Heart of Louisiana: Blue Moon Saloon

Logo from http://twitter.com/BlueMoonSaloon
Logo from http://twitter.com/BlueMoonSaloon

Lafayette, La. -- Their style is deeply rooted in traditional Cajun music. The lyrics are in sung in French. But there is a youthful energy, and a new twist on a familiar sound.

"We love what south Louisiana has to offer, we love the French language. We just choose it, we choose to take it and make of it what we feel in our hearts," says Anna Laura Edmiston.

Edmiston, who grew up in both French-speaking Canada and Cajun Louisiana, is a singer-songwriter with the Lafayette band Feufollet. Although the band members are in their mid-20's, the group actually formed 15 years ago when the three original members were in grade school. They are Chris Stafford, who plays guitar, fiddle and accordion, drummer Michael Stafford and fiddler Chris Segura.

"I guess I might have been 11, 12 at the oldest," says Segura. "Chris would have been 10, Michael would have been seven or eight."

Most of the musicians grew up in households where their parents listened to Cajun music. But they learned to speak the language through French immersion programs in elementary school.

"From 1st to 8th grade, half of my classes were in French," says Philippe Balleaudeaux of Feufollet. "3rd grade mathematics was in French, and then the next year science was in French."

And they learned to play and love the Cajun French music.

"It's always associated with a good time," says Stafford. "It's about dancing, drinking, eating, meeting, having fun with your friends, that's the whole social nature of the music. So whenever it's associated with something like that, a beautiful culture where people like to have fun and enjoy themselves, you can't really go wrong."

But Feufollet has added its own unique style to the Cajun sound. A year ago, the group earned a Grammy nomination as they nudged the music in a new direction.

"I guess just bringing in the modern influences," says Segura. "We listen to all different sorts of music, so we bring those influences in and we're not scared at all to try new things."

"It's a natural evolution, the creative direction our music has taken is just completely natural," says Edmiston.

On this night, Feufollet packs the dance floor at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette.

The Blue Moon is an old Acadian house turned guest house. They added a back porch, a stage, a bar and live music, and they've been drawing bands and crowds for the last ten years.

"We don't like to think of ourselves as just a Cajun music club," says Blue Moon owner Mark Falgout. "We are a music club and the only criteria that we have is that it's good music."

Falgout says that Feufollet and other young Cajun bands are helping to keep the area's culture alive. "There's a real resurgence not only in Cajun music, but also the French language in the area," Falgout tells us.

And adding a fresh interpretation to a traditional sound is creating success, for both this group of musicians and their Cajun French heritage.

Feufollet was the winner of last year's "Big Easy Award" for "best Cajun band". The group is scheduled to perform at this year's Jazz Fest. For more information on the music and the Blue Moon Saloon, go online to http://feufollet.net and http://bluemoonpresents.com.