Resources: Genres and Performers: CajunCajun people are descendants of French-Canadians who moved to Louisiana from Acadia (now known as New Bruswick, Nova Scotia) when they would not swear allegiance to Britain (when it conquered the French colony).
About 4000 Acadians (Cajun is a derivation of Acadian) moved to the bayou and began to live in the small, self-contained communities that still exist along the Gulf of Mexico. Meeting and marrying African, European and Native American people in the bayou, Cajun people became distinct from thier French-Canadian immigrant Acadians. However, Cajuns retain many customs, traditions, foods and music styles.
Cajun music combines the musical traditions of the ethnic groups that have merged: French contredanses, Anglo-American jigs and reels, Native American vocal wails of Native Americans, and syncopated rhythms and vocal improvisation of black slaves. German-style accordians replaced the fiddle as the lead instrument in Cajun bands in the 1800s. The music employs lively tempos, significant repitition, and keening lyrics, often in the Cajun dialect.
Modern Cajun bands, like the well known group Beausoleil, pictured above, now typically include accordian, fiddle, guitar, and a variety of percussion instruments (including a wash-board like metal plate that players hand on their chests and strum with spoons). We need to learn more about Cajun to provide a really good page on it. For now, we can only list a number of performers of which we are aware.