|The Jambalaya Cajun Band, a group
that has been on the scene now for more than two decades, has a very polished sound that
is product of their long association together, but their performances continue to remain
fresh, energized by their obvious enjoyment playing Cajun music together. Fiddler Terry
Huval, whose day job is Director of the Lafayette Utilities System, was born in 1956 in
Port Arthur, Texas, but his family comes from St. Martin Parish. Fluent in Cajun French,
he is a strong advocate of preserving the French language in Louisiana. Terry Huval and
his brother, Tony, who plays drums, started the band in 1977 with other musicians from the
Breaux Bridge area. Their first recording was Buggy Full of Cajun Music, released
Both Terry Huval and Reggie Matte, the band's accordionist who comes from Pointe Noire, are excellent vocalists. Huval and Matte have both been named to the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame. Other band members include Bobby Dumatrait on guitar, Rick Benoit on bass, and Ken David on bass and fiddle.
On some albums, like Laisse les Jeunes Jouer! (1994), the band includes many original songs. Their 1999 release, Lessons Learned, includes new versions of songs that have become part of the Cajun tradition. In the liner notes, Terry Huval explains, "We're reflective of our past, and we're grateful for all the lessons that we've learned from the Cajun musicians who came before us. We appreciate their songs, their styles, their musical personalities, and in many cases, their friendship. We honor everything we learned from them, and at the same time we think that they would be the first to encourage us to evolve and take on new ideas and influences."
Other recent albums include Le Nouvel Esprit de la Musique Cadien (1988), Instrumental Collection (1991), C'Est Fun! (1990), and Joyeux NoŽl (1992), an album of traditional Christmas music in French arranged for a Cajun band, along with a couple of original numbers.
For booking information, contact TerryHuval@aol.com or phone 337 269 1921.
Terry Huval is shown in the top photograph during a Jambalaya performance at Festivals Acadiens in 1999. Reggie Matte's photograph was taken on stage in Eunice. In the next shots taken during a Christmas performance at the Liberty Theater, Reggie is wearing a Santa's cap and Terry has on Christmas tree suspenders. Ken David is the other fiddler. The next photograph is of Thomas Matte, Reggie Matte's grandfather, who was 91 in 1999 when for the first time in his life he made a recording by playing part of "The Accordion Lesson" on Jambalaya's CD Lessons Learned. The photo was taken during a jam session in Church Point. The bottom photograph, taken in during Eunice's 1999 Fall Fest, includes Rick Benoit, Ken David, Terry Huval, Reggie Matte, and Bobby Dumatrait.
All photographs and text by David Simpson.