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BeauSoleil brings bayou to Sandpoint

Fri., Aug. 13, 2004

It’s not often you get a chance to be entranced by royalty.

So get ready to bow down bayou- style when the kings and queen of Cajun music come to town.

Regarded as the chief exporters of Cajun music, BeauSoleil, and the so-called queen of the bayou boogie, Marcia Ball, share the Memorial Field stage starting at 6 p.m. on “Super Swampy Saturday” for the Festival at Sandpoint.

After many roof-raising visits, BeauSoleil has come to have a strong following in the area.

Playing a mix of zydeco, New Orleans jazz and Tex-Mex music, BeauSoleil is responsible for introducing the world to Cajun music and is one of the torchbearers keeping the unique southern Louisiana culture alive. BeauSoleil also is known for the refreshing innovation it brings to its music, while staying true to its roots for a mix that somehow bridges the classic with the contemporary.

That’s because of the group’s founding fiddler, Michael Doucet, whose passion for preservation was pushed by the dissappearing of Cajun culture he saw growing up. After taking excursions into the worlds of folk and rock music and moving to Europe, he met his idol, Richard Thompson, a British folk legend.

While in France in the mid-‘70s, Doucet saw that the roots of Cajun culture were still strong and, upon that realization, he joined Coteau, a Cajun equivalent to the Grateful Dead.

Doucet later returned to the United States, immersed himself in Cajun history and recruited the best Cajun musicians for BeauSoleil.

Since the band cut its first album in 1976, the lineup has changed some, but what remains is Louisiana swamp music, traditionally sung in Cajun and made for gettin’ down.

Marcia Ball’s swamp-rock boogie-bangers have earned her a stellar reputation around the world during her 30-year career.

An anomaly in piano-based R&B, Ball melds the rich history of New Orleans music with her roots in Texas twang. In other words, there is a lot more rhythm than blues. Ball got her rock chops while playing in a psychedelic rock band at Louisiana State University.

Mixed together, Ball’s blend and BeauSoleil’s flavor have more spice than a pot of gumbo, and just as much soul.


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