Saulieu 2005 (Photos Jan Ghuijs)
The picture to the right shows the band Blue Bayou.
This is the band of accordion player Didier Lonjard, who is also organiser of the annual Cajun/Zydeco festival in Saulieu. It was the twelfth edition this year and the official title of Nuits Cajun only partly covers the truth, because in the daytime there is also much to be enjoyed. In the big square in Saulieu various bands can be seen during the day and a lot of dancing goes on under the trees then. You can see line-dancing, but that is only the case when a blues is played, for cajun and zydeco dances are done in pairs and that is very nice too.
This year live music already began in the afternoon on Friday, whereas in previous years a DJ did his utmost to get people to dance on a Friday afternoon. Friday night there is a great spectacle in the big hall of the town. During the last couple of years I always went to Nolay on a Friday evening to admire Bobby Michot in one of the local pubs. The musicians from Holland who were present there also played a set. However this year things turned out to be different as the pub had changed ownership. I heard this sad news on my way to Saulieu when I visited said establishment. When I had arrived in Saulieu I was happy to learn that Bobby would play with Dexter Ardoin. For that I was glad, but Bobby played washboard with Dexter and I prefer to hear him sing, so I hope he will be participating next year as a Cajun singer accompanied by a good band. Dexter Ardoin and his band were very good and so were the other acts with Phil Underwood and the Zyderythmics, Grand Prairie Special and the Cajun Company.
The other bands on Friday also did a good job and the atmosphere in the big haal was fantastic. Apart from the music there were also workshops for cooking, dancing, accordion and fiddle on Saturday. At the pavement cafe's in Saulieu there is a coming and going of musicians who are jamming all day long. Both on Saturday and Sunday there is a market. Foodstuffs on Saturday and a jumble sale on Sunday in the square at the time of the festival. This adds tremendously to the atmosphere of the festival. Saturday it was the turn for Bruce Dagrepont, Lil'Jim, the Hackney Ramblers and the Cajun Company.
Bruce Dagrepont is a kind of powder keg, exploding on stage. This man puts all his heart and soul into his playing and singing. The fact that he plays many songs of his own is a strong point of his, but also traditionals are played. The making-up of the band came as a surprise really, because I had never seen the combination of accordion, violin drums and bass. Cajun played without a guitar was a complete new experience for me.Gina Forsyth who played the violin was truly great, but with ever mounting astonishment I stood watching the bassplayer who filled in his part in a terrific way. The other artists were also in a brilliant form. Very special is Lil'Jim the English talent, because if you can do this when you're only 18 you really are on the right track. The Hackney Ramblers with Tony Weatherall are among my favourites and he was assisted perfectly by violinist Andy Lockwood and hisnew bassplayer Loraine Baker. As right-minded lover of traditional cajun the performance by the Cajun Company was a blessing for the ear. They opened the ball and did so very well. .
Here you see Lil'Jim and
Sam Murray, who also played drums with the Zyderythmics,
doing a great job there too.
All Sunday long there was a big party in the square and as far as the atmosphere is concerned it is a unique outdoors event. During the daytime all of the French Cajun bands and also the Cajun Company performed, followed by Blue Bayou, the Zyderythmics and the Hackney Ramblers.
A GREAT PARTY ONCE AGAIN.