Thursday, November 10, 2011
Twin Fiddles, Cajun Style, At The Buttonwood Tree, November 17
This visit is next best.
David Greely, a gifted fiddler, has been a friend for a few decades. He was, for years, the longtime fiddler, vocalist and songwriter for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. He traveled the world with the band as an ambassador of Acadian (Cajun) French music. David retired from the band early this year after doctors diagnosed tinnitus and warned him that playing amplified music might cause irreversible hearing loss. Since then, he's been playing solo acoustic fiddle and twin fiddle with musical partner Joel Savoy. Greely has also spent many more hours researching the roots of Cajun music, and he brings this musical knowledge, and amazing archival tunes, to his performances.
I've known Joel Savoy since he was a boy, and first learning fiddle. He is the son of Mark and Ann Savoy, who have been the foundation of Cajun and Creole music revival in Southwest Louisiana. As a boy, Joel was exposed to legendary Cajun and Creole musicians like Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa and Canray Fontenot, who were regular visitors to the Savoy home, and to Mark Savoy's Music Center in Eunice. Joel begin to discover his own roots as a teenager, and founded the Red Stick Ramblers, a Cajun and gypsy swing band, while a student at LSU in Baton Rouge (which, translated, is "red stick"). He traveled the country with the Ramblers (including a few visits to Middletown), and has since retired to pursue a livelihood building traditional instruments with his father, and running his own record label, Valcour Records. He also plays regularly with the Savoy Family Band. Joel was one of the founders of the increasingly popular Blackpot Festival in Lafayette, and organizes the traditional Faquetigue Cajun Mardi Gras Courir (run), at his home in Eunice, which was featured on the HBO series Tremé this season.
Cajun twin fiddling is a tradition that pre-dates the full-blown Cajun dance bands that sprung up in the early 20th century. It is a delicate and lively form with melody, harmony and drone interplaying in a sprightly weave. Twin fiddling allows ancient folk forms like contradanses, polkas, reels and jigs which have fallen out of favor with the dance bands.
This is the real thing. Tickets will go fast for this Thursday night event, so call the Buttonwood Tree (860-347-4957), or purchase a ticket online.