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


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  The Magnolia

Click here for high resolution photos of the Magnolia Sisters posted on Flickr.

 Lapin, Lapin

Lapin, Lapin: chansons Cajuns et Creoles pour les enfants, released in 2005 by The Magnolia Sisters, is a real gem. The CD features French songs for children from many decades ago, but the music is not just "pour les enfants." Everyone of all ages is going to enjoy this music. Click here for more information and recent photos of the group. To order the CD, go to the Magnolia Sisters Official Web Site.

Magnolia Sisters 2004: Après Faire Le Boogie Woogie

Click here for more information on the 2004 CD.

Shown at the South Louisiana Acoustic Music Festival in Lafayette Oct. 1, 2004, are Jane Vidrine, Ann Savoy, "Mr. Sister" Kenny Alleman, Anya Schoenegge, and Lisa Trahan.


Magnolia Sisters 2003

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The Magnolia Sisters are shown performing at a political rally in Eunice for Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, shown at right, who was elected governor November 15, 2003. The Magnolia Sisters recorded a campaign song for Blanco to the tune of Alex Broussard's "Le Sud de la Louisiane." The song was used in radio spots.

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Click here to go to the official Magnolia Sisters web page.
Here are a few photos of the Magnolia Sisters at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival May 3, 2003. Pictured are Ann Savoy, at left, on accordion; Jane Vidrine, immediately below, on fiddle; Lisa Trahan, on bass. The newest member of the Magnolia Sisters is Anya Schoenegge, who plays both guitar and fiddle. She also has a fiddle repair business.

Ann Savoy told the crowd that The Magnolia Sisters will be releasing thir third CD some time during the summer.

For more information on The Magnolia Sisters, look at the background given in the lower section of this page. LSUE's Mardi Gras pages also have 2003 photos of the group at The Liberty Theater.

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The top photo of Ann Savoy on accordion with Jane Vidrine and Christine Balfa was taken at Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette in September 1999. The next four photographs were taken during a performance on the LSUE campus. The photo of Tina Pilione playing the mandolin instead of her usual fiddle was taken at the Liberty Theatre during a special performance for the LSU Board of Supervisors and top LSU System officials the evening before a board meeting was held on the LSUE campus. The bottom photo was taken in 1998 at the Mamou Cajun Music Festival: from left, Tina Pilione, Ann Savoy, Jane Vidrine, Lisa Trahan.

The following background information describes The Magnolia Sisters based on the group's membership from 1999 to 2002. Click here to go to the official Magnolia Sisters web page.

While it is true that three out of five Magnolia Sisters are not originally from Louisiana (the "Magnolia State"), probably no other Cajun band today can surpass their collective knowledge of Cajun music. Ann Savoy, who co-founded the group with Jane Vidrine in 1995, was raised in Richmond, Va., but learned to speak French while still a child. She married  Marc Savoy after meeting him at the 1975 National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. A talented musician, she was soon not only playing Cajun music but also engaging in extensive research, leading to the publication of her superb collection of songs, interviews, and photographs, Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People. Jane Vidrine's interest in French folk traditions dates from the 1970's, when she was folk arts coordinator for the National Park Service, a job that included research into traditional French folk music in Missouri. In 1984, she married John Vidrine and moved to Lafayette, where, as a museum curator, she continued her research into folk traditions. She has been engaged in many other research projects as part of her work to promote a better understanding of Cajun culture. Tina Pilione, a California native, decided she had to come to Louisiana after hearing the Balfa Brothers play in Seattle in 1978.  She earned a zoology degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, but, after being employed by the state for a few year, joined Marc Savoy to work with him building accordions. She has played the Cajun fiddle for more than 15 years.

The two native Louisianians in the group are Lisa Trahan and Christine Balfa. Trahan, who was raised in Scott, is the daughter of accordionist Harry Trahan and grand niece of the 1920s recording artist Bixby Guidry. Balfa, who grew up in rural Tepetate near Basile, is the youngest daughter of the legendary Dewey Balfa.

All five women play in other bands: Ann Savoy with her husband, Marc, in the Savoy-Doucet Band and other groups; Jane Vidrine with her husband, John, in Nez-Piqué; Trahan with her then husband, Mitchell Reed, in Vieux Temps and more recently with L'esprit Cajun; Pilione with the Cajun band Jesse Legé and the Lake Charles Ramblers; and Balfa with her husband, Dirk Powell, in Balfa Toujours.

The Magnolia Sisters gives these women a chance to use their vast knowledge of Cajun musical traditions in  performing their own versions of old Cajun tunes, remaining faithful to the old-time sound while also, in a few instances, providing their own feminine interpretations of songs that typically see the world from a male perspective. For example, on their first CD, Prends Courage (the title song was originally recorded by the legendary female Cajun musician Cleoma Breaux Falcon), "Les filles à Nonc Hilaire" becomes "Les fils" and D.L. Menard's "Elle savait pas j'étais marié" becomes "Il savait pas j'étais mariée."

The Magnolia Sisters, who play at festivals and at private events like wedding receptions, also include American folk songs performed in English as part of their repertoire.

Click here for information about Chers Amis, the group's second album, and pictures taken at the 2000 Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

Click here for photos of the Magnolia Sisters in 2002.

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Shown at the 1999 Festivals Acadiens are Tina Pilione, Jane Vidrine, Ann Savoy, Christine Balfa, and Lisa Trahan.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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