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Author Topic: Cajun Heaven!  (Read 2630 times)

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Bob Ellis

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Cajun Heaven!
« on: May 30, 2012, 03:34:15 PM »

This month is officially 'Cajun Heaven' month in my household. I chose to wear my Savoy Music Center teeshirt to the Savoy Family Band concert at Gateshead last week, which caused Marc Savoy to come over and say hello just before the concert. When I told him that I was trying to teach myself to play Cajun accordion, he promised to give me some tips after the show. True to his word, he came to find me and spent fifteen minutes giving me advice - and superb advice it was! I learnt more in that short tutorial than in the previous 12 months about how to get that unmistakeable Cajun sound.

Next I went back to my copy of The Gospel Accordion to Marc DVD, in which he slows down his playing of several Cajun standards so that you can see and hear clearly how he plays the tunes. In the light of the advice he gave me at the concert, it all began to make sense.

Then on Monday, I had a rush of blood to the head (and a rush of money out of the wallet) and bought a secondhand Acadian accordion in D (made by Marc Savoy). The box has a lovely sound and complements the Junior Martin accordion in C that I already have. At my stage in the learning curve, purchasing a second Cajun box was a needless extravagance but what the hell! My enthusiasm and my understanding of how to play Cajun have both had a huge fillip, so I am hopeful of making sufficient use of the new box to justify the expense.

I should be concentrating on practising several French tunes that I need to learn in preparation for a gig with Les Panards Dansants at Grassington Festival next month, but somehow Cajun music seems to be getting in the way of that! Quelle surprise!
  ::)
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Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
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Bobtheboat

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 08:45:04 PM »

Aw Bob!
Colour me green and envious!! I saw the Savoy Family Band at Womad last year and they were a fantastic and very charming bunch. Made me wish I'd grown up in their house! I'm sure you'll get loads of pleasure from your new box, extravagance be damned!! Bob.
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'Rowbotham Erika Extraordinaire' (12 bass + stop G/C/acc), Hohner Liliput Bb-Eb. Castagnari Rik G/C/acc

Lyn

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 06:57:09 PM »

I have long adored Cajun music, and tried a bit on my fiddle, but playing something so different to what everyone else near you is playing doesn't give you much encouragement. As for playing Cajun box - I'm still getting my head round the English/ European tunes and I have a DG box - more than enough for a beginner to cope with, I think.

Might you be putting something up on melnettube at some point? I'd love to hear you.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 09:15:35 PM »

Bob: You're so right about the Savoys being a charming family who make great music. Anyone who likes Cajun music ought to make every effort to see them live, if the can. To hear great Cajun accordion music without other instruments getting in the way, you can't do better than get copies of Marc Savoy's Back to Basics CDs Vols. 1 and 2 (available from their website).

Lyn: I know what you mean about "playing something so different from what everyone else near you is playing". I have the same problem, which has put me off playing anything Cajun in sessions so far, but I will one day, when I feel confident enough (and good enough) to play something that I can almost guarantee that nobody else will join in with. I have heard Rees Wesson start Cajun tunes in a couple of sessions and it usually ends up as a solo performance (no bad thing in Rees's case, because he is a very good player of Cajun music). I'll try to get round to posting something on YouTube, but it might be a few months before I feel able to do so without stumbling around the tune.
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Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Lester

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 09:24:54 PM »

If you get a chance to see my chum Phil Underwood you should not miss him. Lives on a boat in Milton Keynes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E276FYNqULE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcO6L1a2L9o

Bobtheboat

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 09:28:02 PM »

Bob, following your lead, I too have damned the extravagance and bought myself a 1 row 4 stop in c hohner off eBay.de, in order to start down the Cajun path. I'm hoping it's as good as it looks in the photos. I got it for £160 which if it is was a steal!! Bob
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2012, 10:09:45 PM »

Lester: That guy sure can play! His singing is that of an Englishman singing in French, but he gets a mean Cajun sound out of that accordion!

Bob: Congratulations on your purchase and I hope you enjoy learning to play Cajun style as much as I am doing. For what it's worth, the piece of advice that was of most use to me concerned what some Cajun musicians call 'doubling' (in other words, playing in octaves). A lot of the tutorials advise going through a stage in which you double every note, but that is very difficult to do while maintaining the rhythm of the tune and it doesn't sound all that Cajun. Marc Savoy's advice to me was to begin by doubling just the longer notes, which I found easier and which I also thought sounded better. He said that, after a while, you just get a feel for which notes to double and which notes to play as singles.
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Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Bobtheboat

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 11:16:13 PM »

Thanks Bob, I'll bear that in mind. I'll also order those Savoy cd's, it'll be good to be able to focus on the box part! Bob
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'Rowbotham Erika Extraordinaire' (12 bass + stop G/C/acc), Hohner Liliput Bb-Eb. Castagnari Rik G/C/acc

Bobtheboat

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 01:42:14 AM »

Lester, the tune in the second video is a cracker! Thanks for posting. Bob
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Clive Williams

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 11:47:18 AM »

If you get a chance to see my chum Phil Underwood you should not miss him. Lives on a boat in Milton Keynes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E276FYNqULE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcO6L1a2L9o

Phil's playing at the Fox and Hounds, Stony Stratford on Monday (4th); free entry and a bucket collection - more details here:

http://www.stonylive.info/pages/home/event_diary.php?id=302

Cheers,

Clive

Bob Ellis

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 01:56:57 PM »

It's a shame that (a) Stony Stratford is so far away from Wensleydale and (b) that we have a gig on Monday in Kendal.
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Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

blafleur

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 04:25:30 PM »

Lester, the tune in the second video is a cracker! Thanks for posting. Bob

Perrodin Two Step.  My hat's off to anyone who can play that.  I've tried and just can't get it.

Ken Watson

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 02:53:19 PM »


Then on Monday, I had a rush of blood to the head (and a rush of money out of the wallet) and bought a secondhand Acadian accordion in D (made by Marc Savoy). The box has a lovely sound and complements the Junior Martin accordion in C that I already have. At my stage in the learning curve, purchasing a second Cajun box was a needless extravagance but what the hell! My enthusiasm and my understanding of how to play Cajun have both had a huge fillip, so I am hopeful of making sufficient use of the new box to justify the expense.
  ::)
How are you getting on with your new box, Bob?
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 03:11:37 PM »

It's a very nice box, Ken. I wonder where it can have come from.  ;)

I'm very busy with the Dales Tunes project at the moment and with learning quite a few new tunes for two French festivals at which we are booked towards the end of this month, so I am not getting as much time with the Acadian box as I would like, but I am making progress and trying to put into practice the advice I received from Marc Savoy. My renditions of the Cajun Two-Step and the Lovebridge Waltz are both beginning to sound more Cajun than they did!
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Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Johnnie Johnston

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2018, 03:44:54 PM »

This month is officially 'Cajun Heaven' month in my household. I chose to wear my Savoy Music Center teeshirt to the Savoy Family Band concert at Gateshead last week, which caused Marc Savoy to come over and say hello just before the concert. When I told him that I was trying to teach myself to play Cajun accordion, he promised to give me some tips after the show. True to his word, he came to find me and spent fifteen minutes giving me advice - and superb advice it was! I learnt more in that short tutorial than in the previous 12 months about how to get that unmistakeable Cajun sound.

Next I went back to my copy of The Gospel Accordion to Marc DVD, in which he slows down his playing of several Cajun standards so that you can see and hear clearly how he plays the tunes. In the light of the advice he gave me at the concert, it all began to make sense.

Then on Monday, I had a rush of blood to the head (and a rush of money out of the wallet) and bought a secondhand Acadian accordion in D (made by Marc Savoy). The box has a lovely sound and complements the Junior Martin accordion in C that I already have. At my stage in the learning curve, purchasing a second Cajun box was a needless extravagance but what the hell! My enthusiasm and my understanding of how to play Cajun have both had a huge fillip, so I am hopeful of making sufficient use of the new box to justify the expense.

I should be concentrating on practising several French tunes that I need to learn in preparation for a gig with Les Panards Dansants at Grassington Festival next month, but somehow Cajun music seems to be getting in the way of that! Quelle surprise!
  ::)

Cajun tunes ARE mostly French   Cajun's are French.. To make life easier you might think about learning French so you understand the lyrics of tunes and the culture that Cajun Accordion came from You would benefit from it greatly..

Just something to make  you go HHHHMMMmmmmmm   !   ;-)

I see I am late in replying by just a few years.. lol
« Last Edit: August 29, 2018, 03:49:45 PM by Johnnie Johnston »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2018, 05:21:30 PM »

...Cajun tunes ARE mostly French   Cajun's are French.. To make life easier you might think about learning French so you understand the lyrics of tunes and the culture that Cajun Accordion came from You would benefit from it greatly..

Just something to make  you go HHHHMMMmmmmmm   !   ;-)

I see I am late in replying by just a few years.. lol
Yes, the thread is over eight years old, but never mind. Among other things, Bob Ellis runs Eurosessions, communicates with French musicians and is quite a competent French speaker.
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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2018, 05:47:04 PM »

Also, the Cajuns may speak French, but the sort of music and dances at Les Panards Dansant (Bourrées, Scottishes, Waltzes, Mazurkas etc.) have nothing to do with Cajun Music.
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Chris Rayner

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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2018, 08:07:41 PM »

I’ve tried to converse in Cajun French to a native speaker.  It’s more of a creole than a dialect.  We went to English quite soon after starting.
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Re: Cajun Heaven!
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2018, 02:16:53 AM »

DL Maynard "got by" when he played St Chartier.

I think Cajun … more exotic than eg Québec dialect, but la Francophonie is big and very accepting. We had a very nice chap from Togo in my A level class … I could hardly understand a word!

Morvan (Burgundy) can also be a challenge, equivalent to parts of Yorkshire?  :|glug
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