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Cajun Music
A Reflection of a People
Volume 1
By Ann Allen Savoy
Bluebird Press, Inc.
1984
424 Pages
ISBN:  0-930169-01-8

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Cajun Music: A Reflection Of A People comes straight from the heart of a proud, vital, and close-knit culture. Five years in the making, this rich book's exhaustive scope illuminates both a vibrant tradition and its fascinating context. Ann Savoy traces the complete evolution of Cajun music from its earliest inception to the present day. Each important figure is profiled with a biography, discography, and photo portrait. Their 'signature tunes' are annotated, many for the first time. Lengthy interviews with masters like Clifton Chenier and D. L. Menard let the modern greats speak for themselves. Publishing premiers continue with lyrical transcriptions in both Cajun French and English, and the initial appearance of rare, historic photos. Another significant first is the comprehensive discussion of Cajun instrumental technique. Savoy's research has been guided by the delicate balance of familiar intimacy with a newcomer's sense of wonderment. She presents a wealth of information with ingenuous charm and complete accessibility.

To gather her material Savoy combed Louisiana's Cajun parishes, interviewing, photographing, and sifting through family albums. Her original concept was a simple collection of old-time song lyrics, but the project soon took on a monumental life of its own. "Each time I thought it was finished," she relates, "something else would appear that had to be included." Accordingly, a companion volume is already in the works. What Ann Savoy has already produced, however, is uniquely broad and comprehensive. Both her beloved, adopted culture and the larger world of music are richer for her great contribution.

Ann Allen Savoy was born in 1952 and raised in Richmond, Virginia. Her main childhood interests were music and the French language. She took up guitar at age twelve, concentrating on various folk styles, and later studied classical and jazz technique. French became an active pursuit while living in the Swiss Alps, where her mother taught school for a year. Savoy went on to major in the language at college, spending her junior year in Paris. She then returned to Richmond, teaching music and French, and playing guitar both locally and in Charlottesville. At the 1975 National Folk Festival she met Cajun accordionist and accordion maker Marc Savoy, whom she married the following year. Today the Savoys and their three children live near Eunice, Louisiana, an especially rich area for Cajun music. In addition to the arduous tasks of research, writing, and motherhood, Ann is also an active working musician. She and Marc play frequently at community functions around Eunice and Mamou, with occasional trips to national festivals. The Savoys also appear on several records and have performed on the radio program "Prairie Home Companion."