Bonsoir Catin. Light the Stars.
2014. Valcour Records.
Issued by the always-great record label Valcour Records, the new album from Louisiana belles Bonsoir Catin is just what the doctor ordered in the world of Cajun music. Though women have historically been front and center in Cajun music (shouts to Cléoma Falcon), they haven’t always been bandleaders, accordionists or powerhouse personalities. Bonsoir Catin rock HARD, as hard as any Cajun band ever made, and it’s great that they’re out in front of the scene now. In fact, this album was just nominated for a Grammy! Bonsoir Catin is basically a supergroup, with each member being involved in their own well-received solo projects. Acoustic guitarist Christine Balfa comes from the Balfa Toujours clan, bassist Yvette Landry is a killer country songwriter and released a wonderful country album of her own in 2014, fiddler Anya Burgess plays in the Magnolia Sisters (also up for a 2014 Grammy), accordionist Kristi Guillory is a great songwriter and has her own solo album an project, and electric guitarist Meagan Berard plays in her own group Sweet Cecilia and played with her father, the great Al Berard, whose much lamented passing has shaken up the Cajun music community this year. Together, Bonsoir Catin are nigh-on unstoppable. Guillory pens most of the songs on the new album and she’s one of the few Cajun artists writing original songs in Cajun French. Great songs too, slow-burner “Jours si longs” (The Days Are So Long) aches with heartbreak laid over a fiercely defiant accordion line. There’s a lot of variety to this album, which is the real delight here. I can listen to a lot of traditional Cajun dance music, and have done so, but I also love to hear where the tradition is going today. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” turns in a blazing cover filled with surly fiddles and overclocked vocals that hint at a much rougher edge than I usually hear in Cajun dancehalls. It proves that Cajuns get the blues too! Pick this disc up to hear what Cajun music sounds like today!
By: Devon Leger