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

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 Jamie Berzas

  and Cajun Tradition

Click here for high res photos of Jamie Berzas and Cajun Tradition on Flickr.


Dennis Boudreaux died suddenly early Jan. 1, 2009, after playing with Paul Daigle and Savoir Faire at a dance in Baton Rouge sponsored by the Cajun French Music Association. In his fiddle playing and in the joie de vivre that he displayed both on stage and off, he represented all that is best in Cajun music and culture. He will be sorely missed.

Jamie Berzas is shown in the top photo. Dennis
Boudreaux is in the second photo. Both shots
were taken at the 2007 Breaux Bridge
Crawfish Festival. The thumbnails
show Jamie Berzas and his wife, Madeline,
at the Liberty Theater in 2003. Jamie is shown
dancing holding his accordion at the 2006
Mamou Cajun Music Festival. Joe Simon
is shown at the 2003 festival. The
thumbnail immediately above shows Jamie
Berzas at the 50th anniversary of Fred's
Lounge in November 2006, with members
of Cajun Tradition and other musicians.

For more information on Jamie Berzas and the Cajun Tradition Band, including booking contacts, detailed biographies of band members, and many photos, be sure to check out the Official Cajun Tradition Band Web Site.

Jamie Berzas and Cajun Tradition performed all over in the 1980s. Eventually he decided to escape from the rigors of life as a full-time musician and, for a number of years, played mostly at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, at the Mamou Cajun Music Festival, and at the street dance on Mardi Gras Day in Mamou. In 2007, Cajun Tradition has a web page and is now getting the word out to remind everyone of the group’s long-time reputation for musical excellence in playing Cajun music in the old style and to let everyone know they are ready to hit the road to bring their music to audiences far and wide.

During the 1980s, the group played regularly at venues throughout Acadiana and at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, at the 1987 Cajun Music Festival at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch, and on a three-week ocean cruise, and they received various awards. À La Vieille Façon is the title of the group’s 1988 album, which was nominated for a Grammy in 1989 in the Traditional Folk Recording Category.

The membership of Cajun Tradition has changed since that recording, but Jamie Berzas has kept the same commitment to playing in the style that has drawn crowds on the dance floors for decades. A native of the rural community of L’anse Meg near Mamou, Berzas was 10 years old when his father taught him to play the accordion. He also plays guitar and other instruments, and he is both a vocalist and song writer. The other long-time member of Cajun Tradition from shortly after the band was formed is Jamie’s wife, Madeline Berzas. One of the few female Cajun drummers, she is not only an excellent musician but, like Jamie, is deeply involved in efforts to sustain Cajun culture.

Guitarist Joe Simon (not to be confused with the drummer of the same name who leads the band Louisiana Cajuns) has one of the best voices in all of Cajun music. Dennis Boudreaux, who is from Baton Rouge, is an excellent fiddler whose physical style of playing demonstrates to audiences how much he enjoys the music.  Walt Farr, who was previously in other bands with Dennis, is on bass guitar.

Cajun music fans are fortunate that in 2004 Swallow Records released a CD of the 1988 album À La Vieille Façon, remastered from the original La Louisianne Recording Studios analog masters.. The CD features songs by fiddler Lee Manuel, who handles the vocals on his songs “C’est pas la peine” and “C’est mon  error” and on Fred Charlie’s “Mom, dit moi.” Manuel died in 1991. Mark Young, who plays guitar and several other instruments on the CD, wrote and sings “”Je suis Cadjin” and “La jour tu ma quitté,” and he sings “La chanson de Mardi Gras.” Jamie Berzas handles the vocals on his songs “Two-Step de la Louisiane” and “Pour toujours” (co-written with Lee Manuel) as well as on Dewey Balfa’s “Quand j’étais pauvre.” The opening number is an instrumental, “Cajun Tradition Special.” The liner notes include French-English translations by Amanda LaFleur of all of the songs written by band members.

For bookings, go to the band's web site or call 337-468-5522.

Members of the Cajun Tradition Band are, from left, Dennis Boudreaux, Madeline Berzas,
Jamie Berzas, Joe Simon, and Walt Farr. The photo was taken at the 2007 Breaux Bridge
Crawfish Festival.
Posted 6-11-07.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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