Cajun music to play on Hill

Rachel Daniels

A quarter of a century’s worth of Cajun music is set to infiltrate the Hill tonight.

Louisiana cajun revival band, BeauSoleil will be playing as a part of Western’s Cultural Enhancement Program at 7:30 p.m. in Van Meter Auditorium.

The program is free and open to anyone who wants to witness a showcase a combination of jazz, bluegrass and Caribbean music.

The five-member group is led by singer, song-writer and violinist Michael Doucet. Originating in southwest Louisiana, Doucet’s goal has been to help Cajuns take pride in their heritage and not let them forget it. For 25 years the band has been sharing their music with old and new fans in an attempt to keep Cajun traditions strong.

Mina Doerner, assistant to the Cultural Enhancement Series, is expecting a good turnout.

“I am hoping for a good-sized gathering,” Doerner said. “Standing room only would be a wonderful crowd for this show.”

Referred to in the past as “the best Cajun band in the world,” BeauSoleil will be sharing its own traditions and performing songs both in English and in French.

The talents of BeauSoleil have not gone unrecognized. The band was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for Best Traditional Folk Album and its song “Zydeco Gris-Gris” was used as Jimmy Carter’s inaugural theme song in 1976.

The band has played in concert halls, festivals and dances in many places, nationally and internationally, and has been on numerous television and radio shows.

Exposing area residents to this style of music is important to the area’s diversity. Folk studies professor Erika Brady is excited about the exposure to culture available with this program.

“I am not sure that this style is all that well-known here,” Brady said. “Cajun music is to Louisiana as bluegrass is to Kentucky, so I think people will understand its genuineness.”

The next event in the Cultural Enhancement Series will be a speech by Pulitzer Prize winning author Steven Pinker, who will be speaking April 21.

Reach Rachel Daniels at [email protected]