[45] The Balfa Brothers – Play Traditional Cajun Music

14 Feb

I do love that distinctive fiddle sound that kicks off this album.  It reminds me of all of the country singers I enjoyed in the 90s – like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Garth Brooks – that tried to pay their respect to their Cajun trailblazing forerunners.

The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music

The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music











Even in French, the songs have a familiar and welcome feel, full of exuberance and lively fun.  The twin fiddles ensure that there isn’t a static moment, and the makeshift percussion instruments lend an immediate spontaneity to the sound that makes you want to move.

There is a carnival, merry-go-round feel to many of the songs lending an old-timey vibe that is still somehow far from obsolete.  Each track is short, most not reaching the 3 minute mark and some not even lasting 2 minutes, meaning no particular tune wears out its welcome.

With the switch from the As to the Bs, I also made the switch from purchasing physical CDs (and records), to streaming almost everything through Sonos and Spotify.  The change has been a positive one for both my pocket and the portability of my collection, but this is the first time since the switch that I am missing the physical album, and for one reason only.

I would love to take a look at these liner notes.  They apparently include a history of the band as well as all of the lyrics in both French and English, and I think that this would even further enhance my enjoyment of these tunes.

The wailing vocals are undeniably alien – at times it reminds me more of the African vocals I have come across in the list than the country music of my teens and twenties – but are all the more interesting for this.  It is possible to hear the true traditional Cajun sound that apparently has been homogenized in the Cajun revival of the 70s and beyond.

I am struck yet again – as I listen to these reels on repeat while I work away at my computer – by the huge range and scope of the music I am encountering thanks to this endeavor.  Once more, here is a band, a genre, a sound I would never have sought out and enjoyed but for running across Tom Moon’s book almost exactly one year ago.

So thank you, Park Slope Book Fair.  And thank you, Tom Moon.

Owned before blogging? No. (2 of 45. 4%)
Heard before blogging? No. (4 of 45. 10%)
Recommend? Yes. (37 of 45. 82%)

Next week: Hank Ballard and the Midnighters – Singin’ and Swingin’ with . . .

One Response to “[45] The Balfa Brothers – Play Traditional Cajun Music”


  1. [112] Dock Boggs – His Folkways Years 1963-68 | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - May 29, 2015

    […] vocals aren’t as exuberant as The Balfa Brothers’.  His banjo picking isn’t as artful as Pete Seeger’s.  So I can’t think of a […]

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