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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Aly Meets The Cajuns

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Aly Meets The Cajuns
Whirlie Records WHIRLIECA201

In 1988, Channel 4 Television fancied something a bit different for their New Year show. This film by Mike Alexander of Pelicula films was the result, and different it certainly was. The combination of ace Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain and some of the best Cajun music to be had is a winning one - this film is interesting and entertaining from start to finish.

Cajun music is feelgood music – fun and happy. Descendants of the Acadiens of Nova Scotia, the Cajuns have retained their identity and traditions despite being surrounded by many other cultures. In this 50 minute film, we are introduced to many great Cajun musicians, some of whom are no longer with us, and Aly gets stuck in with the best of them, showing he can turn his hand to just about anything.

Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Queen Ida, The Savoy-Doucet Band, Boozoo Chavis, Wayne Toups and Harry LaFleur are among the fine musicians here. They chat a little with Aly about their music (and food) but the content is mostly musical. If you can cope with the dated 80s Bermuda shorts, dodgy haircuts and bad beards, the DVD gives you a good history of the Cajuns and gives you a real feel of musical life in Louisiana. And it is very hard to sit still!

Alongside the film in the attractive and informative package, is a re-mastered and re-released 16 track CD of music from the show, so you can enjoy it either way. A treat for the ears and for the feet – a musical feast of Cajun culture.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.