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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 6:30pm
Every genre has its defining figureheads. Folk has its Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan; country has the Carter Family, Bob Wills and Hank Williams. Rock has its Elvis, Chuck Berry, and the Beatles. In blues, it's Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, and in jazz, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis. When it comes to contemporary traditional Cajun music, there is BeauSoleil. For the past 34 years Lafayette, Louisiana's BeauSoleil has carried the torch of tradition while continuing to chart uncharted waters with ingenuity and innovation. Their latest release and Yep Roc label debut Alligator Purse is not only a vibrant testament to BeauSoleil's healthy spirit but is easily their most adventuresome record yet.
Since their inception in 1975, BeauSoleil has not only spearheaded a cultural Renaissance but has elevated Cajun music to one of domestic and international acclaim. Along the way, they have appeared regularly on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and garnered eleven Grammy nominations. In 1998, they became the first Cajun band to win a Grammy for their L'Amour Ou La Folie effort in the traditional folk category. While they've introduced their sources of inspiration, Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, Varise Connor, Wade Fruge, Dewey Balfa, Amédéé Ardoin and Freeman Fontenot, to new audiences, they've also daringly blended zydeco, Tex-Mex, western swing, blues, New Orleans traditional jazz and Caribbean calypso into their framework. As a result, any ethnomusicologist would be hard pressed to speculate where Cajun music would be today without the contributions of BeauSoleil.
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