Cajun & Creole Week

Cajun & Creole Week

July 29 - August 3, 2018

CAJUN

Our staff of Cajun and Creole workshop leaders keeps participants 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. Workshops meet 10-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-3:45 p.m. After lunch, everyone gathers for special presentations on Cajun and 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 runs concurrently with Classic Country Week; Arts, Crafts, & Folklore Workshops; Folk Arts for Kids; and Evening Mini-Courses. The two weeks have been paired together since Classic Country Week began in 2010, and the pairing creates wonderful opportunities for participants to interact through combined cultural sessions, special evening events, swapping tunes and songs in jam sessions, and sharing in the fun!

Tuition Guide:
$490/week if paid before June 1. $5
30/week if paid after June 1. 

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Registration will open on March 1, 2018.

2018 Week at a Glance2018 Schedule of Events / Cajun & Creole AND Classic Country Week| Cajun & Creole Week Flyer Register Here!

2018 Workshop Leaders and Classes. Click any name below to open more details. Click again to close.

Coordinator

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.

 

Accordion

Accordion (Beginning) with John Vidrine

Accordion (Beginning)

Those participants who have a desire to learn the accordion as it is played in the “Evangeline Country” of Louisiana, and that are new to the instrument should consider this Beginning Accordion workshop. The workshop will follow “play-by-ear” format, and we will map out how to use the instrument by learning some popular “Vieux Temps” French Louisiana tunes. “Come get you some!”

John Vidrine

John Vidrine is an old style melodic Cajun accordion player whose danceable playing is very soulful and genuine. John started playing as a teenager in his hometown of Mamou, Louisiana, where influences for the young player were to be found around every corner. His style is reminiscent of those accordion players he respected and sought to understand such as Nathan Abshire, Bois Sec Ardoin, Cyprien Landreneau, Roy Fuselier, Hadley Fontenot, Allie Young, and Marc Savoy, all well-known players in the region. John always had a deep affection for the fiddle sound, and his style is further influenced by the fiddlers Cheese Read, Lionel Leleux, Dewey and Will Balfa, Norris BoBoy Fontenot, Doc Guidry Eric Chapman, David Greely, and Dennis McGee, who he admires and has on occasion accompanied on accordion or guitar. John has never really played the circuit and dance clubs; he preferred to play for his own enjoyment and for his friends. Family gatherings, weddings, and small events have been the venues John performed most often, accompanied by Jane Vidrine on guitar or fiddle and son Jo on guitar or bass. John is best known for his leadership in the Mamou Mardi Gras band, having been tapped in when he was 16 years old and served for the last 13 years or so as the ‘Capitaine’ (leader) of that group of musicians who provide the music for the infamous Courire De Mardi Gras annual run in Mamou.

Accordion (Intermediate) with Chris Miller

Accordion (Intermediate)

Participants should already know how to hold the instrument and the basic scale push-pull patterns. In addition, participants 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 uniquely Cajun sounds such as octaves (and when and how to use them), grace notes, other button combinations (chords), and trills. The workshop will cover accenting the rhythm with the right hand, and how to accent the rhythmic feel with the left hand bellow pressure. Participants will learn how to begin to use the bass accompaniment buttons in proper rhythm while also playing the right hand melody.

Participants will compare old time waltz rhythm vs. a more modern feel. Participants can familiarize themselves with Chris’ layered teaching approach by searching for “Chris Miller, Love Bridge Waltz” lessons on YouTube. Chris has many other examples and lessons on YouTube as well. Those who preview the lessons will most likely get the most out of the week by laying some groundwork in advance. Chris will poll the participants to find the most useable tune and the most common tune to all current camp goers. He will 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. Participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to aid their study.

Chris Miller

Chris Miller 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 US 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 participants including Sean Vidrine and Kaleb Trahan. Chris earned 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 (Advanced) with Walter Mouton, Blake Miller, & Jimmy Breaux

Accordion (Advanced)

Accordion (Advanced): Walter Mouton will team up with Blake Miller to teach advanced accordion each morning, and Jimmy Breaux will teach in the afternoons. Focusing on timing, chord changes, and other basics, the workshop leaders will also accommodate individual needs and will welcome participants’ suggestions for which songs they would like to learn. This is a great opportunity to learn from three great Cajun musicians.

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.”

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 Revelers who were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016.

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.

 

Bass

Bass (All Levels) with Jo Vidrine

Bass (All Levels)

Bass is by far the coolest instrument anyone could possibly choose to play. A solid bass line can be the fine line between a band that grooves and one that doesn’t. In this “Bassically Bass” workshop, we will cover Cajun and Zydeco bass styles that have developed over the years. We will listen to “hero” backline ensembles that have had their clear mark on the music. This workshop will be accessible to all skill levels and instrument types, including upright and electric bass, and rhythm guitar players who would like to explore bass runs on their instrument. This workshop will help you further your jam-ability.

Jo Vidrine

Having grown up in Southwest Louisiana, Jo Vidrine has been immersed in Cajun music and traditions since birth. From this early exposure and hard work, Jo has assumed the role of “Freelance Cajun,” a title which encompasses photography, food, music, and cultural experiences. He is passionate about both Lafayette and Cajun culture, and seeks to share them with other communities. Photography, food, and music lend themselves easily to this line of work, enabling him to live and document contemporary Cajun lifestyles. Through his travels, art, and work he intends to nurture and explore the world and share a little taste of his home with those who wish to come along for the ride.

 

Fiddle

Fiddle (From Scratch) with Michelle Kaminsky

Fiddle (From Scratch)

This is a workshop 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, how to get a good sound, where to put your fingers, and how to tune. 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. Ages 16 & up.

Michelle Kaminsky

Michelle Kaminsky has been an Augusta regular since 1980, first as a participant and then as a workshop leader, 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 (Beginning) with Jason Frey

Fiddle (Beginning)

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 fiddle, the rhythm, and the tunes.

Jason Frey, Beginning Cajun Fiddle class

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.

Fiddle (Intermediate) with D’Jalma Garnier

Fiddle (Intermediate) 

Objectives — Become familiar with the ‘French’ (LA Creole & Cajun) tunes at intermediate fiddle level through the repertoire of Louisiana ‘French’ fiddle. Many tunes will be Creole — my style  but will advance technique, ear, phrasing, and most Importantly, feel.

The repertoire will emphasize the original recordings of master LA French fiddlers e.g. Dewey Balfa, Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, and Bébé and Calvin Carrière. (Some tunes will be outside of our specific genre to help develop bow technique.)

Also, some basic Louisiana Afro-Creole history and its ethnomusicology will be explored: this helps expand the differences of Cajun and Creole fiddle; Cajun and ‘Zydeco’ music and feel. Something innately understood on the bandstand of most LA ‘French’ musicians.

Albums & Amazon links (individual track downloads available) to be familiar with are below.  Click on the name to access the link.

Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Music

La Musique Créole Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot

Musique Creole Carriere Brothers

Complete Early Recordings Dennis McGee

La-la: Louisiana Black French Music, Zodico: Louisiana Creole Music Calvin Carrière

Last but not least, in the spirit of Southwest Louisiana music, have fun. If you’re having any problems that distract you from this, I will be open to assisting you individually. (Get serious when it’s a big gig though!)

D’Jalma Garnier

A long-time contributor to Creole music, fiddle and guitar player D’Jalma Garnier III is the grandson of New Orleans Jazz bandleader ‘Papa’ Garnier. As one of Louisiana’s finest ambassadors of Creole-style fiddle playing, he has been a leader in preserving the history and culture of that music. His recording and production credits are considered classics in the tradition of Creole and old-time Zydeco music. He has been a Creole fiddle instructor at Louisiana Folk Roots, Augusta Heritage Center, Fiddlesticks, and workshops internationally. He is producer of Public Radio KRVS’ Passport to Modern Jazz, author of Louisiana Creole Fiddle Method published by Mel Bay Publishing in 2010, and currently guitarist with Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys. He performed as the bassist with three-time Grammy nominee Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole from winter 2009 to fall 2012. He was a fiddler and doubled on guitar with the band Filé for ten years, from 1993 to 2003. He was awarded a Texas Folklife Resources grant in1993 for the study of Creole fiddle with NEA National Heritage Award winner Canray Fontenot.

Garnier holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Music and Music Media and was a jazz guitarist in Austin, TX, from 1978 to 1985. He studied composition and arranging with Lyle ‘Spud’ Murphy for three years after a year at UCLA in 1970.

Selected Recordings, Projects and Ensembles:

  • Current member “The Creole Cowboys” with Jeffery Broussard. (Founding member.)
  • Member 2010 – 2012 four-time Gammy nominee Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole (Le Soleil Lévé 2011)
  • “D’Jalma Garnier’s French Band”; “Filè”; “The Lucky Playboys” with Ward Lormand.
  • Terence Simien: “The Tribute Sessions”; Chubby Carrier: “Ain’t No Party Like A Chubby Party” (Blue Runner); “Poullard, Poullard, and Garnier”; Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys: “Gumbo at Goldman’s”; Goldman Thibodeaux and Calvin Carrière: “Les Misère Dans Le Coeur” (final mix consultant); Morris Ardoin: “Le Tracas de Morris”; Joe Hall; Dexter Ardoin; Canray Fontenot.
  • Cultural Worker/musician at Vermilionville for twelve years giving Louisiana Afro-Creole History, the history of ‘Zydeco’s Black Creoles
  • Movies/TV: NY Times Critics Award for musical score for documentary “Nutria.”

Fiddle (Advanced) with Jeffery Broussard and Joel Savoy

Fiddle (Advanced)

Advanced fiddle participants will have the opportunity to learn from two great fiddlers, Jeffery Broussard and Joel Savoy. Each morning, Jeffery will teach the fundamentals of Creole fiddling, helping to expand participants’ advanced skills on the fiddle. Participants will learn a song of their choice by the end of the week. Each afternoon, Joel will cover repertoire from the Cajun Prairie. This workshop will appeal to advanced players who would like to increase their repertoire with Cajun fiddle tunes from the Eunice/Mamou area. Each day we’ll cover styles and tunes from a different master – Dennis McGee, Wade Fruge, Wallace “Cheese” Read, and more. We’ll move quickly, but Joel will always offer some insight into the keys and positions we’re using.

Jeffery Broussard 

Jeffery Broussard was a leading member of Zydeco Force, an influential band at the forefront of the nouveau zydeco movement. His accordion and vocals defined this new style of Creole music, incorporating the soulful sounds of R&B into contemporary zydeco music and dance. The son of esteemed accordionist Delton Broussard, young Jeffery began his musical journey on the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys. The Lawtell Playboys were themselves innovators, adding some R&B and a funkiness to this traditional roots music. During this time, Jeffery was exposed to some of the great Creole fiddle players, including the king of the zydeco fiddle, Calvin Carrière. He has retained those precious melodies and songs he heard at home, at social gatherings, and on the bandstand. With the creation of the Creole Cowboys, and as one of Louisiana’s newest Creole fiddle players, he captures the essence of this rich musical heritage.

Joel Savoy

Joel Savoy is a GRAMMY-winning engineer and record producer as well as a ten-time GRAMMY nominee. He is a two-time winner of the CFMA’s “Fiddler of the Year” award and he’s played with just about every Cajun band in south Louisiana. Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, Joel is a versatile fiddler and guitarist. He has played and taught music around the world for the last 20 years.

 

Guitar

Guitar (All Levels) with Jane Vidrine

Guitar (All Levels)

In Cajun music, the guitar player is generally the person who keeps the driving background beat. During this workshop, several Cajun guitar styles will be explored and maybe even mastered. We will cover how to accompany Cajun two-steps, waltzes, and one-steps with open chords, connecting runs, and choke chords. We’ll focus a lot on aspects of rhythm that define Cajun music, as well as the various song forms, keys, and chord progressions that are common to Cajun music. We might even have some guest visits and/or play a lead or a fingerpicked piece if there is time and interest. Come ready to play a lot, sing a lot, meet other musicians, and have a good time learning Cajun music.

Jane Vidrine

Jane Vidrine is a musician and music educator from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is a founding member of the GRAMMY-nominated Magnolia Sisters Cajun Band. She also plays in the family Cajun band with her husband, John Vidrine, and son, Jo. Jane also stays musically in touch with her Missouri old-time music roots playing square dances and early country concerts around home. Jane says, “Teaching adults who are interested in delving deep into the traditional music I love is a true privilege that brings me so much joy.” She has taught guitar, fiddle, and vocals several times for Cajun & Creole Week at the Augusta Heritage Center. This year, she will teach Cajun guitar styles. She is also a teacher in her everyday life; she created an award-winning classroom guitar program for the Arts Academy in Lafayette and has been teaching about 100 students a day for over a decade.

 

Vocals

Cajun Vocals (All Levels) with Randy Vidrine

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 workshop 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 workshop 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 participants to run through more quickly to give them a head start on making these songs part of their repertoire as well. Randy will accompany the participants 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!

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 on guitar and vocals with Mitch Reed on fiddle. 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 Ashoken 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.

 

Folkways

Cajun Cooking (All Levels) with Jackie Miller, 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. Judie Smith will assist.

Jackie Miller with Judie Smith, Assistant

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.

Judie Smith, Assistant

Judie Smith has been assisting with the Cajun Cooking workshop at Augusta for many years. A resident of Elkins and a faculty member of Davis & Elkins College, Judie fell in love with Cajun cooking at Augusta. She has made numerous visits to Louisiana and has connected with Cajun culture through Augusta and her friends there.

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels) Mini Course with Johnny Navarre

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Johnny Navarre

Bio coming soon!

 

Cajun Week Mini Courses. Click here to see all  mini courses offered this week!

Accordion from Scratch / Evening Mini-Course with Drew Simon

Accordion from Scratch / Evening Mini-Course

Hello, I’m Drew. Welcome to my “Accordion from Scratch” mini-course. In this workshop, we will go over the basic fundamentals and techniques to play the Cajun accordion. We will cover what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do, when starting to play. We will discuss the basics, including the proper way to hold the accordion, the C major scale, chords, octaves (doubles), and by the end of the week, hopefully, play one Cajun waltz and one Cajun two-step. Please only bring diatonic Cajun accordions in the key of C. Thanks!

Drew Simon

Drew Simon was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, and developed an interest in Cajun music in his late teens. At 20, he began playing the accordion and started learning the words to many of the songs in his huge Cajun music repertoire. For more than 15 years, Drew has been regarded as one of the best of the “new generation” of dance hall musicians being heavily influenced by legends Belton Richard, Aldus Roger, Phillip Alleman, Walter Mouton, Jesse Lege’, and Lawrence Walker. With bands The Pine Leaf Boys (4x GRAMMY-nominated) and T’Monde, he has brought Cajun music and Cajun culture to 24 countries and 47 states.

Accordion Repair (All Levels) / Evening Mini-Course with Jesse Lége

Accordion Repair (All Levels) / Evening Mini-Course

This mini-course 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.

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.

Balfa Style Fiddle (Intermediate / Advanced) Mini Course with Kevin Wimmer

This mini-course will focus on the fiddle style of the Balfa Brothers. Bearing elements of both the ornamental traditional style of fiddlers like Dennis McGee and the powerful, lilting sound that has driven the Cajun dancehall musical style since the 1960s, Balfa-style fiddling is rhythmic, bluesy, and above all, soulful. Playing with our fiddles tuned down a full step, we will cover various stylistic techniques like rhythmic seconding, bowing patterns, slides, double stops, unisons, and rolls, with a focus on both good fundamental technique and stylistic mastery.

Kevin Wimmer

Growing up with Juilliard-educated professional classical musician parents, it wasn’t a surprise that Kevin Wimmer grew up to be a musician, but the route he took was certainly unexpected. After finding himself in the math class of old-time music connoisseur Ray Alden at New York’s Stuyvesant High, Kevin was hipped to Tommy Jarrell, as well as up-and-coming old-time revival bands like the Highwoods Stringband. The bluegrass bug caught him in college (where he also played in the Gamelan orchestra and studied Ghanaian drumming), but it wasn’t until he first heard Dewey Balfa perform at the Escoheag Cajun and Bluegrass Festival that he caught a glimpse of his musical home. After heading to Davis and Elkins and taking Dewey’s first Cajun Fiddle class at Augusta, he knew he’d found his true calling, and eventually, Kevin made his way to Louisiana to live in Dewey’s outdoor kitchen shed and study his fiddle playing up close. Kevin broadened his understanding of the genre’s deep roots by studying with a variety of Creole and Cajun fiddle legends like Canray Fontenot, Dennis McGee, and Carlton Frank. He went on to found traditional Cajun music band Balfa Toujours with Dewey’s daughters, Christine and Nelda, and Dirk Powell. Over the years, he also played and recorded with Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band, the Red Stick Ramblers, Bois-Sec Ardoin, and Racines, with whom he received a Grammy nomination. Headquartered in Lafayette, Kevin is currently the fiddler for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and plays regularly with Preston Frank. He is also an active teacher, working both with private students and as an instructor in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s traditional music program. He’s also a frequent face as a staff instructor at music camps around the country, including Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, GrassRoots Culture Camp, the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week, and Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He’s taught at Augusta many times before, but this will be his first trip in over a decade and he couldn’t be more excited to come back to the place where he first studied Cajun fiddle in depth.

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels) Mini Course with Johnny Navarre

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Johnny Navarre

Bio coming soon!

Creole Accordion (Intermediate / Advanced) / Evening Mini-Course with Jeffery Broussard

Creole Accordion (Intermediate / Advanced) / Evening Mini-Course

Jeffery Broussard will teach the fundamentals of Creole accordion in this mini-course. This workshop is best suited for participants with some experience on the accordion who want to explore that authentic Creole sound. Jeffery will take an in-depth approach to teaching songs, and participants will learn a song of their choice by the end of week.

Jeffery Broussard

Broussard was a leading member of Zydeco Force, an influential band at the forefront of the nouveau zydeco movement. His accordion and vocals defined this new style of Creole music, incorporating the soulful sounds of R&B into contemporary zydeco music and dance. The son of esteemed accordionist Delton Broussard, young Jeffery began his musical journey on the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys. The Lawtell Playboys were themselves innovators, adding some R&B and a funkiness to this traditional roots music. During this time, Jeffery was exposed to some of the great Creole fiddle players, including the king of the zydeco fiddle, Calvin Carrière. He has retained those precious melodies and songs he heard at home, at social gatherings, and on the bandstand. With the creation of the Creole Cowboys, and as one of Louisiana’s newest Creole fiddle players, he captures the essence of this rich musical heritage.

Seconding on Fiddle (All Levels) Mini Course with Blake Miller

Seconding on Fiddle (All Levels) Mini Course

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. Blake will teach participants what the backbone of Cajun music is.

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 Revelers who were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016.

Theory for Fiddlers (All Levels) / Evening Mini-Course with Joel Savoy

Theory for Fiddlers (All Levels) / Evening Mini-Course

The words “music theory” often send fiddlers running. In this mini-course every afternoon we’ll talk about demystifying chords, “double-stops,” melody and harmony, “learning by ear,” and possibly even more advanced things like substitutions, passing chords, and improvisation. The goal is to get you playing with intent. We’ll start with the basics about how the violin strings work together and what we can learn from their relationship, then we’ll use what we have learned to build common chords and understand those that we already know before moving on to more complex chords and ideas like harmony. Every afternoon we’ll have a special guest join us to give us new perspectives on the instrument, style, and improvisation.

Joel Savoy

Joel Savoy is a GRAMMY-winning engineer and record producer as well as a ten-time GRAMMY nominee. He is a two-time winner of the CFMA’s “Fiddler of the Year” award and he’s played with just about every Cajun band in south Louisiana. Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, Joel is a versatile fiddler and guitarist. He has played and taught music around the world for the last 20 years.

 

Musicians 

Charlie Terr, Musician

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.

 

Liaisons

Nancy Weston, Liaison

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 CFMA (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, Assistant Liaison

Betsy Fuller

Betsy Terr Fuller has been playing Cajun music for 20 years, since her first Augusta experience in 1998. Betsy has performed with some of the masters of Louisiana music including Jesse Legé, Ray Abshire, Willis Prudhomme, Dexter Ardoin, and Paul Daigle. She currently plays guitar and sings with C’est Bon, an all-female group from the Northeast (who met, became friends, and started the band at Augusta). Betsy and her brothers also play together as the Terr Family Band.

 

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