CAJUN MUSIC

 

 

Cajun music is the music of the white French speaking settlers of South West Louisana.It is traditionally played on fiddle and accordian with the rhythm often being provided by accoustic guitar and triangle ('tit fer,) but some bands have introduced electric instruments and drums.

The lyrics are usually sung in Cajun French

 

 

ZYDECO MUSIC

 

 

The African-American and Creole people living in the same area adapted the basic Cajun music,by the incorporation of other rhythms such as Afro-Caribbean,Blues,Soul,Rock'n'Roll,etc,to provide a much more syncopated version.This music is called Zydeco,and is played on piano accordian or 'punchy'button accordian accompanied by electric guitars,with the rhythm usually being driven by drums and rub board (frottoir).The Lyrics are usually sung in English

The Popularity of Cajun & Zydeco music was much enhanced when it featured in a number of films such as 'Southern Comfort',The Big Easy & Passion Fish.

 

            The music is very distintive and is primarily for dancing

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 

The origins of the Cajun people lie in the French emigrants who,in order to seek a better life,sailed accross the Atlantic in the 17th century and settled in what is now known as Nova Scotia.Here they farmed the land in an area that became known as Acadia. Arcadia was ceded to England in 1713,under the Treaty of Utrecht,but the Acadian settlers refused to swear allegiance to the British Crown.This reulted,in 1755,in what has been called the Grand Derangement when,16,000 French Acadians who had lived in Acadia for over a century were divested of their property and deported. After several years in scattered exile they became pioneers once again and began to arrive in the praires and bayous of Southern Louisiana,where they thrived raising cattle & crops. The descendants of these pioneers became known as Cajuns (a corruption of the word Acadians).

 

At the time when the Acadians arrived,Louisiana was under Spanish rule.

Louisiana eventually became one of the United States of America and a policy was introduced by the Goverment to eradicate the French language. The Cajuns with their distinctive culture resisted attempts to assimilate them into the American way of life and maintained their indentity and heritage through their unigue food,music and language.From the 1960's there was a resurgence of interest in Cajun culture which was boosted by the appearance of Dewey Balfa ,a great Cajun fiddle player ,at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1967.

 

 

THE ABOVE INFORMATION SUPPLIED COURTESY OF CAJUN UK