The Bearcats Trio
The Bearcats trio make a very welcome appearance at Bristol to play their authentic traditional down home back porch stripped down rockin' Cajun music. Combining skilled musicianship with depth, knowledge, sensitivity and soul, the line up features Chris Hall - Cajun accordion, vocals. Mitch Proctor - fiddle, vocals and Murray Brailsford - guitar.
Collectively their pedigree lists like a who’s who of Cajun and Zydeco Music… RCajun and the Zydeco Brothers, Cajun Roosters, Zydecomotion, Deepzone Zydeco, Petite et La Gross, Out of the Swamp, and that’s without even mentioning that Chris has recorded with folks like Paul McCartney, Dave Gilmour, Kate Bush, Bill Wyman, and Seth Lakeman (phew!) This combination of some of the best-known Cajun musicians in the country makes them one of the most sought after outfits in their field for anyone looking for a high quality band who can really get into the heart of Cajun music! Expect a great dance groove. The perfect start to a great weekend.
See the Swampmusic Website for more about The Bearcats and all things cajun.
Pon' Bro are an acoustic trio based in North West Wales who pump out traditional Cajun two-steps and waltzes interspersed with Cajun blues and old-time Creole tunes. The band's influences include the Balfas, Canray Fontenot, Octa Clarke and Sheryl Cormier. The three members of Pon' Bro - Frances on accordion, Nick on fiddle and Owen on guitar - have been playing together in various lineups for over 20 years ('Tite Fille & the Acadians, Zarico, Cajuns Denbo), and they have diverse musical backgrounds that encompass blues, folk, jazz and latin. Members of the band have shared stages with many Louisiana artists over the years including Sheryl Cormier, Balfa Toujours, Cory McCauley, Rockin Sidney and Lazy Lester amongst others. Mostly in French, the songs tell of life events that we can all connect with: love and heart-break; hard work followed at the end of the week by good times, music, dancing and drunkenness; and, yes, the final farewell. Don't be fooled by the cheery tones of the music - the words often tell a different story!
The Po' Boys
Bringing the sounds of the Deep South to British shores. Fronted by award winning accordionist, Lil Jim, who is tipped by his peers in Louisiana and Europe as one of the brightest hopes for Cajun and Zydeco music this side of the pond.
He is backed by the UK's leading exponents who add traditional rhythms and melodies to cutting edge arrangements. The band also includes two sons of original members of R. Cajun, the band who single handedly bought Cajun to the UK 30 years ago.
- Lil Jim - accordion, vocals
- Mitch Proctor - fiddle, vocals
- Murray Brailsford - guitar
- Jake Billington - bass
- Andy Watson - drums
The Bayou Tapestry
The Bayou Tapestry are arguably the finest Cajun band in the whole of Bishopston (a small neighbourhood in north Bristol). We’ve played the Bristol Cajun Swamp Club several times, toured South Wales (well, Newport) and somehow built up a loyal-ish local fanbase, largely through bringing the Cajun gospel to the uninitiated (who don’t know any better). The nearest we’ve been to Louisiana is Pembrokeshire.
We’re a 6/7 piece that’ve been playing together for a couple of years. You may find this hard to believe when you hear us. Having seen other people play Cajun , we thought “how hard can it be?” We’re still formulating an answer to that question.
Breaking many Cajun rules (melodeon players look away now), we have taken a DIY approach to attempting slavishly simple copies of old standards. To our amazement, people dance when we play.
They also laugh sometimes, though we’re not sure what that signifies.
We throw in some of our own self-penned Cajun numbers, focused mostly on traditional swampy topics such as neo-liberalism, climate change, the parliamentary Labour Party, etc. We’re not sure if choruses are strictly allowed in the Cajun format but we sing them anyway.
We’re not polished, not normal and not bothered ‘cause what we play seems to go down well with our local following (some of whom are not even related to us).
We’re proud and nervous about playing at the BCZF. Be gentle with us while you dance your socks off anyway. Welcome to Bristol!
Lil' Jim & Hazel Scott
Lil’ Jim and Hazel Scott are a couple of Cajun musicians that have been playing together for years and years! Originally as a big band (Petit et la Gross) and now as a regular duo outfit. They are no strangers to the international stage having played all of the major Cajun and Zydeco festivals between them with their respective bands (The Po’ Boys and The Cajun Roosters). Here we see them at their most raw, their most stripped down, like Cleoma Breaux and Joe Falcon! Pure Cajun, pure music, as much for the listening as for the dancing! Look out for some twists and turns in Lil’ Jim's blistering accordion playing! Look out for solid, simple, danceable grooves! Look out for soulful harmonies and heartbreaking vocals! In other words, look out for something special!
The Zydeco Diamonds
The Zydeco Diamonds have a musical pedigree and collective history in Zydeco music which spans over 20 yrs.
Featuring top musicians, well respected as some of the finest exponents of Cajun and Zydeco music outside of Louisiana.
The Zydeco Diamonds are focussing on a more traditional old school style of Zydeco, moving away from the modern 'hip hop influenced sounds which have become mainstream in Louisiana dance halls today, instead embracing the older unique sounds and irresistible grooves of a sometimes forgotten golden age of Zydeco, whilst adding their own fresh spice and flavour to the mix.
The band have been influenced and inspired by musicians such as Corey Ledet, Jeffery Broussard, Cedric Watson to name but a few. These young Louisiana musicians are very much looking back to their Creole heritage and roots, re-discovering and re-popularizing the musical style passed down from generations before, and adding a fresh contemporary flavour which is once again packing the dancehalls of Louisiana and beyond.
The Zydeco Diamonds deliver irresistible, funky, foot stomping high energy Zydeco dance music, pure and simple, loud and direct, from your head down to your dancing feet.
- Accordion - Gavin Lewery
- Drums - Andy Watson
- Guitar - Kev Torne
- Bass - Rob Hill
- Rubboard – Dan Williams
Dennis & Liz
Dennis Parnham and Liz Manners will be teaching Cajun dance moves again this year.
Both are familiar faces on the UK Cajun scene and have been dancing Cajun and Zydeco for over 20 years.
Dennis and Liz are both members of Jambalaya, the Gloucester based jam session band with a Cajun flavour, which plays live Cajun music as the resident band at the monthly Gloucester and Bristol Cajun club nights: Cajun a la Fontaine and the Bristol Cajun Swamp Club.
Carol Wilson will teach the Zydeco workshop this year. She first discovered Cajun and Zydeco dancing in Los Angeles where by chance she saw CJ Chenier in a bar and to her amazement young couples got up to dance together! Since then she has made regular trips to Louisiana. As the drummer in the Cajun band Zigazag and Colin & The Crawfish she has studied Cajun and Creole music and played with some of the top musicians there. Over the years Carol has also watched the changing nature of their dances. She has refined her own techniques and has taught at a number of festivals and classes throughout the UK and Europe. Carol aims to make her classes simple and accessible to all because “Dancing should be about having fun and enjoying the music.”
MCs and & DJs Lil' Queenie and Flying Home from Swamprock, London
Nigel Bewley (aka "Flying Home") has been DJ-ing since 1972 and was bitten by Zydeco music in 1986 when hanging around the offices and studios of Island Records he met Buckwheat Zydeco, the label's new signing. Nigel has a huge record collection of many different styles and when DJ-ing likes nothing better to make people dance to tunes he loves. Laissez les bons temps roulez - vous avez raison!
Carole Lateman (aka "Lil' Queenie") has always been a passionate fan of music and dance. In 1988, on her first visit to New Orleans, she discovered the exciting rhythms of Cajun and Zydeco music and dance. In 2004, together with Neil Papworth, she started London’s Swamp Rock Club, putting on regular dances with live Zydeco bands, and also DJ-ing with her husband, Nigel. Together, they have run stages at The Thames Festival, promoted gigs at The 100 Club and other London venues, and DJ-ed at numerous dances and private parties. As a dancer, she knows what music to play to get that dance floor jumping!