Thursday, April 24, 2014

Louisiana Movies: J'ai E`te` au Bal

Cleoma Breaux and Joe Falcon, Cajun performers. Source: Old Weird America



There aren't many documentaries as entertaining as this one. You want to smile for an hour and a half, this is the movie for you.

It's "J'ai Ete au Bal" - I Went to the Dance, filmed by Les Blank, with important contributions by Ann Savoy, Michael Doucet, and Barry Ancelet.


The movie in its entirety here: 



The documentary runs through the history of the cajun/creole and zydeco music in southern Louisiana.


Armédé Ardoin, creole/cajun musician, Credit: Wikipedia

Filmed in 1989, the movie's got the good stories straight from the mouths of cajun, creole, and zydeco royalty. The classic songs all seem to be here. Lots of dancing, humor.

Although this video isn't from the documentary, it tells the same story of the much-loved The Back Door, written and originally performed by DL Menard:


I liked how the film showed the evolution of particular songs, as their arrangements evolved with the change of instruments and musical styles.

For example, here's the 1928 version of Allons a Lafayette (Let's go to Lafayette [to change your name]), by husband and wife Joe Falcon and Cleoma Breaux (which was based on an older traditional song):



The lyrics in English:

Let's go to Lafayette to change your name.
We will call you Mrs. Mischievous Comeaux.
Honey, you're too pretty to act like a tramp.
How do you think I am going to manage without you?
Look at what you done, pretty heart.
We are so far apart and that is pitiful.
Honey, you're too pretty to act like a tramp.
How do you think I am going to manage without you?
Look at what you done, pretty heart.
We are so far apart and that is pitiful.


Here's a zydeco version of the same song decades later, by Boozoo Chavis:


:
And here's Wayne Toups (after a bit of a loopy intro) doing the same song in the late 1980s in "zydecajun" style:



Maybe I'll watch this documentary again tomorrow.




6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing those YouTube links. "J'ai Ete au Bal" was especially nice. I had seen it many years ago and it is nice to know that it is on YouTube. Yea YouTube!

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  2. Wayne Toups is closing out the Thibodaux Firemens' Fair, 2014 on Sunday night, 05/04/14, 7-9 p.m.
    Free admission! Less than an hour and a half drive!
    -Ton amie, Michel, citoyen de Thibodaux! Aieeeeeh Yieeeeeh!

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    Replies
    1. Hahahaha! I've got to get to Thibodaux, I know! But it happens that Wayne Toups will be in Breaux Bridge this weekend - Crawfish Festival! Mon Dieu - an embarrassment of riches here!

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  3. Queen Ida is in the Movie "J'ai Ete au Bal". What a treat!

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  4. Just discovered your link to the NEA Article. Thank You Mzuri.

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  5. I love hearing the same songs as they evolved over the years, with different styles.

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