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

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Les Frères Michot

Click here for high resolution photos posted on Flickr.

Photos are from a 2007 performance at Downtown
Alive in Lafayette with Rick Michot on fiddle and
Tommy Michot on accordion. Tommy is shown
immediately above playing at LSUE in 2009
with a band led by Blair Kilpatrick from
California, who was invited to the campus
to perform and give a presentation on her book
Accordion Dreams.

When this page was being put together in May 2009, Les Frères Michot had been performing for well over two decades, playing traditional Cajun music in the old acoustic style typical at house dances before the era of dance halls and electronic amplification. All five brothers were raised in an area of Lafayette known as Pilette, named for landowner Pilette Comeaux. Their father is Louis J. Michot, a remarkable entrepreneur and politician who was also a former superintendent of education (when the position was a statewide elective office).  Two of Les Frères Michot have also entered the political realm, Rick Michot as a state district judge and Mike Michot as a state senator.

On their first recording, Elevés à Pilette, produced by Zachary Richard in 1987 and released as a CD in 1996, the band includes all five brothers: Tommy on accordion and vocals, David on acoustic bass, Bobby on guitar and vocals, Rick on fiddle and vocals, and Mike on petit fer, with Dewey Balfa playing fiddle on four cuts. There are no drums on Michot Brothers recordings. A number of the songs are originals, including "La Valse à Howard Hebert," "Two-Step de Ste Marie," "Reel à Patrick," "Two-Step de Côté Gelée," "Two-Step de Pilette," and "La valse de la ville." Others are traditional, but Les Frères Michot's versions of songs like "J'étais au bal" sung in three-part harmony or "Church Point Breakdown" with acoustic instrumentation offer a new, very enjoyable listening experience.

Their next CD, La Roue Qui Pend, released in 2003, adds two of Tommy's sons and members of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, André Michot and Louie Michot, to the group that included Tommy, David, and Mike on this recording.

In 2008, Les Frères Michot released La Caroline, dedicated to the memory of Carolyn Rose Michot, a sister who died at the age of 17 in an automobile accident. "La Caroline," the name of one of the ships that brought exiled Acadians to Louisiana via France, is a tune from Varise Conner. According to the liner notes, Conner, Rick Michot, and Lionel Leleux would gather for a jam session each October because all three were Scorpios. It was at one of these sessions that Rick learned the tune for which he wrote lyrics recalling his sister. The liner notes are full of such details about the music, musicians, and the Michot family.

The CD features Rick on fiddle and vocals, Tommy on accordion, harmonica and vocals, and Patrick Michot Jr. on guitar. As with their other recordings, the brothers offer beautiful original compositions and acoustic versions of traditional songs like "Allons à Lafayette." On "La Caroline," "La chasse aux lapins" (recalling their boyhood), "Le premier amour," "La veuve du Lac Bleu," and others, the brothers sing harmony vocals. Rick handles vocals on the majority of cuts, including the lovely French lyrics that he supplies for Jay Ungar and Molly Mason's "Lover's Waltz."  Tommy's vocals are truly haunting on "J'ai passé devant ta porte."  The CD has 21 cuts, ending with "La torturelle," a very old a cappella ballad that Rick learned from Claby Meaux in 1983.

As is obvious from this very abbreviated summary of some of the work of Les Frères Michot, the brothers are making a very significant contribution to the preservation of traditional Cajun music. Beyond their recordings and their live gigs in the area, they have brought Cajun music to leaders of the world, including performances for President George W. Bush, several presidential candidates, and even English royalty.  Check out their web site for a list of some other events at which they performed and for their appearances in documentaries that were televised nationally. They also have a MySpace page.


Posted 5-22-09.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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