2011 Bands & Performers
Madame Beau So' (France)
Madame Beau So' are a traditional cajun trio from across the Channel led by singer, guitarist and kiwi fruit farmer (no really) Pascale Getten, whose confident, distinctive voice is really what sets this band apart.
Pascale is accompanied by two of the most experienced musicians on the European Cajun scene today.
Pierre-Henri Pichot learned cajun fiddle in Louisiana with the legendary Dennis McGee no less back in 1976. Today he's well known as a member of Bélisaire and has also played with Daisy-Belle.
David Rolland started out as a guitarist with cajun band Vilaines Manières back in 1990 before switching to accordion with Stompin' Crawfish a few years later, and then joining the Cajun Roots trio and Doc Zydeco. Today he's best known as a member of Sarah Savoy's Francadians.
Colin and The Crawfish
International Cajun accordion artist Phil Underwood is back from the USA with his new band Colin and the Crawfish. Featuring acclaimed musicians Carol Wilson on drums, Charlie Skelton on fiddle and Peter Dunhill on guitar the band already has a string of successful gigs on their CV, including a storming success at the ZydecoZity festival in Holland last May.
They play accordion pumping, fiddle bowing Cajun and Creole dance music, spiced up with twin fiddles and amazing self penned two steps and waltzes. Bookings for 2011 also include Saulieu Cajun and Zydeco festival in August.
It's music to get your claws into!
Front Row Zydeco (Holland)
Dutch band Front Row Zydeco formed in 2009 as a special project for the ZydecoZity festival to get young musicians interested in Zydeco. Their enthusiasm and energy went down a storm and they've since gone on to play throughout the Netherlands.
Two years on we're delighted to be able to bring these rising stars to a wider European audience.
Richard van Turnhout (Accordion / Vocals): Richard instantly fell in love with Zydeco when he first heard it and has been playing accordion for more than twelve years now.
Rik Mertens (Bass/ Vocals): Rik is the real party animal of Front Row Zydeco. If you've got the moves he has all the right grooves. A little funk and a little rock 'n roll... and he isn't afraid to do a little dancing himself!
Jarco Wesdorp (Guitar): Jarco began playing guitar when he was sixteen and was instantly hooked. When he found out about zydeco a few years ago he had that same feeling of instant love.
Sharon van Turnhout (Drums / Vocals): Sharon and her amazing drumwork are the backbone of Front Row Zydeco. Now she might be a lady, but when Sharon gets on stage she turns into a mean green drumming machine!
Karel Emmen (Sax / Vocals): The oldest and wisest member of the band, Karel knows everything there is to know about zydeco, and seasons the FRZ gumbo with his razorsharp sax melodies and solos.
A vibrant new acoustic band playing and singing cajun and creole dance music from the dawn of the recording era.
Featuring Charlie Skelton and Richard Baxter on fiddle and accordian respectively, Katie Baxter and Becca Moore on 'titfer, tea chest, and frottoir, and Peter Dunhill on driving guitar.
Expect toe tapping two steps, soulful waltzes, rich harmony vocals.
Chris Hall's Creole Kings
The Creole Kings play Louisiana Creole music, which may best be described as a music that holds the mid-ground between Cajun and Zydeco. It has the melodies of Cajun and the underlying Creole rhythms that characterised early Zydeco music. It uses the scrubboard for syncopated rhythm alongside a funky guitar, bass, and drums overlayed with trance like accordion riffs. Its gentle yet insistent beat is extremely danceable.
The band are:
Chris Hall: one of the most exciting Cajun and Zydeco musicians in the UK, Chris has been behind some of the best known Swamp bands this country has ever produced. His first band to hit the unsuspecting public was R.Cajun and the Zydeco Brothers. But never one to let the grass grow under his feet he has been the driving force behind The Bearcats, Zydecomotion, Cajun Roosters, Petite Et La Gross, Lil Jim and Deepzone Zydeco, ...and now Chris Hall’s Creole Kings.
Gavin Lewery: accordion player extraordinaire with The Flatville Aces and Z Funk. His previous projects include The Bluebird Cajun Band and Zydecoactive. Now he turns his attention to the subtleties of creole drumming. Very few musicians approach the task with so much understanding. In Louisiana many of the best drummers are accordion players and in the Creole Kings if it's good for the goose its good for the gander!
Hazel Scott: known for her guitar playing and amazing vocals in Petite et la Gross and The Cajun Roosters. Her rock solid rhythm has supported accordion players like fellow band members Chris Hall and Gavin Lewery but also Louisiana legends like Steve Riley and Mitch Reed. She approaches the scrubboard with the same dedication and desire to enhance the melody with complex syncopated patterns in the old style.
John Elliot: came to the Cajun scene in the early 90’s as one half of the Swamp Club team, and as the driving guitar player in The Bearcats. His acoustic guitar groove became legendary and although other commitments took him to pastures new he now makes a welcome return to the genre in joining the Creole Kings.
Michael Bentele: In his earlier life he was Germany’s most famous music TV producer and is now bassman with The Cajun Roosters. Another musician who has dedicated many years to promoting this music, he has run festivals, organised tours for local, European and Louisiana bands, set up his own record label, organised the European Cajun and Zydeco awards, and generally done more than most to promote the music he loves. Oh, and he’s also one mean bass player!
Whiskey River Boys at The Folk House Cafe & Bar
Firm festival favourites, the versatile musicians / vocalists "The Whiskey River Boys" are in reality Martin and Aidan from the UK zydecajun band "Whiskey River". They play Louisiana swamp music from the Deep South plus Old Timey, Bluegrass, Country-Blues and whatever else they fancy... and they play with a genuine passion for the music. They perform in the UK and elsewhere. Meet them at their friendly and inclusive jam sessions in the festival bar for singing, dancing and playing. You'll have a good time just listening, but more so if you JOIN IN.
"The Whiskey River Boys... Magic, sheer magic... a storming triumph!" Folk Wales, 2008.
Carol Wilson (cajun dance)
Carol Wilson first discovered Cajun 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 she has studied Cajun 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.”
Kay Anderson (zydeco dance)
Kay Anderson has been dancing all her life but got hooked on cajun and zydeco music a number of years ago at Broadstairs Folk Festival. Finding gigs and workshops locally proved difficult so she started her own regular dance workshops in Kent where she offered to share what she had learnt. She has led the cajun and or zydeco dance workshops at the Bristol Cajun & Zydeco Festival since 2004, at the Gloucester International Cajun & Zydeco Festival since 2006 and each year at the Broadstairs Folk Festival since 2001 - as well as teaching a monthly cajun and zydeco dance workshops in Kent! If you’re down south, look up kentcajun.org.uk and come and join in the fun. "You learn by doing!"
MCs and & DJs Lil' Queenie and Flying Home from Swamprock, London
See Swamprock Website for more info.