Cajun Music Celebrated On 'Evangeline'
John Fogerty, Linda Ronstadt, Richard Thompson, and Patty Griffin are among the artists who have contributed songs, in French, to "Evangeline Made: A Tribute to Cajun Music." Due March 5 from VanguardJohn Fogerty, Linda Ronstadt, Richard Thompson, and Patty Griffin are among the artists who have contributed songs, in French, to "Evangeline Made: A Tribute to Cajun Music." Due March 5 from Vanguard Records, the compilation also features tracks by Nick Lowe, David Johansen, Linda Thompson, Rodney Crowell, and Maria McKee.
"What thrilled me," says the set's producer, musician/author/Cajun folklorist Ann Savoy, "was the enthusiasm with which the artists who committed to the project embraced the idea of recording a Cajun song, and the hard work they put into making their songs relate something special about the Cajun culture." Savoy worked with each artist on their French pronunciation and delivery.
Savoy's knowledge of the subject is deep, and her past work includes authoring the Cajun and Zydeco music chapter in the book "American Roots Music," and consulting on the PBS series of the same name. She also wrote "Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People," a book of songs, biographies, and interviews with significant Cajun and Creole musicians, published in 1984 by Bluebird Press.
As a multi-instrumentalist and singer, Savoy is a member of the Savoy Cajun Band (with husband/accordionist Marc Savoy) and co-founder the all woman Magnolia Sisters. That five-piece outfit -- rounded out by Jane Vidrine (vocals/fiddle/guitar), Tina Pilione (fiddle/bass/mandolin), Lisa Trahan Reed (vocals/bass), and Christine Balfa (vocals/guitar/banjo/ukulele/rubboard) -- last released the 2000 Rounder set "Chers Amis."
Savoy is currently collaborating with T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack for the upcoming Warner Bros. Film, "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," and also appears in the film performing two songs. Due July 2002 in U.S. theaters, the Warner Bros. film is based on Rebecca Wells' 1996 novel of the same name and stars Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James Garner, Ashley Judd, and Cherry Jones.
Could a wide-reaching interest in Cajun music be on the horizon? It's possible, owing to the fact that Burnett also produced the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Mercury Nashville). That set, which topped Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for 24 non-consecutive weeks in 2001, sparked a resurgence in the popularity of bluegrass, which framed that film's 1920s deep-South setting.