 1989 he hosted the only French-language news program in Lafayette on the same station. After releasing two cassettes of his music, The Cajun Music Album in 1986 and With Gurviras Matte and the Branch Playboys in 1992, Venable moved to New Orleans in 1993. Together with the Beau Bassin Cajun Band, Venable released a CD, Traditional Cajun, in 1996. Venable has appeared in two Canadian-produced French-language films. He played a sheriff in an updating of the wolfman legend Le Chien De Lune in 1986 and appeared in the musical documentary Le Blanc Family Reunion in 1989.