Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cajun Accordion

How about a quiz? Name some classical repertoire that includes accordion. Wozzeck is the only one that springs to mind but there must be more. Click on the photo to enlarge, the guy is soooo cute.

And below, there's a clip of authentic Cajun music. Nowadays everyone knows who the Cajuns are because every restaurant has Cajun sauce and stuff like that. But the real Cajun thing was much too quirky and individual to appeal to the whitebread mainstream until very recently.

Cajun culture is fascinating because it's a hybrid of many different genres - French traditional, African, popular ballads and work songs. There were families where one branch was white, another black. Way back in the 1960's somehow I discovered Cajun music and wanted to go to Louisiana to study it, and its wider links to black Blues and white C&W. A great example of cross-cultural hybrid vigour!

Although Schubert and Mahler won out, along the way I managed to accumulate a huge collection of Cajun tapes and LPs. Stuff way back to the 1920s! I gave them to Oxfam the charity, whih sold them as collectors' items, raising big money for good works. Luckily I saved some on tape. This film clip is good because it shows how traditional music adapts to new audiences.

1 comment:

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ades, Chamber Symphony, Op. 1.