Cajun & Creole Week

Cajun & Creole Week

July 9- 14, 2017


Our staff of Cajun and Creole instructors keeps students buzzing with excitement in the classroom and pulsing with energy on the pavilion dance floor! Each day starts with a fresh cup of Cajun coffee and a jam session. Classes meet 10-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-3:45 p.m. After lunch, everyone gathers for special presentations on Cajun/Creole music and culture. With mini-courses, jam sessions, concerts, dances and a gumbo party, it’s a gala week of nonstop music and dancing.

“Cajun/Creole Week is shaping up to be one of the best ever! Cream-of-the-crop musicians are just waiting to give their students focused instruction rarely available outside of Louisiana. This is a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the music and culture of southwest Louisiana while concentrating intently on their instrument. In addition to classes, there will be plenty of time for dancing and jamming with old friends and new.”
– Lynne Terr (2017 Coordinator)

Tuition Guide:
$475/week if paid before June 1. $515/week if paid after June 1.

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Week at a GlancePreliminary Schedule of EventsRegister Online

Click any name/class below to open more details. Click again to close.

Cajun & Creole Week Coordinator – Lynne Terr

Lynne Terr

Lynne has been the coordinator of Cajun & Creole Week for over fifteen years. She first became enamored with Cajun music in the early 1970s. Her husband Charlie had been to Louisiana and met the Balfa brothers, whom she later met at a Fais-Do-Do on a farm in northern Illinois. Soon she and her husband Charlie began to travel to Louisiana and to host Cajun musicians who were performing in Chicago and surrounding areas, their first guests being the legendary Nathan Abshire and Rodney Balfa. This tradition has continued over the years and has led to great friendships with musicians who have been willing to share their knowledge about their music and culture. For many years Lynne and Charlie ran monthly dances in Chicago featuring a local band as well as musicians from Louisiana such as Dewey Balfa, Steve Riley, and D.L. Menard. Lynne has been the consultant for many venues for Cajun events in the Midwest including the Field Museum of Natural History, the University of Chicago Folk Festival and Folklore Village in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. In 2011 Lynne decided to retire from her longtime day job as a jeweler to devote more time to the arts. She is now the Executive Director of the McCord Gallery & Cultural Center in Palos Park, Illinois. Lynne has used her skills as a music events planner to bring together memorable gatherings of exemplary Cajun musicians at Augusta.

Master Artist – Walter Mouton

Walter Mouton

Walter Mouton Jr. is a legendary Cajun musician whose reputation rests almost solely on his live performances at Cajun dances. His band recorded “The Scott Playboys Special” as a single in 1970, and his music is also heard on the sound track to the film J’ai êté au bal, but he is best known for his Saturday night performances at Breaux Bridge’s La Poussière Club. He started playing there many years ago, beginning his weekly gig in the mid-1980s, and retiring in 2008.

Mouton, who was born in 1938, put together the first version of the Scott Playboys in 1952 when he was 13. Original members were Rodney Miller, John Allen Guillot, and Leeman Prejean. According to the biography compiled by the Cajun French Music Association, which named him to the CFMA Hall of Fame, the Scott Playboys performed at such establishments as the Colonial Club in Estherwood, the Reno Club in Kaplan, T-Maurice in Bosco, the China Ball Club in Bristol, the Triangle Club in Scott, Jolly Rogers in St. Martinville, and Happy Landing in Arnaudville.

The band kept going by changing with the times, adding country and western as well as rock and roll songs to their repertoire to try to meet dance hall requests. But with the revival of Cajun music, the band has for a long time been able to play only the music that they love: Cajun songs with a beat designed for dancing. As Mouton told Dominck Cross in an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate highlighting the dedication of the 1998 Festivals Acadiens in his honor, “I consider myself a dance band as (opposed) to an authentic Cajun band.”

Accordion (Beg.) – Jason Frey

Jason Frey

Jason Frey’s accordion playing takes listeners back to the old style of front porch music. One of Dewey Balfa’s favorite accordion players, Jason played many festivals with him. In 2000 his band, Lagniappe, released a CD, à la vieille manière, which received the Cajun French Music Association’s Le Cajun Award as Best First Recording of the Year and Jason was nominated for the Best Accordionist of the Year. In 2011 Jason and Courtney Granger recorded a CD on which they performed both old favorites and newer songs that they wrote themselves. Since then Jason has teamed up with Al Berard, Charlie Terr and Joel Savoy for another CD of standards and originals.

Accordion (Beg.)

Jason Frey loves to teach beginners so that he can set them on the right path with good habits right from the start. This class will focus on the basics of Cajun accordion, the push and pull, the rhythm and the tunes.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL- Accordion (Int.) – Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Chris was interested in music from the time he was born. His parents recall that he made a habit of waking early so that he could hear the “French Music” on KLFY’s morning show “Passe Partout.” Chris was also fond of singing and dancing around his home to his father’s self-styled guitar playing. In fact, there always seemed to be music in the neighborhood. Most of Chris’s aunts, uncles and grandparents lived within three miles or so. Many family members played guitar; Uncle Nolan Miller played accordion, fiddle, guitar, and few licks on the piano. After noting his early interests in music, his parents purchased a piano and Chris began lessons. This continued for a while until he decided that he could play boogie, swamp pop and country without taking any further lessons. Chris composed a few songs in middle school and won a few talent contests with his original piano works. As Chris approached his teens, he began to devote himself more and more to Cajun music and to teach himself Cajun accordion, guitar, and later fiddle. There were many other local influences besides his closely-knit extended family. Raul and Reoul LeBlanc played the old style of Cajun accordion that Chris grew to love. Harris Leger, a family friend and accordionist who was never recorded, also provided hours of inspiration at family gatherings and camping trips. The Vanicors of Lacassine and Welsh provided Chris with many opportunities to play and to learn from veterans of Cajun music’s early years. In 1999 Chris helped to form Louisiana’s Kingfish which has had great success playing throughout Louisiana, Texas, and at the 2001 Montreal Jazz Festival. In 2000 Kingfish released the CD Life in a One-Horse Town, which continues to sell well and influence Louisiana music. For this CD Chris provided interesting and innovative arrangements, vocals, and accordion, fiddle, and guitar tracks. Chris has also played throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and France with Hadley Castille. He also played at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio with Rodney LeJeune and the Texas Cajun Playboys. Chris has won many accordion-playing contests throughout South Louisiana and Southeast Texas. He is in demand as a studio musician for projects that require that special “Cajun Sound”. He has taught accordion to many young students including Sean Vidrine and Kaleb Trahan. Chris has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education from McNeese State University and is Choral Director at Barbe High School and First Presbyterian Church in Lake Charles.

Accordion  (Int.)

Students should already know how to hold the instrument and the basic scale push pull patterns. In addition, students should already have some experience playing simple songs in proper rhythmic timing. This course will focus on what kind of playing techniques make the instrument produce the uniquely Cajun sounds such as; Octaves, (and when and how to use them), Grace notes, other button combinations (chords), trills, how to accent the rhythm with the right hand. How to accent the rhythmic feel with the left hand bellow pressure. How to begin to use the bass accompaniment buttons in proper rhythm while also playing the right hand melody. Old time waltz rhythm vs more modern feel. Students can familiarize themselves with Chris’ layered teaching approach by searching for Chris Miller Love Bridge Waltz lessons on you tube. He has many examples and lessons on YouTube. Students who preview the lessons will most likely get the most out of the week of classes because the groundwork that will already have been laid. Chris will poll the class to find the most useable tune and the most common tune to all current camp goers. He will then break that tune down for instruction in layers and then reassemble it adding the various elements. There will be time for question and answer sessions as well as tune requests. Students are encouraged to bring recording devices to aid their study.

Accordion (Adv.) – Walter Mouton

Walter Mouton

Walter Mouton Jr. is a legendary Cajun musician whose reputation rests almost solely on his live performances at Cajun dances. His band recorded “The Scott Playboys Special” as a single in 1970, and his music is also heard on the sound track to the film J’ai êté au bal, but he is best known for his Saturday night performances at Breaux Bridge’s La Poussière Club. He started playing there many years ago, beginning his weekly gig in the mid-1980s, and retiring in 2008.

Mouton, who was born in 1938, put together the first version of the Scott Playboys in 1952 when he was 13. Original members were Rodney Miller, John Allen Guillot, and Leeman Prejean. According to the biography compiled by the Cajun French Music Association, which named him to the CFMA Hall of Fame, the Scott Playboys performed at such establishments as the Colonial Club in Estherwood, the Reno Club in Kaplan, T-Maurice in Bosco, the China Ball Club in Bristol, the Triangle Club in Scott, Jolly Rogers in St. Martinville, and Happy Landing in Arnaudville.

The band kept going by changing with the times, adding country and western as well as rock and roll songs to their repertoire to try to meet dance hall requests. But with the revival of Cajun music, the band has for a long time been able to play only the music that they love: Cajun songs with a beat designed for dancing. As Mouton told Dominck Cross in an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate highlighting the dedication of the 1998 Festivals Acadiens in his honor, “I consider myself a dance band as (opposed) to an authentic Cajun band.”

Accordion (Adv.)

Walter Mouton will team up with Blake Miller to teach advanced accordion. Focusing on timing, chord changes, and the other basics, he will also accommodate individual needs and will welcome students’ suggestions for which songs they would like to learn. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Walter’s style of playing from the master himself.

Bass (All Levels) – Yvette Landry

Yvette Landry

Yvette Landry is a GRAMMY-nominated, award-winning vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. Recently elected as Governor to the Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy, she is a member of The Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Balfa Tujours, and several other Cajun bands. She also performs as an award-winning Louisiana honky-tonk artist and recently played at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café. She’s traveled throughout the US and Europe sharing her own music and Cajun culture. She also has toured Russia as a cultural ambassador representing the United States. When not playing music, Landry stays busy as a mother, private homeschool teacher, an adjunct professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a noted children’s author, and a sign language interpreter.

Bass (All Levels)

Want to play Cajun bass? Want to join a Cajun jam? All levels are welcome to take a “walk” or a “run” through Cajun songs both old and new. Two-steps, one-steps, waltzes and blues will be highlighted throughout the week on both electric and upright bass. Beginning techniques, advanced techniques and everything in between will be covered. So get your fingers ready, listen to those old Cajun tunes and register today!

Fiddle from Scratch – Michelle Kaminsky

Michelle Kaminsky

Michelle Kaminsky has been an Augusta regular since 1980, first as a student and then as an instructor, giving her the opportunity to learn from many Cajun and Creole musicians including Dewey Balfa, Canray Fontenot, Danny and Ed Poullard, Mitch Reed, Al Berard, and many others. Her high-energy fiddling has powered the Cajun band Magnolia in the northeast since 1991. Michelle especially enjoys working with novices, inspiring them to move beyond ‘scratch’!

Fiddle from Scratch

This is a class for folks who have always wanted to play fiddle but don’t know where to start. It is also for fiddlers who want to go back to the beginning and set things right with a patient teacher in a supportive atmosphere. You’ll learn the basics, such as how to hold the bow, and get a good sound, where to put your fingers and how to tune it. One of the nice things about starting off with Cajun fiddling is learning how to play along in a jam by using a very simple rhythm backup. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to keep right on playing after Augusta! Bring a fiddle and bow, a tuner if you have one, some rosin if you have it and come prepared to have fun! A recording device with batteries is strongly recommended and it’s always good to try it out ahead of time.

Fiddle (Beg./Int.) – Daniel Coolik

Daniel Coolik

Daniel Coolik is a member of the GRAMMY-nominated band, The Revelers. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, he swept into the Lafayette scene in 2009 and quickly added his name to many respectable rosters, loaning his talents to such groups as Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, The Red Stick Ramblers, and Les Malfecteurs. An adept multi-instrumentalist, he has since emerged as a violoniste extraordinaire in Acadiana, but he is also a first call rhythm guitarist for many recordings projects and gigs.

Fiddle (Beg./Int.)

Class Description Coming Soon!

Fiddle (Adv.) – David Greely

David Greely

David Greely’s musical passion is Cajun songs, their melodies, phrasing, lyrics and language. Born in Baton Rouge of Irish-Cajun ancestry, he has devoted the past 3 decades to learning ballads, complaintes, dance hall songs and stories in the language of his ancestors, achieving conversational fluency as well as popular acclaim for his beautiful baritone vocals. His students understand the songs, which not only preserves the lyric in their minds, but also teaches them a bit of an archaic French dialect that charms French-speakers the world over. David spent 23 years playing and singing traditional Cajun music in Louisiana’s rural dance halls as well as concert halls worldwide with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. He now performs worldwide as a solo acoustic performer and in small acoustic groups. In intensively studying the rare home music of Dennis McGee, Varise Conner and many other accomplished old masters, he is actively exploring the full history of Cajun and Creole fiddle and vocals. His classes include instruction in all these styles. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award in Folklife, been nominated for four Grammy awards and teaches at universities, music camps and workshops.

Fiddle – Adv.

David will be teaching a great many tunes and songs. Along the way he will teach how to phrase in the Cajun way by including breathing spaces that open up the music and generate the syncopation that creates a convincing Cajun sound. He will explain how to creatively vary a melody without leaving it behind as well as how Cajun ornamentation puts the rootsy emotional content, the “juice,” into your music.

Guitar (Beg./Int) – Chas Justus

Chas Justus

Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Chas Justus was born to play the guitar. He plays with a confidence and diversity that belies his young age. He is able to seamlessly switch from any of the numerous blues styles he’s mastered to country jazz and the Southwest Louisiana guitar styles that he has fallen in love with. His guitar playing has been featured on numerous albums to come out of the Louisiana music scene, and his songs have been on quite a few albums, including Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy’s Grammy-nominated Adieu False Heart. His individualistic guitar playing, singing, and songwriting mark Chas Justus as one of the next Southern troubadours with a new song that sounds refreshingly old.

Guitar (Beg./Int.)

In the Cajun Guitar workshop, we will look at the kinds of chords typically used in Cajun music. Making sure everyone knows their chords, we will then look at the different kinds of rhythm used, including two steps, blues and waltzes. We will play and understand playing a stock style rhythm as well as the Balfa open chord style. We will talk about how to practice and to hear how different chords sound in relation to each other. Above all we will have fun and learn to listen in a different way.

Cajun Vocals (All Levels) – Randy Vidrine

Randy Vidrine

Randy Vidrine was born and raised in Ville Platte, Louisiana, in a family that spoke predominantly French. In high school he began playing guitar in a “ French” band, as it was known in those days. They did not call the music they were playing “Cajun” until a few years later when it became known as Cajun music. After going off to college and starting a family, he was introduced to Cory McCauley, and he began to get more serious about playing traditional French or Cajun music. McCauley Reed Vidrine recorded one album on vinyl before splitting up. Randy Continued to play with Mitch Reed on fiddle and Randy on guitar and vocals. This duo played together for many years, touring and recording CDs with Tasso, Mamou Prairie Band, Charivari, and The Lafayette Rhythm Devils. The Rhythm Devils continue today, although Mitch has since departed from the band and now plays with Beausoliel. Charivari recorded CDs for Rounder Records, including I Want To Dance With You, and A Trip To The Holiday. The band toured across the entire United States and countries such as England, Portugal, and others. Many of these tours included music and vocal workshops on Cajun music. Randy’s vocals have been described as “high and lonesome, and are all done in the French dialect of the Prairie Cajuns that live in the area where Randy was raised.” Randy has taught his distinctive style of singing at Ashokan Southern Week in Woodstock, New York, and Augusta Cajun & Creole Week. In 2012 Randy was inducted into the Wall of Fame at the world famous Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, LA, where he still plays monthly with The Lafayette Rhythm Devils and as a fulltime member of another band, Jamie Berzas and Cajun Tradition. When not playing with The Lafayette Rhythm Devils or Cajun Tradition, Randy can usually be seen playing trio gigs with Jimmy Breaux and occasionally with his old bandmate, Mitch Reed

Cajun Vocals (All Levels)

This year in Cajun vocals, Randy Vidrine is looking for singers or potential singers that want to learn some traditional Cajun waltzes and two-steps. The class will emphasize pronunciation and phrasing so that participants can achieve a realistic Cajun sounding tune. Randy will provide lyric sheets for each song so participants can make any notes on the sheets that will help them more easily learn the songs. The class will concentrate on specific songs to make them performance ready or familiar enough for one to sing for their own pleasure. Randy will also share additional lyric sheets for the class to run through more quickly to give participants a head start on making these songs part of their repertoire as well. Randy will accompany the class on guitar, and as participants progress, he will incorporate an accordion and possibly a fiddle so participants can see how all the pieces fit, and hear how the final product should sound. Recorders are welcome, and participants should bring a pencil to mark up the lyric sheets. Randy has some songs in mind already, but participant suggestions or requests will be considered. Randy is looking forward to seeing everyone in July!

Liaisons – Nancy Weston & Betsy Fuller

Nancy Weston

Nancy Weston has immersed herself in Cajun music, culture and history for over 25 years. As a former educator, Nancy has made presentations on Cajun culture and music. For nine years she published a monthly Cajun events calendar and has been on staff at Augusta Heritage Center’s Cajun Week for over a decade. She plays guitar, accordion, ‘tee fer and sings. She has been in the northeastern bands Bayou Midnight, Jolie Belles du Bayou, Back Porch Rockers and Bayou Brew. Nancy has been recognized by the C.F.M.A. (Cajun French Music Association) as performing authentic traditional Cajun music in a non-Cajun region and for contributing toward preserving Louisiana’s Cajun music heritage.

Betsy Fuller

Betsy Fuller sings harmony vocals and plays guitar in C’est Bon Cajun Band.

Staff Musicians – Jimmy Breaux, Blake Miller, & Charlie Terr

Jimmy Breaux

Jimmy Breaux is acknowledged to be one of the best Cajun accordionists of the modern era. The accordion player for the Grammy Award-winning group Beausoleil for over 25 years, he is in the fourth generation of his family to play Cajun music. His great-grandfather was Auguste Breaux and his great aunt, Cléoma Falcon Breaux, sang and played on the first Cajun recording, “Allons à Lafayette.” His grandfather, Amédée Breaux, made the first recording of “Jolie Blonde.” Jimmy’s first solo album, Un ‘Tit Peu Plus Cajun, was recorded in 1991 and is mainly a collection of traditional tunes. His second, Le Chemin Que T’as Pris, was chosen as the best album of 1997 by the Cajun French Music Association. Jimmy Breaux and Friends: Live at Festivals Acadiens was released in 2008. Since retiring from Beausoleil he has enjoyed playing around home with a variety of great musicians.

Blake Miller

Grandson of well-known accordion builder Larry Miller, Blake Miller has been surrounded by Cajun music and culture his entire life. Hailing from the small town of Iota, Louisiana, Blake is a fluent French speaker and songwriter. He acquired a degree in Francophone studies from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was a founding member of the popular young Cajun band, The Pine Leaf Boys, and became a member of the premiere Louisiana roots band The Red Stick Ramblers. He has also served stints in just about every other Cajun/Creole band of note including Balfa Toujours, Les Malfecteurs and Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole. He now plays accordion and fiddle with the The Revelers who were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016.

Charlie Terr

Charlie Terr has played with some of the masters of Cajun and Creole music including the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, Marc Savoy, the Sundown Playboys, D.L. Menard, Lionel LeLeux, and Bois Sec Ardoin. Charlie plays accordion with The Chicago Cajun Aces.

Arts, Crafts & Folklore Workshops

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.) – Woody Harman

Woody Harman

As a self-taught artist blacksmith, Woody Harman has developed his skill and knowledge to work hot iron. Using age old techniques, a coal forge, hammer, tongs, and an anvil along with modern techniques and tools, he creates artistic items such as floral designed sculptures and utilitarian items such as fireplace screens and tool sets. Most often his creations have a combination of both the aesthetically pleasing and functional qualities that can be found in an ornate personal chalk board for note taking.

To most people, a blacksmith is characterized by his sheer brute strength. They miss the mark when they don’t recognize his mental abilities. The blacksmith’s brain, imagination, and visualization are more important than his brawn. Woody’s creativity is a direct reflection of his ability to imagine and he strongly feels that one’s imagination is the only limit to creating something unique and artistic in the blacksmith shop.

His attention to detail in this art form is what makes each of his iron pieces an heirloom treasure. His journey as an iron worker has been a tremendous enjoyment from receiving the response that he refers to as the “WOW” factor from those who take the time to appreciate his hand-craftsmanship.

He is a juried member of Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, and the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op. He has maintained a membership with the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America and other various blacksmithing organizations since the late 1970s and is a current member of the Appalachian Blacksmith Association. Researching blacksmithing books and attending various blacksmithing hammer-ins and events are his passions.

Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.)

Explore the foundational skills of blacksmithing in an energetic and active, hands-on class of moving metal. Starting and maintaining a coal fire will be the first lesson. Students will learn the parts of the anvil and be shown an ergonomic and safe way to develop hammer control. The class will move on to explore the essential skills to draw, upset, split and taper black iron. Using these techniques, students will develop a strong foundation of the basics to create artistic and functional items while they gain skill in manipulating stock. The primary goal is for each student to gain comfort in their forging ability.
Projects will include a series of small, functional items such as wall hooks and household items. Depending upon time and ability, students may move on to their own projects or create items from samples provided by the instructor. While attention to design and details will be demonstrated, any range of eccentric, zany or unexpected designs will be encouraged. Projects can be as creative as your imagination.

This class is appropriate for beginning and intermediate smiths. No prior experience or skill is required, but some arm strength is helpful. Beginners will receive one-on-one assistance and instruction. Advanced-beginners and intermediate smiths are welcome to sharpen their skills, improve their attention to details and learn how to work more efficiently. Bring your curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity. Safety glasses, welding gloves and leather covered shoes for secure footing are required.
Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to Augusta at time of registration.

Cajun Cooking – Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller from Iota, Louisiana, is a prizewinning cook and the author of two Cajun cookbooks. She teaches the secrets of authentic home-style Cajun cooking. She will be assisted by Judie Smith.

Cajun Cooking (All Levels)

Learn the secrets of the Cajun kitchen, from roux to sauce piquante and étoufée, the typical home-style cooking which is an essential part of the culture of southwestern Louisiana. Ages 16 & up. Materials: Approx. $50, payable to workshop leader.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Instrument Repair I (All Levels) – Bob Smakula, assisted by Dorse Gillum – Please note, Instrument Repair in Week 2 is still open.

Bob Smakula

Bob Smakula of Montrose, WV, has been building and restoring fretted instruments for more than 40 years. He has encountered almost every type of instrument repair situation and buys, sells, and restores vintage stringed instruments through his internationally known business, Smakula Fretted Instruments. Bob, an award-winning fiddler and banjo player, is also a contributing editor for Old-Time Herald magazine and writes a regular column on instrument repair.

Instrument Repair I (All Levels)

Participants will learn how to make nuts and saddles, do fret jobs, re-set necks, make intonation adjustments, repair cracks, touch-up finishes, and more. Participants should bring their own instruments in need of repair. It is strongly recommended that participants be familiar with woodworking tools such as a band saw, belt sander, and drill press. Participants may sign up for either or both weeks. When registering, please specify Week 1 and/or Week 2. Bob will be taking the year off from teaching in 2018, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this master repairman!

Ages 18 & up. Materials: Approx. $15, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels) – Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn is a native of southeastern Ohio and has traveled extensively in the states as well as abroad. She has been making jewelry for over two decades, and weaving and tanning leather for over the last decade. She has completed multiple programs in herbalism, wildcrafting, survival skills, and midwifery. Talcon has dedicated much time to studying and practicing these skills outside of these programs and has also befriended talented teachers across the globe to expand her knowledge and keep the tradition of folk teaching alive. She has also challenged herself to obtain materials for her crafts in an ethical and sustainable sound way.

Traveling and learning from others in the folk tradition keeps the stories, history, and culture of the crafts alive. Talcon strongly believes that it is important for humans to understand where we came from, how our ancestors lived, and the stories they shared about the plants, animals, crafts, and the world around them. By teaching and practicing these old and not yet forgotten crafts, she strives to inspire others to slow down and connect with the natural world. She hopes to create waves of change and inspiration for everyone to respect themselves, each other, and the world in which we live.

Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels)

This workshop will cover two basketry techniques: folding tulip poplar bark into baskets, and weaving wicker baskets with willow branches.

Humans have folded bark into containers for centuries, and tulip poplar bark was one of the preferred materials to make such containers by Native Americans and then European settlers. Wicker basketry is a style of weaving that was developed in Europe and the knowledge and skill of this weaving was brought to the Americas by early settlers. These types of containers are still very useful today and are a beautiful reminder of timeless craftsmanship.

To make tulip bark baskets, participants will peel the bark from a tulip poplar log, make the cuts to fold the container, and prepare materials to sew the sides. Participants will leave with a gorgeous container and the knowledge with which to make one again.

Willow is the traditional material used for wicker weaving that creates a basket that is strong, utilitarian, and very beautiful. Participants will learn multiple weaves, where to obtain materials, how to prepare materials for weaving, how to grow and propagate willow for weaving, as well as how to cure it. Participants will leave with a beautiful pack basket that they made themselves plus all the skills to do it again! (Note: Participants will weave at different speeds. Slower weavers may need to dedicate more time to complete their projects by the end of the week.)

Participants are encouraged to bring a pocketknife and a pair of garden shears (handheld clippers, not long-handled ones). The workshop leader will provide some to share, but participants are welcome to bring their own.

Ages 13 & up. Materials: $95, payable to workshop leader.

Folk Arts for Kids Workshop

Exploring Cajun Culture (Grades k-5) – Megan Brown

Megan Brown

Megan Brown, originally from Tepetate, LA, grew up to the sound of Cajun music at her grandparent’s Cajun restaurant. She has been singing all her life. Megan took to Cajun music and with it the French language at the age of 18, joining first with her accordionist brother, Briggs Brown. She was a co-founder of the all female Cajun group Les Bassettes and performed with Ryan Brunet and Les Malfecteurs, The Pine Leaf Boys, The Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. She has performed at many cultural events, including Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Folk Roots Balfa Camp, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Festival International de la Louisiane, and many more nationally and internationally. She has been with T’Monde for the last five years. Megan has been working with kids of all ages for 15 years and is glad to be a second year teacher for Folk Arts for Kids during Cajun Week.

Exploring Cajun Culture (Grades k-5)

Exploring Cajun Culture – Grades K-5 – All Levels: Join Megan Brown for a week of fun educational activities about Louisiana and its special culture and history. We will focus on five topics, including Mardi Gras, food, music and instruments, holiday celebrations, and dancing. Each day we’ll learn a little history and French vocabulary relevant to each topic, followed by an art project or field trip. We will build our own masks and capuchons (hats for Mardi Gras), run Mardi Gras, dye & paque eggs, make Acadian flags, learn some dance moves, and even get a chance to cook up a Cajun dish! Parents, please have an old t-shirt for students to decorate.  Each student should also have a 2×3 poster board to make their capuchons.
Folk Arts for Kids is a program for youth who have completed  kindergarten through 5th grade. Participants explore arts and crafts through a variety of media and themes while getting a taste of the music, dance, and other activities running within the week. See the website for detailed class descriptions. To register, specify Folk Arts for Kids and select the week of your choice.

Cajun & Creole and Classic Country Week Evening Mini-Courses

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels – 4-6 p.m.) – Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier

Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier

Firefighters have a reputation for being good cooks and Johnny Navarre is no exception. He started to learn to cook from “the old folks” and has finely tuned his skills at the fire station. His impromptu cooking sessions at Augusta inevitably led to this class.

As in many South Louisiana households, Patrick learned to cook at an early age by observing his parents and grandparents at family get-togethers, which always seemed to congregate in or around the kitchen. Patrick enjoys cooking for family and friends, curing homemade bacon and sausages, and smoking a variety of meats in his smokehouse. He is looking forward to teaming up and creating some tasty dishes with Johnny Navarre during this year’s Cajun & Creole Week and Classic Country Week.

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels)

Jambalaya? Red beans and rice? These are just a sampling of what will be on the menu when Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier show their class how Cajun men cook. Anyone is welcome to participate, not just men!

Accordion Repair (All Levels) – Jesse Lege

Jesse Lége

Jesse Lége is the real deal. Growing up in a rural, pre-electricity home in Gueydan, Louisiana, Jesse spoke Cajun French and learned music from relatives, neighbors, and the family’s much-loved battery-powered radio. Today he is one of the most admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists in the world. He has won numerous CFMA (Cajun French Music Association) awards: Traditional Band of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Band of the Year, and Song of the Year. In 1998 he was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Accordion Repair

This class will fascinate anyone who plays button accordion or who wants to repair or build accordions. Jesse will focus on emergency / quick fix repairs, and some tuning fixes as well. The class will cover common maintenance and repairs, mainly for diatonic instruments, although other accordion types are also possible. Other topics may inclued how to replace buttons, bellows and gaskets; rebuild fingerboard and bass box; change springs and replace and tune reeds. Routine maintenance includes checking for leaks, readjusting flappers and cleaning and re-waxing reeds.

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style – Jim Phillips & Christy Leichty

Jim Phillips & Christy Leichty

Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips are artists and educators who love to dance to Cajun and Creole music. They loved it so much that even before they moved to Louisiana to help rebuild and work in education after the 2005 hurricanes, they bought an old Texaco distribution center, moved it to a secret location, and created the South’s premiere underground dancehall and honky-tonk called The Whirlybird. There, legendary dance parties and music events erupt spontaneously. They have thrown dance parties and showcased Lousiana dance joie de vivre at Augusta, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, Louisiana Folk Roots Dewey Balfa Camp, and Festivals Acadians et Creole.

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style

Look’n for some fun? Come to the dance party mini-course with Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips, who have come all the way from Opelousas, LA, to dance on one of their favorite dance floors – the Augusta dance pavilion. Their approach to getting you to feel comfortable with Cajun and Creole two-stepping and waltzing is to create a social context for dance fun.

Harmony Singing 101 (From Scratch) – Debbi Kauffmann & Tom Cook

Debbi Kauffmann

Debbi Kauffmann was lucky to be born into a musical family outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She began singing and playing guitar as a teen and was introduced to both Irish and country music in her early adult years. After moving to the Baltimore area, Debbi had the opportunity to sing and play with great bluegrass musicians at the Sandpiper Inn and Arcadia Bluegrass festival. Later, she began singing with old-time musicians in York County, Pennsylvania, and at many festivals in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Debbi has attended Irish, Old-Time, Vocal, and Classic Country weeks at Augusta. She has studied harmony singing with Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, and has attended several other harmony workshops. Debbi has also greatly benefited from individual vocal instruction with Dede Wyland. In 2001 she began singing professionally with mandolinist Henry Koretzky in the duo Rootbound, recording in 2004. Debbi has also had the honor of joining Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz for several performances. She has been a member of two all-female string bands and two bluegrass bands, singing lead and harmony, playing guitar and bass. Debbi has been singing lead and harmony with teaching partner Tom Cook for the past few years. Southern harmony is what drew Debbi to this music and has always been at the heart of her love for the music.

Harmony Singing 101 (All Levels)

Participants who can can carry a tune and would like to learn Southern harmony singing will enjoy this mini-course. No knowledge of music theory is needed. The instructors will demonstrate the basics and guide participants in learning, by ear, to sing both two-part and three-part harmony. The class will find the close harmonies of great early country, classic bluegrass, and gospel songs, creating the sound that touches hearts and souls.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Seconding on the Fiddle (All Levels) – Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger was born in Eunice, Louisiana. A master fiddler and extraordinarily strong singer, Courtney hails from the Balfa family lineage, which is evident in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. Courtney produced his own solo CD in the mid-’90s, which brought him praise from the Cajun music scene and several CFMA awards. In 1999, he joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle, playing alongside the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney’s endless repertoire of both Cajun and classic country tunes, as well his impeccable, thoughtful fiddling and soulful singing, has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers in the world, playing with legends Jason Frey, Dirk Powell, and Horace Trahan. Courtney has been a member of The Pine Leaf Boys since 2008. He released a solo country album in 2016, entitled Beneath Still Waters.

Seconding on the Fiddle (All Levels)

Throughout his years of teaching Cajun fiddle, Courtney Granger has learned that everyone wants to learn tunes, which is wonderful, but without the knowledge of chords and the basic rhythm and groove of the songs, all they have are notes. This mini-course will take its time to cover the basic chords on the fiddle, easy transitions between chords, and most importantly, the rhythm. All of this can be incorporated in every tune participants play, and they will be able to sit in on any jam session and back up any accordion or fiddle player. Courtney will teach participants what the backbone of Cajun music is.

Sampling Cajun French (All Levels) – Zach Fuselier

Zach Fuselier

Born in Scott, Louisiana, Zachary Fuselier was brought up surrounded by Cajun French when visiting with his great-grandparents after school and listening to Cajun music as much as he could. He attended the Lafayette Parish French Immersion Program from kindergarten through eighth grade, and continued taking French courses at Lafayette High School until graduation. Zach is currently taking French courses at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he is majoring in biology and plans to apply for a dual degree in French. Learning how to play fiddle with numerous legends in Cajun music including Mitch Reed, Milton Vanicor, Don Montoucet, D. L. Menard, and Freddie Hanks exposed Zach to the Cajun French dialect of South Louisiana and gave him countless opportunities to learn and practice it. He is a founding member of the Huval-Fuselier Cajun Band as well as Kegan Navarre and Louisiana Traditions.

Sampling Cajun French (All Levels)

Want to increase your ability to speak French? Want a better understanding of the songs that you are singing or hearing? Need help with pronunciation? This class is for those who want to expand their knowledge of the French language and the variations that are found in Cajun French. Participants should have some basic comprehension of French.

Where Do Country Songs Come From? (All Levels) -Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata is a performing songwriter and bandleader whose lyrics have been praised for their interest in the natural world. She tours solo and with her band, Little Pink, from New York to Texas, and has taught creative writing to graduate students of photojournalism at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. She currently teaches visual art and creative writing to children with learning differences at the Lab School of Washington and works as a teaching naturalist in Arlington County, VA. Her latest CD of original songs, The Heart, Regardless, was released earlier this year.

Where Do Country Songs Come From? (All Levels)

From Hank Williams to Harlan Howard, from Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash, country music’s greatest songwriters and performers gave us songs that drew on their experiences of country life and the natural world. You can, too! This course uses those songs and the spectacular beauty of the Augusta campus to help participants access their own songwriting imaginations. Each night, the class will meet in a scenic spot on the Augusta campus to learn and sing classic country songs with memorable lyrics drawn from nature. After we sing, students will have a chance to do a short but illuminating (and relaxing) writing exercise – one that they will be able to use later in their own songwriting or journaling. (For example: Close your eyes and make a list of five things – smells, sounds, tastes, sensations or words – that you remember about a favorite family road-trip as a child.) This class is a great chance to learn some new old songs, and do some fly-fishing in your songwriting mind.