Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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Kira Viator

and Bayou Beat

Congratulations to Kira Viator, R.N., who received the Cajun French Music Association's Le Cajun Awards as Accordionist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year and whose album Sticking to My Roots was named Best CD of the Year. The awards were announced August 15, 2008. Earlier that week, Kira, who is a May 2008 LSUE graduate with an associate degree in nursing, passed her nursing registry exam.

High resolution photos of Kira Viator and Bayou Beat are posted on Flickr.
At right: a few more thumbnails from
the Liberty Theater July 15, 2006.
In addition to other musicians
isted below, Jamey Bearb is shown on fiddle.
   


Click on the thumbnail to view full resolution
version. Kira's smile in the second photo is
her response to the way the crowd of dancers
at the Liberty managed to keep up with the
band's unexpected shift from the traditional
waltz tempo of  "Grand Mamou" into a
quick two-step (also featured on the CD).

Click here to go to LSUE's page on Kira Viator's first two CD's with the band Liquid Lace.

Click here to go to Kira Viator's Official Web Site.

Kira Viator's third CD introduces a new name for her band, Bayou Beat, but the CD title describes her determination that she will continue Stickin' to My Roots.  In notes to an earlier CD, she explained, "I am one in a long line of musicians dedicated to keeping alive the traditional style of Cajun music."  In the title song to her new CD, she acknowledges that she sometimes listens to rap, but finally agrees with her mother's belief that it's best to "stick to ya roots."  That's the way the CD begins: Crowley native Kira Viator performing "Le Duex Pas de Crowley."  In addition to the title track, which has English lyrics, Kira sings four songs in French. "Ca Me Fait Envie de Grouviller" is by another female accordionist, Sheryl Cormier, describes the power of that instrument to make people feel like moving. Kira performs Nathan Abshire's French version of Joe South's "Games People Play," accompanied by a host of friends contributing a Cajun "la-la" (ironically, folklorist Barry Ancelet and others believe Joe South got the tune for his song from "Ti Galop Mamou"). She also sings "Bayou Noir" and ends the CD with Iry LeJeune beautiful "Valse de 'Cadien." All of those songs are excellent performances, but the most significant example on the CD of "stickin' to my roots" is "Le Dernier Respect," a new song written in collaboration with Ivy Dugas. It is based on Kira's memory of playing at the funeral of Albert J. Dupre. The lyrics describe the funeral procession, with the mourners paying their last respects, while, in the Cajun tradition, cars stop at the side of the road while the procession passes.

The CD also includes vocals by Barry Cormier on "La Valse Tolan," Belton Richard's "Je Va M'ennuyer," "Jambalaya-Grand Texas" (Hank Williams' song and the Cajun original), "Grand Mamou," and "Gone, Gone, Gone" (with Kira doing harmony). Robert Sonnier sings and plays guitar on three swamp pop classics: "Jukebox Song," "Before I Grow Too Old," and "Flip, Flop, and Fly."


Kira's father, Jody Viator, is shown in the left column. Shown above are Barry Cormier, top, Jason Bergeron, and Robert Sonnier. Fiddler Tony Thibodeaux  and steel guitarist Randall Foreman also perform with the band.

 

Photos were taken at the Liberty Theater in Eunice in March 2006.  

Photos and text by David Simpson, LSUE.
Posted 7-16-06.