Cajun music

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bonner Cajun music band Le Clou , 2007

Cajun music [ keidʒn̩ ] ( Listen ? / I ) is the centuries-old, traditional music of the francophone , Cajuns immigrants mentioned that in Cajun Country in the State of Louisiana life. Audio file / audio sample


After the Anglo-French War ended in favor of the British in the middle of the 18th century, many French settlers were brutally expelled from the eastern Canadian region of Acadia by the victors . Many Acadians fled to Louisiana after long odysseys. At the time, this had just come to Spain from French possession, but had retained the French governor. After a brief French interlude, Napoléon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the USA in the course of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The displaced brought their ancestral French culture with them, including their language, which developed into Cajun French in Louisiana , as well as their music, which is now called Cajun music.

The music of the Acadians has been handed down over many generations, there are still no written notes. In the past, the songs were only played on fiddles , accompanied by spoons ( Cajun spoons ) and "tit-fer" (small iron), a triangle , as rhythm instruments. German immigrants brought the German melodeon (hand harmonica, diatonic button accordion ) with them around 1880 , which is now called the Cajun Accordion . This was then quickly integrated into the music around 1920 after switching to the keys of C major and D major, which were better suited to the fiddles, because it was virtually indestructible and sufficiently loud.

The Cajuns played and still play the music in the evenings with friends at home on the veranda, and on weekends the population meets in large halls and sheds to dance (au bal), the “Fais Do Do”. Its translation means "fall asleep" and means that in the past the evening ball was reserved for adults, while the children were put to sleep next door. Since these events have always been noisy and there used to be no electrical amplification, the singers in the hall had to sing very loudly. In the 1930s the guitar was added as an instrument, then the double bass , the drums , later also the pedal steel guitar of country music and occasionally the banjo from the bluegrass .

The swing , rock 'n' roll and country music affected the popularity of Cajun music and also greatly changed its style. Well-known Cajun composers and performers such as Iry LeJeune retained the classical style, however, and a renaissance of Cajun music began in the late 1960s . The Cajun music and the accompanying dances mainly consist of fast two-steps and stomps as well as slow waltzes . The motto of the Cajuns is Laissez les bons temps rouler (meaning: enjoy life ), and so the lyrics deal with everyday life and its hard work, sad incidents, but also funny events, love, good food, the dance on Saturday evening and Similar.

The Cajun music, the Cajun country and the typical Cajun cuisine were made world famous in 1952 by the country music hit Jambalaya by Hank Williams . Zydeco music is related stylistically and geographically .


Well-known contemporary Cajun musicians include the violinist Michael Doucet and his band Beausoleil or Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys from Louisiana. In Germany, bands like Le Clou or Cajun Roosters play Cajun music.

Rock musicians like the American guitarist Sonny Landreth also play with a distinct Cajun influence; in country music, artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter and Jimmy C. Newman use elements of Cajun music.

Cajun music in the film


  • John Broven: South to Louisiana. The Music of the Cajun Bayous. Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna LA 1983, ISBN 0-88289-608-3 (2nd Print, ibid 1987).

Web links

Commons : Cajun musicians  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files