Heart of Louisiana: Young Cajun Musicians of Breaux Bridge
BREAUX BRIDGE, LA (WVUE) - Their ages run from the single digits to the teens, but they are performing the music of their great grandparents. And they sing and play Cajun French tunes with the enthusiasm you would expect kids to
have for the latest hit songs.
Thirteen-year-old fiddler Adeline Miller says she listens to mostly Cajun and country music, which is not that popular with her teenage friends.
"My friends, they think it's cool that I play the fiddle and they'll come to some of my gigs, but they don't know what I'm singing," she said.
Adeline's younger brother, Robert, plays bass guitar. He understands the importance of this music to the culture of a town like Breaux Bridge.
"Like, it really ties everyone to the Cajun culture," he said. "It teaches everyone about - like it makes them smarter sometimes. And it helps them get back together."
The Joie de Vivre cafe in Breaux Bridge hosts acoustic Cajun jam sessions with adults every Saturday. But on the first Sunday of each month, the adults step aside and the kids take over – playing fiddle, guitar and accordion through a couple of sets of popular Cajun songs.
Nicole Domange and her husband own the coffee café, which attracts customers from all over the world.
"There is a lot of children in the area that are musicians, aspiring musicians, and some of the children were coming to the adult jam session, and so we just decided to do the Cajun kids' jam session," Domangue said.
Parents and friends visit and drink coffee or eat a late breakfast while the kids roll from one song to the next.
Fourteen-year-old Leiton Leblanc says she plays violin in church but plays fiddle at the jam sessions.
"I just like Cajun music," she said. "It just makes everyone like so happy. I don't know, like, just dancing to it and just listening to the music, it just makes everyone so happy."
The music, and even the building, have been a part of Breaux Bridge for generations. The building that houses the coffee shop has a bit of history behind it. It was built in the 1920s when it was the town's hardware store. Now, the inside of the café is covered with the works of local artists. And when you mix that with the music, the old building is alive with the creativity of the community.
"These are all local artists that are here," Domangue said. "We basically give them a hammer and nail, and the artist will come in and rearrange the artwork. So we have about 15 different artists, photographers, that have artwork up in the café."
Breaux Bbridge and the Joie de Vivre coffee shop are at ground zero for Louisiana's Cajun culture. And when you hear and see these youngsters play the old tunes, you realize that the Cajun spirit is already being passed on to a new generation.
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