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Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music by Blair Kilpatrick

By Blair Kilpatrick

Through age thirty-nine, Blair Kilpatrick had settled into existence as a working towards psychologist, spouse, and mom. Then an opportunity come across in New Orleans became her international the other way up. She back domestic to Chicago with not going new passions for Cajun song and its defining software, the accordion. Captivated by means of ordinary goals of enjoying the Cajun accordion, she got down to grasp it. but she used to be no longer a musician, was once too self-conscious to bounce, and did not even sing within the bathe. Kilpatrick's obsession took her from Chicago's Cajun dance scene to a folks tune camp in West Virginia, backward and forward to south Louisiana, or even to a Cajun competition in France. An unforeseen relations circulate introduced her to the San Francisco Bay quarter, domestic to the biggest Cajun-zydeco song scene open air the Gulf Coast. There she grew to become a prot?g? of well known accordionist Danny Poullard, a Louisiana-born Creole and the guiding spirit of the neighborhood Louisiana French tune group. attractive, uplifting, and illuminating a special patch of the yank cultural panorama, Accordion desires is Kilpatrick's account of the opportunity of ardour, risk-taking, and change--at any age. Blair Kilpatrick has an self sustaining perform in psychotherapy within the San Francisco Bay region. She additionally plays and documents with Sauce Piquante, a conventional Cajun-Creole band she based within the overdue Nineties. examine extra at www.blairkilpatrick.com

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You told me you loved me. J’suis tout seul. I’m all alone. The cassette sleeve didn’t have much space for information. But for a few dollars, you could order notes and song lyrics, along with a music catalog, from the record company: a place called Arhoolie Productions in El Cerrito, California. An odd twist, I thought, a Louisiana band by way of California. I pictured El Cerrito as a dusty little border town, with a few tired palm trees lining a single main street, and Arhoolie Productions housed in a post office box, or maybe someone’s garage.

Finally— someone who knew what I was talking about. And the price was right. No point in investing too much money in an instrument I might never learn to play. Steve and I set out for Walles Music one Saturday when the boys were visiting my parents. We drove through aging Chicago neighborhoods settled by immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. I looked out the window at the mix of wood framed bungalows, auto repair shops, apartment buildings, ethnic bakeries, parish halls, and liquor stores.

One afternoon, as I left a bookstore on Fifty-seventh Street, I scanned the collection of fliers tacked up to a tree outside the door. A political rally. A lecture by a visiting Middle Eastern scholar. Used books for sale. Dissertations typed. Two roommates seeking a third, vegetarian preferred. A Cajun dance. I looked again. No, I hadn’t imagined it. A Cajun band was playing on Sunday, right in the neighborhood, on the austere gothic campus of the University of Chicago. At the time, we lived in Hyde Park, near the lakefront, seven miles south of the Chicago Loop.

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