Posts Tagged ‘Cajun music’

Mardi Gras! live music in the Detroit area, March 8

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Mardi Gras is upon us! March 8 in 2011. If you’re looking for some LIVE Cajun/zydeco/New Orleans/swamp pop music in Michigan, you’re in luck!

Maison Bleue plays for a Mardi Gras party in Dearborn at the Dearborn Hills Golf Course banquet hall at 1300 S. Telegraph Rd. The party is from 3:30 to 9:00 pm, Maison Bleue plays from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. There is also a student band playing from 3:30 to 4:45 pm. This party is a fundraiser for the Dearborn Education Foundation. Tix are $25 at the door. Info at 313-827-8790. Also included with your admission ticket is a very tasty Cajun buffet. It’s all I can do to get the band back playing instead of going back for more chow!

If you’re on the east side of Detroit (or even if you aren’t), you may want to check out Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats as they play at the Cadieux Cafe at 4300 Cadieux Road in Detroit. That party starts at 8:00 pm or thereabouts. No cover charge, and no reservations needed, although the Cafe does say that if you have a party of 8 or more folks, please do call and make a reservation. Call 313-882-8560 for reservations or more info. Presumably, one could make it to both the Dearborn and Detroit Mardi Gras gigs if one were so inclined! If you do make it to the Cadieux Cafe, remind them that it’s spelled “Zydeco Hepcats” instead of “Zydaco Hepcats” as they have on their online schedule!

Also, although it’s not near Detroit but up in Elk Rapids (north of Traverse City) in Michigan’s lower peninsula, one could catch the Saucecats at a Mardi Gras party at Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen. It’s at 617 Ames St. in Elk Rapids. No cover charge, no reservations needed. Call 231-264-0530 for more info.

Alan previously posted info about the MG party with Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas and Creolization at The B.O.B. in Grand Rapids, so scroll down for that info.

Posted by Garry

It’s almost Mardi Gras time!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, March 8, this year, but you can get a head start on Mardi Gras this weekend. Friday, March 4, sees Creole du Nord take to the stage at the Dream Nite Club in Ann Arbor for an MG party. $10 admission (ladies $5 until 10:00 pm), live music by CdN begins at 10:00 pm. The Dream Nite Club is at 314 S. Fourth Ave. in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. Call 734-222-4522 for more info.

Then on Saturday, March 5, Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats play a Mardi Gras party at the Bayou Grill in Belleville, MI. Party time is 8:00 pm. You want to attend this event with an empty stomach so you can fill up on some Cajun food there! The Bayou Grill is at 404 E. Main St. in downtown Belleville. More info at 734-697-2300. For a landmark, look for the huge alligator on the roof of the Bayou Grill.

And if that’s not enough CZ music for you in one weekend, you can catch Creole du Nord again on Sunday, March 6, as they play their regular  6-8 pm Sunday gig at the Passport Restaurant & Lounge at 3776 S. State St. in Ann Arbor. Info: 734-222-1111.

Cracklin at the Black Sheep Tavern in Manchester, January 15

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Hey folks, head on over to the Black Sheep Tavern in Manchester, Michigan, this Saturday, January 15 when local Cajun band Cracklin plays live for the tavern’s “Louisiana Dinner Night.” The event is from 6:30 to 10:00 pm. There is no cover charge (yay!) and no dance floor (boo!), although there will be Cajun food and music (both yay!)

The Black Sheep Tavern is at 115 E. Main St. in Manchester. Find it on an online map.

Actually, no dance floor is not too bad for me at this time as I have a surgically-repaired foot that is still not ready for dancing. That’s also why I haven’t been too inspired to post on this blog for more than a month!

And this is from the Cracklin web page:

Cracklin Cajun Band Just talked to the chef the Black Sheep. The menu for the Louisiana Dinner this Saturday night is: Gumbo with gulf shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken; red beans and rice, southern catfish, cajun grouper, blackened chicken, frog legs, bread pudding and pecan pie (along with their regular menu) Passe moi donc le riz et gombo!

Bon appetit!

Midway Ramblers last “First Friday” dance on November 5

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Y’all have heard of “the announcer’s jinx”? You know, when a sports announcer on radio or TV says something along the lines of “this kicker has been perfect on extra points this season” then immediately afterwards the kicker will shank an extra point so he’s not perfect any more? I feel like I recently made a “blogger’s jinx” when I blogged about the First Friday dances in Chicago with the Midway Ramblers. The Ramblers have a dance this Friday, November 5, then a dance on Sunday, December 5 (with Morris Ardoin), and then will not have any more regular dances (at least for a while).

I received this email from Denise Thompson of the Midway Ramblers:

Hello everyone

I’ve been thinking for awhile about ending the dances and have decided that the December dance (with the Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet and Dennis Stroughmatt) will be the last regular dance for us, at least for awhile. We might schedule one dance in the spring and we’ll certainly manage any guest bands that come our way. There is no one reason for wanting a break, just a feeling that this is the right time to move on. We’ve been at it for ten years and will have left the dance scene in much better shape than when we started when there was no cohesive dance scene at all

I know that many of you started your “careers” in Cajun with our dances and that some of you go at least as far back in decades as we do with our love of Cajun dance music. I thank you all for attending our dances over the last ten years.  We certainly grew as a band and many of you made new friends.

The early part of the year will be taken up with a long Mardi Gras season and perhaps we’ll play a dance in April.  After that, the summer season begins so there will be plenty of Cajun goings on in Chicago

We hope to see you on November 5th for the regular dance and on December 5th for the wonderful Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet.

A bientot….


Quel dommage! But I understand how hard it is to manage a regular monthly dance, and I can also understand why the Ramblers might feel they need to take a break from those dances for a while.

So, if you can possibly make it to the November 5 or December 5 dances, do so!

As a reminder, the November 5th dance is at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox (at Wilson), Chicago, IL. The dance is in the Shanachie Room and starts at 8:00 pm, some dance instruction is given around 8:45 pm. Admission is $8. Info: 630-833-3515.

Cajun Dance with Back Bayou–October 16

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

If you like to Cajun dance, you should head on up to the Wheatland Music Organization’s Gladys Wernette building on Saturday, October 16, for a Cajun dance with Back Bayou. The dance starts at 7:30 pm (no potluck before the dance this time), $5 admission (younger than 18 are admitted free). All ages and beginners welcome, they’ll give some dance lessons at the beginning of the dance. No partner needed, either.

Back Bayou Cajun Band

Back Bayou Cajun Band

The Wheatland Music Organization is located at 7251 50th Avenue. To get there, first get to Mt. Pleasant, MI. Then go west on highway M-20 for about 20 miles. Once you get to the middle of Remus (also the intersection with highway M-66) keep going west about another two miles. Turn left (south) on 50th Avenue (St. Michael’s Church is on the corner). After you cross Pierce Road, look for the Wheatland entrance on your right (west side of the road). Once inside the Wheatland grounds, the Gladys Wernette building is on your left. For more info, call 989-967-8879.

Cajun jam at Alber Orchard–Report

Monday, October 11th, 2010

A number of folks passed a good time playing some Cajun music at Alber Orchard & Cider Mill this past Sunday, October 10.

Alber Orchard sign

(photo by Patricia F Anderson)

Amazingly, the weather was near 80 degrees F, making us all feel we were playing down in Louisiana at this time of the year! When we were through playing, I made sure to stock up on some apple cider to take home. The orchard folks were kind enough to bring out some free cider for us musician types while we were playing, although it did attract a fair number of yellowjackets who were competing for our cider.

Musicians at the Cajun jam session at Alber Orchard

Some of the musicians at the Cajun jam at Alber Orchard (photo by Patricia F Anderson)

Patricia took a number of photos at the Cider Mill on Sunday. Check them all out at her flickr account.

There are two more scheduled Cajun jam sessions at Alber’s in 2010, on October 24 and 31. Come on out and play along, or just come to listen. And don’t forget to go home with some cider, apples, and donuts.

Cajun jam at Alber’s Orchard

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Mark Palms of Creole du Nord likes to have a lot of Cajun jam sessions, and in the autumn he likes to have some of them at the Alber Orchard & Cider Mill out near Manchester, MI. The next jam is Sunday, September 26, noon to 3:00 pm. Unfortunately, Mark won’t be able to make it (nor will I), but y’all could have fun playing along (or even just listening). While you’re at it, Alber’s has some real fine cider, apples, and even donuts!

Alber’s is at 13011 Bethel Church Road, Manchester, MI. You can find them on Mapquest or any other online mapping service.

There are more Cajun jam sessions at Alber’s on October 3, 10, 24, & 31.

How I came to play Cajun/zydeco music, Part I

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I am of Polish ancestry. My maternal grandfather played Polish folk music on the violin, clarinet, and harmonica around his house, so I grew up hearing live music. Also, there were lots of Polish-style weddings to attend what with all of the relatives and friends of the family getting married, and there were always live polka bands at these weddings.

I started attending rock/blues concerts in my late teens, and two of my favorite bands were Savoy Brown and the J. Geils Band. I was talking with a co-worker, Sally, one day when I was 20, telling her how much fun it appeared to be to play music on stage as those bands, especially the Geils band. Then I told her how I wish I could play music. Well, I guess I said that to her too many times because she told me to “either get an instrument and learn to play, or else shut up about it!” I thought, “get an instrument and learn to play, that’s the ticket!” So I went and bought a Hohner Super Chromonica in the key of C, and Sally started teaching me to play harmonica during lunch at work.

I also went to a local Detroit music store, Taber Music (they’re no longer in business), and bought a spinet organ and started taking organ lessons. After a few years I took some piano lessons from a guy named Bruce at Anderson Music in Dearborn. Eventually I formed a local band with some friends (R.U. Ready?), and we played some hall parties and such. A couple of years later I played in another local rock-only band, Sailstone, but quit the music business in 1978.

I got married in 1980 and then divorced in 1992, and didn’t really play much music during all that time; just played a little piano at home. After the divorce, I really started playing music for myself as therapy, mostly harmonica, and some piano. I started jamming with contra dance musicians in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area, as well as dancing at a lot of local contra dances.

I met a gal at a contra dance in 1993, and we went to the Wheatland Music Organization‘s Traditional Arts Weekend over the Memorial Day weekend. There were nightly dances on Friday through Sunday that weekend, as well as various music and dance workshops all during the day on both Saturday and Sunday. A couple of the dance workshops were about Cajun dancing. Neither of us knew anything about Cajun dancing or what the music sounded like, but we were game to try new things, so we attended those Cajun dance workshops.

Perhaps it was the Cajun accordion playing of Gary Powell of the Bone Tones band that grabbed me, but I was immediately hooked. My partner and I learned to dance Cajun two-step, jitterbug, and waltz, and danced the night away on that Sunday to the Bone Tones.

The Bone Tones had two cassette tapes for sale, Cajun Dance Tonight (out of print) & Queue de Tortue, which I bought. One of the members of the Bone Tones, Matt Haney, also had two tapes for sale with him playing with Tracy Schwarz (Louisiana and You & The Tracy Schwarz Cajun Trio, both apparently out of print) which I also bought. So now I owned four tapes of Cajun music which I promptly started playing along with on the harmonica. I then went and bought a John & Geno Delafose zydeco tape, Pere et Garçon Zydeco,  just to get some zydeco for something a little different.

As the 1990s kept rolling along, I kept contra dancing and playing contra dance music on harmonica, as well as occasionally dancing to Cajun or zydeco bands at Wheatland or the Frog Island festival. I also bought a few more Cajun and zydeco recordings. I also bought as many Cajun sheet music books as I could find, including Ann Savoy’s Cajun Music – A Reflection of a People. Ann just so happens to be married to Marc Savoy. Marc builds Cajun diatonic accordions at their Savoy Music Center in Eunice, LA. Ann and Marc also play in the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band along with Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil).

It so happens that the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band would sometimes come to Ann Arbor to play at The Ark (mostly a folk-music club). In the summer of 1999, I approached Marc Savoy at one of their concerts at The Ark, and inquired about getting a Cajun accordion from him. When I found they cost more than $1,000, I had to think about it, and didn’t order one. Well, I thought about it more and more over the next year, and then when Marc came back to play The Ark in 2000 I ordered an accordion from him. It cost $1350, and although Marc said it would take six weeks to get it from him, it arrived in the mail after only four weeks. In fact, it arrived on August 30, the day I used to celebrate as my wedding anniversary but now celebrate as my accordion’s anniversary!

— to be continued —