Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music by Blair Kilpatrick

By Blair Kilpatrick

Via age thirty-nine, Blair Kilpatrick had settled into lifestyles as a training psychologist, spouse, and mom. Then an opportunity come across in New Orleans became her international the other way up. She lower back domestic to Chicago with not likely new passions for Cajun tune and its defining device, the accordion. Captivated by way of routine goals of enjoying the Cajun accordion, she got down to grasp it. but she was once no longer a musician, used to be too self-conscious to bounce, and did not even sing within the bathe. Kilpatrick's obsession took her from Chicago's Cajun dance scene to a folks song camp in West Virginia, from side to side to south Louisiana, or even to a Cajun pageant in France. An unforeseen family members circulation introduced her to the San Francisco Bay zone, domestic to the biggest Cajun-zydeco track scene open air the Gulf Coast. There she turned a prot?g? of popular accordionist Danny Poullard, a Louisiana-born Creole and the guiding spirit of the neighborhood Louisiana French song group. enticing, uplifting, and illuminating a distinct patch of the yankee cultural panorama, Accordion goals is Kilpatrick's account of the potential of ardour, risk-taking, and change--at any age. Blair Kilpatrick has an self sufficient perform in psychotherapy within the San Francisco Bay region. She additionally plays and documents with Sauce Piquante, a conventional Cajun-Creole band she based within the past due Nineties. research extra at

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Example text

I moved the bellows hesitantly, testing the musical waters, without even lifting the accordion completely off the counter. I tried to pick out what I hoped were the first few notes of “J’ai Passé Devant Ta Porte”—a sad, graceful waltz, the first one I had tried to learn. Da—Da—Dum, Da—Dum, Da—Dum. “Did you recognize that? ” Marc looked puzzled—not that I blamed him. Not even I could recognize the few notes that had just issued from the accordion, in more of a stumble than a dance. Learning the accordion was slow going for me, I confessed, even though I practiced every day and studied the one instruction book I’d managed to find.

Randol’s and Prejean’s were right in Lafayette, while Mulate’s, the oldest and best known, was in Breaux Bridge, six miles to the east. They all followed the same formula: decent renditions of Cajun food at reasonable prices, tables surrounding a central dance floor, Cajun bands playing every day, t-shirts and other memorabilia for sale. Busloads of tourists came—but so did locals, especially families, who preferred to avoid the dance hall scene. The set-up was ideal—the grown-ups could set aside their gumbo or jambalaya and slip out for a quick turn around the dance floor, while the kids kept busy with their food.

The French words, translated literally, painted a starker picture: “ou mourir au bout de mon sang”—or die at the end of my blood. He finds his lover—with someone else. It broke my heart—I’d rather die than see that. If I had five days left to live, I’d give up three of them to spend the rest with you. I want to die in your arms. Those French words might sound melodious, but they couldn’t disguise the meaning behind the story: love and obsession, a volatile combination. Now the music began to paint pictures in my head: hard lives, lost loves, lonesome dangerous highways, times gone by.

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