Gloucester Cajun and Zydeco Festival

Friday 26 to Sunday 28 January 2007

UK’s Number One International Cajun and Zydeco Festival!

The Gloucester International Cajun and Zydeco weekend is the biggest festival of its kind in the UK. It’s a non stop party for the music of the Louisiana swamps and bayous. There’s no need to head out to Louisiana this weekend. We bring in the hottest musicians for your enjoyment and put ‘em up on stage alongside the best from the UK and Europe. We’ve got three bands fronted by Louisiana musicians alongside a band from central France and five other great UK bands plus concerts, dance workshops, instrument workshops, jam sessions, Cajun food, two bars and an atmosphere that’s legendary. The friendliest bunch of people you are ever likely to hang out with to the backdrop of some of the grooviest music in the world!

Now in its fourteenth year, the three-day celebration delivers an unrivalled mix of music and dance from Louisiana where people know how to shake off the blues and party. We’ve said it before but it’s like New Year's Eve, Christmas and all your best birthdays all rolled into one! Come and join us and let the good times roll to the hot sweet sounds of Cajun and Zydeco Music. Talk about a party! Read on brothers and sisters.

Chris Hall, Swampmusic.

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Leon Chavis and the Zydeco Flames - (USA)
Leon Chavis (accordion) was born and raised in Lawtell, the hotbed of Zydeco music in Louisiana. Under his humble demeanour, easy going attitude and country boy charm, there’s a larger than life stage persona and a talent that just has to come out! Leon Chavis is part of a new generation of Zydeco Musicians proving that real talent, hard work, persistence, and charisma still have a place in the music industry. A formally trained musician versed in a variety of instruments, Leon comes from a rich tradition of music that was all around him as he grew up.

Leon is anchored by his father Joseph "Chopper" Chavis (rubboard) who is both partner on stage and mentor. Joe with over 20 years of experience in the music industry is a gifted singer, producer and songwriter and a great showman. When the two of them work together on stage they are united across the generations by their love of this music. There is a great chemistry between the two on stage that warms the hearts of their audience. Their show at Raamsdonksveer festival in Holland recently had the audiences begging for more and acclaiming them as one of the best Zydeco acts that have been over in years.

Back home in Louisiana the band have become a favourite on the trail ride scene, and with local church bazaars, festivals and clubs, who all know how to pick the best bands. They are also spreading the word by performing at various music festivals in the USA. Here for this exclusive UK appearance they will be ably supported by our own Zydeco Flames: Sam Murray (guitar), Tommy Mills (bass), and Andy Watson (drums).

Breaux – (USA/UK)
Breaux are a traditional Cajun band fronted by Lafayette resident Randy Vidrine, one of Louisiana’s most respected vocalists and guitar players who has played with Charivari, The Mamou Prairie Band, Mouton Noir, Tasso, and The Lafayette Rhythm Devils. Alongside Randy on this visit we have the awesome young fiddle player Chris Segura. Chris is a member of The Lafayette Rhythm Devils with Randy and he is also with young Cajun supergroup Feufollet. He replaces Mitch Reed (who is unable to make this tour due to commitments with Beausoleil) and is one of hottest young players in Louisiana at the moment with a style that perfectly compliments the Breaux groove. Randy’s soaring vocals and rock solid guitar playing put him in a class of his own and he has a great chemistry not only with Segura but also with regular members Sam Murray (Bearcats/Zydecomotion) on drums and Chris Hall (RCajun/Zydecomotion/Bearcats) on accordion.

Breaux are a Cajun band who have many dance fans here in the UK who love their solid funky groove. They have played many times not only in the UK but also at festivals in Europe including Tonder Festival in Denmark and Baasem Cajun festival in Germany and have made two cds which are firm favourites with Cajun fans. A great night of the highest calibre traditional Cajun music with solid support from Joe Le Taxi Zydeco band.

Les Avocats Du Platain - (USA/UK/FR)

Featuring Bobby Michot (guitar/vocals) Michel Lemare (accordion) and Jock Tyldesley (fiddle). Bobby Michot hails from Lafayette parish Louisiana and has been playing Cajun music since 1982. Since that time he has recorded or made tours with artists as diverse as The Michot Brothers, Cory McCauley, Eddie LeJeune, Lionel Leleux, Les Voyageurs Cajun, Sacaulait, Morris and Dexter Ardoin and the Savoy Michot Cajun band. Bobby is a Louisiana legend! A one time owner of the Main Street Lounge in Basile Louisiana, ex Cajun radio show host, teacher, traveller, horse tamer, Cajun troubadour but above all, Cajun vocalist and rhythm man par excellence! With a three piece line up featuring long time friends Michel Lemare on accordion and Jock Tyldesley on fiddle expect a chemistry that will create a unique atmosphere on stage and a great sound in the Gloucester “main street” dancehall! Traditional three piece stripped down Cajun music at its finest.

Lil Jim and Deepzone Zydeco – (UK)
Lil Jim burst on to the Gloucester Festival five years ago on the Saturday night and did a cameo spot with Louisiana masters Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys that left the audience open mouthed and stunned. Who was this 6' 3" fourteen year old boy wonder who came on stage like a young gunslinger ready to take out the old guard! Lil' Jim of course, and he's back. He's had a busy time since, playing Cajun festivals in Ameland (Holland), Saulieu (France), Unna (Germany), Baasem (Germany) Bristol, and gigs in such places as London, Derby, and Winterswijk. Last years lunchtime show at Gloucester Festival confirmed that we just had to have him back for an evening slot! With Jim at the helm and a band recruited from R.Cajun, Zydecomotion and Joe Le Taxi expect high quality action. Lil' Jim is no slouch, his accordion playing is stunning, and his stage show is bursting full of energy. Still only 19 years of age he plays like a seasoned veteran and definitely has the X factor as he proved on his recent German tour where fans went wild. The future of UK Zydeco is here today!

Louisiana Artists Unplugged – (USA)

With Leon Chavis, Joe Chavis, Randy Vidrine, Chris Segura. Now for something rather different. These Louisiana musicians will talk about the history of their music and their careers to date. Of course there will be stripped down tunes and songs from the Cajun and Zydeco traditions and surely a little cross cultural jamming. A rare chance to catch these Louisiana masters in an intimate concert setting. Don’t miss it. The perfect laid back start to a Saturday.

Hazel Scott Playboys - (UK)

A 5 piece traditional Cajun band featuring some of the biggest names on the UK Cajun Scene. Although new to the scene Hazel has already won many fans. She was invited to appear on stage at Tonder Festival in Denmark with Breaux and various Mamou Playboys and has guested on stage at Gloucester Cajun Festival with The Flatville Aces and The Bearcats. She has also appeared on stage with various Cajun musicians in Louisiana and has in a short space of time impressed many Louisiana musicians including Steve Riley, Dave Greely, Mitch Reed, Randy Vidrine, Russell Cormier and Walter Mouton with her authentic Cajun vocals. Walter Mouton, after she sang a couple of songs with his band at La Poussiere in Breaux Bridge said "big voice on a little lady!", and the late fiddle player U.J. Meaux said "right on the money".

She has drawn together a band which features many of the top Cajun players in Europe. With Chris Hall (rcajun / bearcats / zydecomotion) on accordion and from The Flatville Aces Jock Tyldesley on fiddle, Gavin Lewery on drums, and Vera Van Heeringen on bass this band combines absolutely the most experienced players around. They specialise in some of the less well known Cajun songs gathered from old recordings archives. Be prepared for an awesome new, high quality Cajun band that will move your heart and feet.

Joe Le Taxi – (UK)

Joe Le Taxi & the Zydeco Band play hardcore Louisiana Zydeco. A mix of authentic Creole blues, sleazy shuffles, old school waltzes influenced by the raw dance music of such legends as John Delafose and Bebe Carriere to the more funky, Zydeco Nouveau style influenced by Boozoo Chavis, Beau Jocque and Keith Frank. Now with an energetic, fresh, new line up, Joe Le Taxi's Zydeco Band continues to pack the dance floors across the UK and Europe with their laid back, Zydeco groove that is guaranteed to keep that dance floor jumping! The band are sounding their best ever and everybody loves ‘em. Fresh from their success at Ameland in Holland and Bristol Cajun and Zydeco Festival, the perfect support to Breaux on Friday night. Take off your shoes throw ‘em in the corner and dance all night.

Blue Bayou – (France)

Having played together in various bands in the 70's, Didier, Glaudius and Tipol reunited in 1992 to create Blue Bayou. Since then, with the help of a fantastic rhythm section (bass, drums and keyboards), they have toured their rock solid beats all over Europe. Playing big Festivals as well as tiny ballrooms and bars, they have become over the years one of the most outstanding French bands playing Cajun & Zydeco music. Finding their inspiration in the music of people like Wayne Toups, Bruce Daigrepont or Geno Delafose, they also like to create their own Cajun and Zydeco songs. Didier runs the amazing Saulieu Cajun and Zydeco Festival in France and knows a thing or two about good Louisiana music. Expect high quality Zydecajun, Cajun and Zydeco from this great French band.

Picklefish – (UK)

A new band formed by the talented Gavin Lewery of Flatville Aces and Z Funk with the intention of mining the old styles of American country. With musicians who have all been heavily involved in the Cajun scene like Dave Luke (Z Funk) Lorraine Baker (Bluebird Cajun Band) Ian Tothill (Cajun Aces) and Pete Wakefield expect a bayou twist on old time country. Every now and then we like to book a band not playing Cajun and Zydeco so this band take over that spot this year. With musicians of this calibre you just know it’s gonna be hot hot hot! Hank Williams meets Jack Daniels in a Louisiana Juke joint back in the 1950’s. Just a bunch of drifting cowboys with broken hearts and tears in their beers.

Jumbo Gumbo – (UK)

Jumbo Gumbo started when they all left cover bands to look for something different musically. The band got off the ground in spring 2006 with a run of four gigs . . . and four immediate rebookings! Clearly something was right! They are a five piece band from Kent, all with considerable musical experience but all fairly new to Cajun and Zydeco but with a crucial love of the Louisiana sound. Expect plenty of musical talent, experience, and a little insider knowledge (they’ve been checking out Chris Hall’s gigs and picking his brains for accordion tips!)

Cajun All Star Jam

After the Hazel Scott Playboys set on Sunday night the finale once again sees members of bands from the festival (including our Louisiana guests) combining into a glorious jam session which many consider to be the highlight of the weekend. Don't miss this show. If you are working on Monday take the next day off work and stick around. You won't ever see the likes of it!

Cajun dance workshops led by Cajun Kay Anderson from the thriving S.E. coast Cajun scene. She will be running three workshops over the weekend catering for all abilities and preparing you for The Hazel Scott Playboys, and Les Avocats Du Platain.

Zydeco dance workshops led by Zydeco Cowboy Phil Underwood of Zydeco band Zyderythmics. He will be running two workshops over the weekend catering for all abilities preparing you for Leon Chavis, and Lil Jim. A third Zydeco dance workshop will be led by our Louisiana guests Leon and Joe Chavis

Jam Sessions
This year we’ve again set aside the bar area where people can get together, jam, eat, and drink. Check it out - pop in for an acoustic jam or just hang out and chill. We’ve moved the afternoon shows into the cinema which leaves the bar available as jamming space and put some festival guests in there as hosts to kick things off. Bring your instruments and join in or try out your own tunes and songs. Obviously you will hear Cajun and Zydeco but all musical styles welcome. There’s also other smaller rooms in the building which are available for those who want to jam in a quieter less public environment.

Instrument Workshops
Accordion: Sat 2.00pm to 3.00pm Leon Chavis
Fiddle: Sat 3.00pm to 4.00pm Chris Segura and Randy Vidrine
Rubboard: Sun 3.00pm to 4.00pm Joe Chavis

Dance workshops
Sat 10.30 to 11.30 Cajun with Kay Anderson
Sat 3.30 to 4.30 Zydeco with Leon and Joe chavis
Sat 5.00 to 6.00 Zydeco with Phil Underwood
Sun 10.30 to 11.30 Zydeco with Phil Underwood
Sun 3.00 to 4.00 Cajun with Kay Anderson
Sun 4.30 to 5.30 Cajun with Kay Anderson

Jam sessions
Saturday afternoon bar 3pm onwards hosted by festival guests
Sunday afternoon bar 3pm onwards hosted by festival guests

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