Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

POP MUSIC REVIEW

Cajun & Zydeco Fest Offers Spicy Blend

June 03, 1996|STEVE APPLEFORD

"It may not be rock 'n' roll, but it's Cajun music as it was always meant to be."

Sure enough, that statement Saturday from singer-guitarist Anne Savoy at the Southern California Cajun & Zydeco Festival was said with a smile, but it underlined a commitment to a music heard too infrequently outside the bayou.

The rootsy sound of her Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band (led by her husband, accordionist Marc Savoy, and Beausoleil fiddler Michael Doucet) was meant as no challenge to less traditional acts on the bill of this two-day festival. This was the the kind of show where one band leaves the stage only to cheer on the next act.

Opening day at Rainbow Lagoon (adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center) offered longtime Cajun music fans and new converts plenty of music to believe in. Bands performed hourlong sets on a small stage as fans sprawled out across the grass or danced under the sun, while vendors offered a menu ranging from jambalaya to alligator on a stick and sold Cajun cookbooks, instruction videos on zydeco dancing and CDs.

Headliner C.J. Chenier chose to open his set not with the sound of traditional zydeco (as played by his late father, zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier), but with some blues-seared rock 'n' roll.

Playing with similar fire but with both feet planted firmly in tradition, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys made energetic Cajun music accented with bits of bluegrass and rock enthusiasm. Utilizing sweet vocal harmonies and a sound that often sounded not too far outside your local honky-tonk, Riley stands among the most compelling of a new generation of Cajun and zydeco players.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|