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Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 2007

greg stephens 22 May 07 - 04:34 PM
Peace 22 May 07 - 04:38 PM
katlaughing 22 May 07 - 04:38 PM
Peace 22 May 07 - 04:41 PM
PoppaGator 22 May 07 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 May 07 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 23 May 07 - 02:56 PM
katlaughing 23 May 07 - 03:05 PM
fat B****rd 23 May 07 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,redhorse at work 07 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM
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Subject: Obit: Bois-Sec Ardoin
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 May 07 - 04:34 PM

Bois-Sec SArdoin has just died. I'm not technically competent to provided blue clickies to news and obituaries, so I hope someone can do that. He was a great Lousiana Creole muscian of huge importance. His music has been called La La, or just Creole. It was the black French music that preceded zydeco, and then overlapped with it, in Louisiana. I never had the pleasure of hearing him live, (though I had a drink with his musical partner Canray Fonenot once!). I also played a lot with JC Gallow, who himself played a lot with Bois-Sec and a lot of his children and grand-chidren: so I got a lot Of Bois-Sec's repertoire second-hand via JC.
   A great influence on me and many similar British cajun and zydeco wannabees, and of course an even greater influence on Louisiana music proper, both black and white.
Sympathy to his very extensive family.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Bois-Sec Ardoin
From: Peace
Date: 22 May 07 - 04:38 PM

Bois-Sec Ardoin

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Subject: RE: Obit: Bois-Sec Ardoin
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 May 07 - 04:38 PM

Here's one from the NYTimes, Greg:

Published: May 20, 2007

Alphonse Ardoin, a Louisiana Creole accordionist and singer nicknamed Bois Sec whose music stalwartly sustained South Louisiana tradition, died Wednesday of natural causes in Eunice, La., where he had been living in a nursing home, said his son Morris. He was 91 years old.

For five decades, Alphonse Ardoin worked regularly with the fiddler Canray Fontenot, trading quick-fingered passages on some of the oldest known Creole tunes and infusing Cajun waltzes with the blues. English speakers sometimes called the style "la la music," but it was known by its players simply as "la musique Creole."

Eventually, the Creole waltzes and two-steps would be punched up, plugged in and fused with rhythm and blues, creating the zydeco music that still fills South Louisiana dance halls. In 1986, Mr. Ardoin and Mr. Fontenot (who died in 1995) both received from the National Endowment for the Arts the National Heritage Fellowship, the highest American award for traditional arts.

Alphonse Ardoin was born in 1915 in rural Duralde, La., the son of sharecroppers, and he worked on farms all his life. As a child, he was nicknamed Bois Sec ("dry wood"), because he had a reputation for being the first in the cotton fields to seek shelter during Louisiana's sudden downpours.

Mr. Ardoin took up the button accordion, an instrument that had a family tradition. His cousin Amédé Ardoin made pioneering recordings of French Creole music with the fiddler Dennis McGee. Alphonse Ardoin took up the accordion and learned his cousin's style, in part by playing triangle in Amédé's band. According to Michael Tisserand's book "The Kingdom of Zydeco," Alphonse told his cousin, "It won't be long until I catch up with you."

But music remained a sideline until the 1940s, when he started working regularly with Mr. Fontenot. As the Duralde Ramblers, they played at dances and parties and on a live radio show broadcast from Eunice. Their reputation spread so widely that they were booked at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. On the way back south from the festival, they stopped in Virginia and recorded their first album, "Les Blues du Bayou," which was later reissued by Arhoolie as "La Musique Creole."

As the old Creole style was replaced by zydeco on the dance-hall circuit, Mr. Ardoin and Mr. Fontenot took their music to folk festivals and concerts worldwide. In the 1970s, Mr. Ardoin added his sons Morris, Lawrence and Gustave to his group, which became the Ardoin Family Orchestra.

He also recorded and performed with the Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa and later with a younger generation of Creole traditionalists, notably Balfa Toujours, led by Dewey's daughter Christine, with whom he made the 1998 album "Allons Danser." And through the years, Mr. Ardoin's songs made their way into the repertory of zydeco bands and traditionalist groups like Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

He is survived by a brother, Delphin; his children, Morris, Florence, Mildred, Amelia, Dorothy, Juanita, Emily, Alberta, Matilda, Lawrence, Ronald and Russell; and "a whole bunch" of grandchildren, Morris Ardoin said. Three of those grandchildren — Dexter, Sean and Chris — lead their own bands, playing Creole music and zydeco."

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Subject: RE: Obit: Bois-Sec Ardoin
From: Peace
Date: 22 May 07 - 04:41 PM

Musical legend Bois Sec Ardoin laid to rest

Herman Fuselier

EUNICE - When James Adams ended his Zydeco Pas Salé radio show at 3 a.m. Monday, he spent the next four hours driving east on Interstate 10. Adams was determined to be in Louisiana for the funeral of Creole accordion legend Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin.

Adams' three-hour program was dedicated to Ardoin and the family's rich musical legacy. Adams is not family, but Ardoin moved him to play traditional music.

"He was my inspiration from a kid," Adams said. "When the family used to come to the International Festival and the Cajun Gumbo Cook-off in Houston, I remember that like it was yesterday.

"He would play on the back of a little trailer. People just went crazy.
"Even went I got older, every time they would come to Houston, I would miss work and come to see them."

Adams was among the friends, fans and relatives who attended Ardoin's funeral Monday at the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.

Ardoin, 91, died of natural causes Wednesday at the Eunice Manor Nursing Home.

Ardoin was among the first musicians to record "la-la," the rural house party music of black Creole sharecroppers. After World War II, la-la blended with urban rhythm and blues and became zydeco. Ardoin and fiddler Canray Fontenot played the traditional Creole style for 50 years before Fontenot died in 1995.

Their partnership not only made them local favorites but also earned the duo an appearance at Carnegie Hall and shows at music festivals across the globe. In 1986, Bois Sec and Canray, as they were called by fans, earned a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation's highest honor for traditional arts.

Ardoin's death was reported in the Sunday New York Times, which even impressed his grandson Sean, part of the family's fourth generation to record Creole music and zydeco.

"When you grow up next to a mountain, you don't know how large it is," he said. "But whenever somebody sent me an e-mail that showed the New York Times said that he died, that shows you that with the mountain called Bois Sec, the view of him was far and wide.

"I'm just glad to be a little foothill on the mountain of Bois Sec."

Ed Poullard, a fiddler and accordionist from Beaumont, Texas, was among the many who remember Ardoin as a "quiet gentleman" who was always willing to share his time and music with others.

"Even when he was in the public eye, there was always a silent part of him that people didn't really grasp," said Poullard, a Eunice native. "He had a big family around him all the time.

"He really appreciated his quiet moments. But he didn't let on that he was glad to be away from people. He always welcomed people. I always remember that about him, and people appreciate that."

Melvin Ceasar, Ardoin's cousin and co-host of the Zydeco est pas Salé program on KRVS, said Ardoin remained humble despite his worldwide notoriety.

"His legend was the accordion," Ceasar said, "but he was just an old Creole man, and he never forgot that.

"For Creole people, it's hard for them to say no. And that was him. Whatever you wanted, he said OK.

"The thought was what you give today, you're going to get it back. All the stuff he gave, now he's getting ready to get it back."

With 12 of his 14 children still living, Ardoin also is survived by 32 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Bois-Sec Ardoin
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 May 07 - 05:06 PM

What a great old guy.

I saw and heard him live, with Mr. Fontenont, a few times ~ not recently ~ in the early days of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, back when the festival was a much more low-key (and more inexpensive!) affair attended almost entirely by local folks.

Interesting that our first word of his passing came all the way from England. Except for Greg, I might not have known about this until the TV news later this evening, or maybe not even until opening up tomorrow morning's newspaper.

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Subject: RE: Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 2007
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 May 07 - 06:00 PM

A big loss. At the Univ. Of Chicago Folk Festival (and at the party afterwards) Bois Sec was simply a wonderful and accessible musician and man. I have many fond memories to take with me of this good gent.


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Subject: RE: Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 2007
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 May 07 - 02:56 PM

No-one yet has mentioned the Les Blank film "Dry Wood and Hot Pepper" Did that film not feature Bois Sec Ardoin? and whilst on the subject is it yet available on DVD?


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Subject: RE: Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 20
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 May 07 - 03:05 PM

All of Les Blank's films are offered on DVD at his website.

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Subject: RE: Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 2007
From: fat B****rd
Date: 23 May 07 - 04:32 PM

RIP Mr. Ardoin. See you at the dance.

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Subject: RE: Obit: creole musician Bois-Sec Ardoin - May 2007
From: GUEST,redhorse at work
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM

Just saw his obit in the Grauniad. Bois Sec Ardoin

We were lucky enough to see him at Merlefest in '97 with Balfa Toujours. Apart from the music, what really stuck in the memory was his beautiful fluidity of movement. At no time in my life have I been able to move like that, and I sure as hell won't be able to when I'm 80!


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