BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet Announces New Album

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet Announces New Album

“The best Cajun band in the world” presents

From Bamako to Carencro (out Feb 26),

with tour dates to support

(Nashville, TN) Jan 31, 2013 – Esteemed Cajun band BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet has announced their new album, From Bamako to Carencro
(available Feb 26), and will tour the US this spring to support their
Compass Records debut. The band, praised by Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion
as “the best Cajun band in the world,” has recorded an engaging set of
inventive originals and creatively reimagined classics, including a
Creole cover of James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy” and John Coltrane’s swing
tune “Bessie’s Blues.” Stream the complete album here.

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet has been making some of the most potent
and popular Cajun music on the planet for the past 37 years.  Born out
of the rich Acadian ancestry of its members, and created and driven by
bandleader Michael Doucet’s spellbinding fiddle playing and soulful
vocals, BeauSoleil is notorious for bringing even the most staid
audience to its feet.  BeauSoleil’s distinctive sound derives from the
distilled spirits of New Orleands jazz, blues rock, folk, swamp pop,
Zydeco, country and bluegrass, captivating listeners from the Jazz and
Heritage Festival in New Orleans, to Carnegie Hall, then all the way
across the pond to Richard Thompson’s Meltdown Festival in England.

For their first studio release in four years, and the 25th in their
37-year career, BeauSoleil teamed up with Nashville-based roots music
label Compass Records. The band named the new album From Bamako to Carencro,
a title that alludes to the cultural and migratory connection between
Bamako, in Mali, West Africa, and Louisiana (symbolized in name by the
Lafayette, LA. suburb of Carencro), a connection that draws a sonic
bloodline back to BeauSoleil’s roots. On the album’s 11 tracks, the band
performs with a resounding authenticity all the while bringing a
refreshed playfulness to the genre—the fiddle, flat-picked guitar and
accordion carry driving melodies over the two-step and waltz dance beats
characteristic of their Cajun and Zydeco music, but not without the
country, jazz and blues leanings that informed the genre in the 1920s.
They channel the godfathers of other music as well by including a
Cajun/La La-style reimagining of James Brown’s classic 1962 Live at the Apollo
version of “I’ll Go Crazy” and a swing version of John Coltrane’s
tune-de-force “Bessie’s Blues.” Guitarist David Doucet even tucks an
occasional Lester Flatt-style bluegrass G-run into his highly melodic
guitar solos.

Since becoming the first Cajun band to win a GRAMMY with L’amour Ou La Folie (Traditional Folk Album – 1998) and then a second Grammy in 2010, Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, BeauSoleil has garnered many accolades, including twelve GRAMMY nominations, the latest being their 2009 release Alligator Purse. They are regular guests on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion,
where Keillor has dubbed them as “the best Cajun band in the world,”
and their music is so integral to the Cajun culture that they have been
featured on the New Orleans–based hit HBO program Treme. (Look
for an on-camera performance from the band this year during the final
season of the show). Critics unanimously agree that it is “bon temps,
every time they play,” (New York Times).

 “We’ve recorded a lot of albums, yet we always seem to come up with new
songs saying things that haven’t been said,” comments bandleader
Michael Doucet, “The diversity is really what excites me about this
record – it’s nothing like we’ve done before and the songs are played
only as we could play them. And it’s not just your smiling ‘let’s go eat
some crawfish,’ Cajun album. We’re getting deeper into the layers in
the psyche of the culture. It’s maturation.” The tracks taken from the
album title, “Bamako,” a track contributed by the esteemed trombonist
Roswell Rudd as a tribute to the people of Mali, and “Carencro,” a story
about two French Louisiana lovers with bad timing and murderous
intentions, again support Doucet’s message that “it takes all kinds to
make a culture’s history survive.”

The Boston Globe brilliantly noted that, “the remarkable thing
about Cajun revivalists BeauSoleil is that they are still inviting us to
ask what’s new. BeauSoleil isn’t neo-anything. This ensemble finds
freshness not by infusing vintage styles with contemporary sonics, but
with vibrant, thoughtful fusions.” Indeed their presentation of newness
and reverence of tradition is the heart of the band. “People know Cajun
music being from Southwest Louisiana and because of the longitude and
the latitude but it has influences from all over: Nova Scotia, France,
delta blues, the islands, and the traditional improvisational aspects of
New Orleans. We’re always pushing that envelope,” comments Doucet, “All
the songs are different – there aren’t two songs that sound remotely
alike though they are played with the same set of instruments. That
comes from these rebellious hearts that we always had. We’ve always
taken chances. To attempt to create great music of any kind, one has to
take chances.”

Though fascinated by music of all kinds, Michael Doucet is defined by
his deep connection with, and dedication to, the music of the sacred
French-Cajun culture. A Folk Arts Apprenticeship from the National
Endowment of the Arts spurred Doucet to seek out every surviving Cajun
musician and learn from them in person; he studied genre fathers Dewey
Balfa, Dennis McGee, Sady Courville, Luderin Darbone, Varise Connor,
Canaray Fontenot and many others, even inspiring some to return to
publicly performing. In 2005 the National Endowment of the Arts again
recognized Doucet’s integral involvement with the Cajun world, awarding
him the esteemed National Heritage Fellowship as well as the United
States Artists Fellowship in 2007.

Doucet has gained acclaim by developing his own flavor of Cajun music
and he and his band represent many ‘firsts’ for the genre.  Early on
they focused on the lead and twin fiddle styles of the originals of
Acadian folk music over the more popular 1920s adoption of the German
diatonic accordion. They performed with the communal integrity
characteristic of early Cajun music, choosing to perform unplugged like a
group of friends playing together in a Louisiana living room, rather
than plugging in. They broke ground as the first band to feature an
acoustic guitar as the lead instrument, replacing the lead accordion or
steel guitar. They were the first to include the frottoir, the rub board
borrowed from Cajun music’s Zydeco cousin, and they were the first to
feature a female vocalist.  All of these innovations were fueled by
Doucet’s determination to rejuvenate Cajun and zydeco music, breathing
into it a new relevance.

Indeed the band has achieved that goal and more, furthering the legacy
and understanding of this unique American sub culture, performing in
every state of the Union and in 33 countries. “When we first started, we
were fortunate to have these great master musicians like Dennis McGee
still living. We were able to play with them and hang out with them.
Some of them were born before 1900. Now we’re the elders and that’s
scary, as you can imagine,” reflects Doucet, “However we’re pretty proud
of the voice that we’ve produced on this record as far as the
watermark. You do what you feel and what you believe in. We pushed the
envelope just for the hell of it and that’s just who we are. And you can
dance to it at the same time.”

Upcoming Tour Dates

2/7 Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago IL
2/9 Hooligans Mankato MN
2/10 River Music Experience Davenport IA
2/12 Northern Lights Theatre Milwaukee WI
2/22 Weber State Cultrural Affairs Ogden UT
2/23 Kirkham Auditorium Rexburg ID
2/24 Ellen Theater Bozeman MT
2/26 Alberta Bair Theater Billings MT
3/1 American Theatre Hampton VA
3/2 Center For the Arts Fairfax VA
3/9 Bluegrass Underground McMinnville TN
3/10 McCabe’s Santa Monica CA
3/12 Ashkenaz-40th Anniversary Celebration Berkeley CA
3/14 Palms Playhouse Winters CA
3/15 Sebastopol Community Cultural Center Sebastopol CA
3/19 Melody Ballroom Portland OR
3/22 Hering Auditorium Fairbanks AK
3/23 Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Anchorage AK
3/25 Valdez Convention and Civic Center Valdez AK
3/27 Cordova Jr./Sr. High School Auditorium Cordova AK
3/29 Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds Ninilchik AK

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