NotesI typed up the booklet that comes wth the LP or the cover of it. There probably are typos that are mine and there are typos on the booklet, I left most they way it was printed.
Louisiana Creole Music
This record gives a sampling of the older reaming styles of black creole music from the prairies of lower louisiana, such as it was played at the beginning of this century and until the coming of Zydeco(a modern style which will not be treated here).
According to the strict dictionary definition, a CREOLE is a person of pure white blood born in a country inhabited by blacks. In the course of time, the French speaking, catholic black of lower Louisiana adopted the word 'creole' and applied it among themselves as a term of praise.
The Black creole's colour, his past, his culture and his life distinguish him from his Cajun neighbors. He has assumed many traits of the Louisiana French, practising their religion and speaking their language but still shows some vestigial traces of his African background.His social standing remains inferior to that of his white counterpart. He is a small share-cropper or manual laborer in the fields and is employed for the most arduous and the lest rewarding work. Music and dance occupy a very important place in his life.
Louisiana black creole music ranges from the getile music tothe blues.
Light complexion musicians play a softer, more structured music with polite words which sounds more or less like that of their Cajun neighbors(for whom the often played), while the darker ones treat their black audience with their own sound : boisterous, bluesy, erotic and sull of characteristic african drive.
In fact, one could speak more of a distinct sound(wild or polite) that of a distinct reptory: some like Fremont Fontenot or Etienne Lewis will render waltzes and two steps in a bluesy style, while others like Eraste Carriere will play a blues strictly following the structure of the dance. In the same way, Carriere will play a version of the melody precisely, while Lewis will make use of abundant improvisation to enrich it.
In the black creole community, the women are the primary carriers of the solo vocal and story telling tradition. The men are the players of the intrumental music, using song words chiefly as an embelisment to the dance tunes.
Because in the past this music ws rarely played for more than family and close neighbors, a solo musician usually woul be sufficent for a house dance: one fiddler, one accordion player.(it is intersting to note that accoding to one very plausible theory, the accordion - later used extensively in cajun music- was first used in the region by black creoles who invented a bluesy cross-key technics).
Occasionaly two musicians played together: an accordion was sometimes backed by a washboard or by a "as de betaille, a mule;s jaw stuck in rythm, or even by a triangle, The accordion could also be accompanied by a fiddle.
Vocal technics(pitch, hollers, free improvisation of words on domestic subjects) were only slightly similar to that of the neighboring cajuns.
The reprtoire preserved white nineteen century dances from the West Indies and early Louisiana adapted to their styles: contredanse, valse, mazurka ad 'mordern' american dances: one step, two step, dixieland, shoefly blues.
INEZ CATALON was born in 1913. She lives in the village of KAPLAN. She knows a large number of old ballads, tales, ditties, lullabies of Plantation times.
ERASTE CARRI'ERE was born in 1901. He live in MALLET, just outside the village of LAWTELL. "My parents lived in Praire Ronde, that's were I was born and brought up. Then they moved to Plaquemine where I met my wife. Afterwards, we came to live here in Mallet."
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