Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess
Blue Moon Saloon
215 East Convent Street
October 8, 2014
It’s one thing to play an instrument well, quite another to become an authority on the genre of that music. Kristi Guillory (accordion) and Anya Burgess (fiddle) are both. Well-known as members of Bonsoir Catin, the popular Lafayette, Louisiana band formed in 2005, they’ve teamed up to dig into the Cajun music catalogue.
Their new record, “ Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess,” is a collection of seldom heard songs, some of the oldest recorded Cajun songs of the 1920s and 1930s they’ve culled from their research.
Kristi majored in Francophone Studies, completed a Master’s degree in Folklore Studies at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, where she teaches accordion, vocals, and Cajun and Creole music history. The first archivist at the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Kristi has access to original materials.
Anya perfected her fiddle playing in Cape Breton, an area steeped in French language and sensibilities, when she learned from Otis Tomas, a highly respected fiddle maker. After learning to make violins at Indiana University, she operates her own violin/fiddle shop. Many of the area’s fiddlers trust her to maintain their instruments.
Here and with Bonsoir Catin, they sing in Cajun French, the predominant language in rural southwest Louisiana until the mid 1900s.
Cajun music is sung in a particularly haunting, baleful, wailing style, perhaps a reflection on the rural subsistence life in the bayous of southwest Louisiana where the first Acadians settled after being expelled from Canada by the British in the mid 1700s. The set list ranges between lively, sad and occasionally humorous Cajun two-step songs and waltzes. Guillory and Burgess introduce each song with a brief description the song’s content. With composer’s names like Bixy Guidry, Slim Doucet, Adam and Cyprien Landreneau, and Leo Soileau, you can tell you’re in Cajun country.
At first, the crowd at the Blue Moon Saloon listens attentively. This is Lafayette, however. Before long the living room-sized dance floor is crowded with dancers. But many in the crowd listen for most of the night, curious to hear such a collection of new music. Guillory and Burgess clearly love playing together, make plenty of eye contact and often appear absorbed with channeling the sense of time and place in which the music was created.
Lafayette has a multi-generational audience ready to connect with its musical heritage. I doubt that any part of the country holds so tightly and proudly to its music traditions. Whether playing faithful renditions of old songs or playing them in new ways, there will always be an audience.
NOTE: Audio is with digital camera, not known for high fidelity!
Unless buckled into seat belts, Lafayette audiences will find a way to dance. There's a band in there somewhere.
SET LIST (Thank you, Anya!)
Grosse Mama - Leo Soileau
Belle of Pointe - Artelus Mistric
Valse de Pointe Noire - Angelas Lejeune
Two Step de Platin - Abrose Thibodeaux
High Ball - Octa Clark
Longue Pointe Two-Step
Casse Pas Ma Tete
La Valse Soliel Couche - Octa Clark
La Valse des Pins - Lawrence Walker
Midnight On The Water
Hack a Moreau - Edius Naquin
Quelqu'un Est Jalous - Delin T. Guillory
Les Pinieres - Adam and Cyp Landreneau
Bayou Pom Pom
Reve de Saoulard
Waxia Special - Slim Doucet
Un Matin dans Mai - Didier Hebert
Valse A Pop
Contredanse Français - Cheese Reed
Je Vais Jouer Cela Pour Toi - Bixy Guidry and Percy Hab
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.