Eddie Lejeune, 1951-2001
Note: In all of the photos I took of Bubba Hebert at the Liberty Theater, grandson of Eddie Lejeune, Bubba played the accordion while standing on the stage. On Dec. 15, 2018, when he performed seated, I was immediately reminded of photos I took of his grandfather in 1999 with an early model Olympus digital camera. I reprocessed those photos to lighten them and uploaded them in a revised Flickr album with additional information about Eddie Lejeune, replacing the album uploaded in 2008.

Eddie Lejeune was born in 1951 when his father, the legendary Iry Lejeune, was already a celebrated Cajun musician who played accordion and composed songs that are now Cajun standards. After his father died in 1955 in a tragic highway accident, Lejeune learned the accordion by watching his grandmother play. According to the biographical sketch in Let the Good Times Roll, Lejeune grew up in rural poverty, so that playing the accordion became not only an expression of musical talent but also a way of earning money for his family. He subsequently worked at rice mills and in the oil fields, and he also was a tenant farmer. Though he continued to play, he did not record until he was 37.

In an interview with David Willging, Lejeune described his playing as "a real hard and pure style. It's completely original...It comes from the heart." Lejeune performed with a fiddler and guitarist--no drummer--so that he set the rhythm and timing for the group. As Lejeune explained, because the instruments play at the same level, "Everybody can distinctly hear each instrument. It's so much purer and cleaner and more original." Lejeune also sang in the old style, reminiscent of the pre-amplification days when a singer's voice would have to carry across the dance hall. He explained, "I am really pushing from the heart when I sing."

Eddie Lejeune's albums, released by Rounder Records, include "It's in the Blood" (1991) with Lionel Leleux on fiddle, Hubert Maitre on guitar, and Eddie Lejeune Jr. on triangle, "Le Trio Cadien" (1992) and "Cajun Soul" (1988), both with Ken Smith on fiddle and D.L. Menard on guitar, and "Cajun Spirit" (1998) with Terry Huval on fiddle and Hubert Maitre on guitar.

Eddie LeJeune died January 9, 2001. He suffered an apparent heart attack while working at a construction site near Eunice. He had been scheduled to perform January 13 at the Liberty Theater.

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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