Hey, WF, I watched a bunch of the other videos you put on youtube. What I liked was that they show the difference between the REAL Cajun fiddle style and the one that most folks expect;- instead of the heavy bow and sawing action with constant drones, it shows a much gentler and melodic approach that may surprise a lot of people.
I was first turned onto that style by Merlin Fontenot's playing with Joe El Sonnier in the 70's, then of course by Dewey Balfa and others. Never been a fan of Doug Kershaw's approach, or M Doucet, for that matter
I have watched a bunch of these, although I have a ways to go to watch all 52 videos....great source! I like them all....the Lost Bayou Ramblers are wonderful.
I have Wilson Savoy's instructional DVD on Cajun accordion (another of my secret vices) and I love his teaching....He starts by making rhythm the most important thing.
Wilson insists that new students learn to pat their foot with solid rhythm before they touch the accordion. That may take weeks, but it is worth it. Fiddle teachers should follow his example.
I love Cajun fiddling and I would like to play more Cajun. Unfortunately, I don't know any Cajun musicians around here. I consider Cajun fiddling to be an important branch of old-time southern fiddling and closely related to the fiddling I grew up with in Texas.
Yeah, i'm a fan of Doucet's old style,... until he got all "strange" fiddle on us. His playing is too blended with other music genres now. Not my cup of tea. Whole other topic.
Keep in mind the sawing action you refer to was the standard playing during the early Cajun music years (1920s through 1950s). It wasn't until Balfa in 1964 really broke loose and showed others that melodic smooth playing styles work in Cajun music. To illustrate the point, listen to Canray, W Fruge, and McGee from that time period. Players still to this day play this way in order to revisit that style.
Eh, W. Savoy. He's ok. Definately not great. Only has a DVD out because he's smart enough to do it. However, on the quality scale he's definately not at the top. He's played fiddle for so many years and compared to that, he's only recently really devoted himself to accordion. I find there's alot better teachers out there and way better players. But if it works for you, go for it. He surely has musical tempo and the experience to know what's important. I'll try to get some footage of him tearing it up on fiddle back when he played with Red Stick Ramblers... (anyone remember that?)
LBR aint bad either. Both these groups though (PLB and LBR) are fairly new to this and still have a ways to go before their live sound is solid. If you compare them musically to bands like Jambalaya, Steve Riley, Wayne, Walter Mouton, Jackie Callier, and others who've done this for over 30yrs as more or less one band, you'll notice a big difference. The one thing that makes these 2 bands stand apart I find is their influence outside of Cajun areas. They tour heavily outside of Acadiana and Louisiana for that matter. This brings them alot more attention than staying too close to home.
Great discussion though. Of course, growing up down here, i have a critic's ear and mindset, so, good to see other opinions as well.