Cajun Accordion Kings and the Queen at the Liberty Theater, March 24, 2018 Cajun Acco
Cajun Accordion Kings and the Queen presented five accordion greats at the Liberty Theater March 14, 2018 before a packed crowd in a second edition of the show format Steve Riley Productions premiered last year.

After opening the show with the stage band, High Performance, Steve Riley introduced each of the star musicians with brief biographical highlights and then chatted with them about their careers in between performances of some of musicians’ signature songs that won many awards and remain popular today.

Jimmy Breaux, who comes from a legendary family that includes his grandfather Amede Breaux and his great aunt Cleoma Breaux Falcon and who, for many years, was a member of the Grammy-winning band BeauSoleil, played “Papa George Special” and “Wafus Two Step.”

Jackie Caillier, joined by his band members Ivy Dugas on vocals and Benny Mueller on fiddle and harmony vocals, performed “Le chemin de gravois,” “Cajun from Church Point,” and “La valse heritage.” Jackie explained that his band’s name, Cajun Cousins, was provided by a human resources secretary at Dupont in 1975 when she needed a name for the put-together band that Jackie had recruited to perform at a company function. He used that name when the actual band Cajun Cousins came together in 1995. Describing the inspiration for the stories his song tell, Ivy said, “I’ve lived it, or I know somebody that lived it.”

“The Queen” promised in the show title was, of course, Sheryl Cormier, the first female accordionist to lead a Cajun band. As always, she was joined on stage by her husband, vocalist Russell Cormier, who presented her with bouquet of roses. They performed “Mon Coeur et mon amour,” “La bouteille” and “Bosco Stomp.”

Robert Jardell, who played with the Balfa Brothers and with Dewey Balfa and later organized his own band, Pure Cajun, performed a set with his son Chase on triangle and Steve Riley on guitar: “Pure Cajun Special,” “Where Were You Last Wednesday?” and “Pine Grove Blues,” the song made famous by Nathan Abshire, a musician whose style Jardell especially admired.

Jesse Lege, who has received a host of awards and honors over the years, fondly recalled listening to Cajun music on battery radio in a home without electricity where, until he was 14, he and his eight siblings lived near Gueydan. He told Steve that at age 50 he decided to leave Louisiana, thinking of going to California but instead finding employment in the Northeast. He currently lives in Austin. He opened his set with “La valse de quatre-vingt-dix-neuf ans,” accompanied by only fiddle and guitar, and closed with “Memoires dans mon coeur.” (His set came after the end of the radio broadcast recording of the show, so I’m not sure of the other song he played—“Evangeline Special”?)

To end the show, all of the accordionists gathered on stage for a rousing rendition of “J’étais au bal.”

Show sponsors included Louisiana Folk Roots, KBON 101.1, Mustang 107.1, Pure Country 106.7, Orion Case, The Best Stop Supermarket, Doug Ashy Building Materials, Ruddock’s Bakery, and Rocky’s Cajun Kitchen.

Steve Riley Productions will offer a 2018 edition of Cajun Fiddle Masters at the Liberty May 19, 2018. Watch for details at steverileyproductions.com/.

All photos in this album were taken from the balcony with a Nikon D5 using a Sigma 150-600 mm lens and available light with the exception of the shot of dancers, taken with a Nikon 24-70 lens and flash.

For a listing of Cajun and Zydeco bands and Mardi Gras photos included on these Flickr pages, go to www.cajunzydecophotos.com or www.cajunzydecophotos.com/mobile.
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