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Bayou Curious Liner Notes

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1. Dame Lombarde • A traditional song from Piedmont with many versions in France. Wife wants to poison her husband, gets help from someone (her lover?). They go into the forest, kill 'the green snake' which they put in the husband's red wine because when he comes back from hunting he'll be thirsty. The baby in the cradle who has never spoken before warns dad that he'll die if he drinks the wine. Dad suggests that mom drink the wine, which she inexplicably does, and dies. This is a very early Borgia style blues. Beth: vocals, bouzouki, bass; Serge: dulcitare, vocals; Michael: fiddle; Richard: biniou kozh; Larry: bombarde; Wolf: Bonham-esque mini drum kit

2. Ronds de Loudia • A set of "round dances" from Loudia in central Brittany. Richard got the first tune from Ar Re Yaouank (The Young Guys). Larry learned the second rond from Jean-Michel when his band Kornog toured Texas in 1986. The last two ronds are from a 1994 recording by Bagad Kemper, Lip Ar Maout on which Jean-Michel played flute with guitarist Gilles Le Bigot. In this dance, participants fold arms over each other and form a circle, men and women alternating, while moving to the left. Dancers in Loudia evidently were fond of wearing shawls and it's thought that the arm position of the dance was developed as a discrete way to prevent their shawls from slipping off while dancing. Wolf: djembe, doumbek, kick drum, cymbals, inappropriate Deutsch Klänge; Beth: bouzouki, Serge: dulcitare; Richard: highland pipes; Larry: wooden flute

3. La Bétaille, Madame Sosthène • Beth sings the intro mimicking an old unreleased field recording of Isom Fontenot, which was collected by the great Cajun archivist Revon Reed. Serge heard La bétaille (The wild thing in the little tree) played by Isom Fontenot on harmonica on the album: Louisiana Cajun and Creole Music: The Newport Field Recordings (recorded between 1964-1967). Then he fell in love with Michael's adaptation with BeauSoleil in the early 80s. La valse de Madame Sosthène comes from a 1934 recording by Joe Falcon and Cleoma Breaux. Alida was the daughter of Joe's uncle Sosthène Falcon, and "Mme Sosthène" was his wife, Josephine, Alida's mother. Richard: highland pipes; Beth: vocals, bouzouki, bass; Serge: accordion, vocals; Michael: fiddle; Wolf: Cajun swamp kit; Larry: tin whistle

4. Galine Galo / Gavotenn / Salangadou • Beth learned Galine Galo back in 1990 with the band Renaissance Cadienne. Many of the words to this lullaby are nonsensical, but roughly meaning, "look at the moon, look at the water." The gavotenn (gavotte) she first heard on an LP by Irish band Clannad. Salangadou is a haunting Creole lullaby Beth played with Les Vermilionnaires. It translates, "Salangadou, listen to the little girl over there," and is commonly believed to be a mother's lament for her abducted daughter. The earliest collections of the song date to 1909 with Peterson Creole Songs from New Orleans. Beth: vocals, bouzouki, cor Anglais, 8-string electric dulcitare; Larry: wooden flute; Jean-Michel: wooden flute; Wolf: batoon, ice bells

5. The Brewery Tap • A tune Richard composed in 1999 in honor of "The Brewery Tap" in Houston where he's spent many a happy hour. It grew out of a jam session there with EJ Jones. Richard had just moved to Houston and if the tune had words they would be about finding hope in the midst of despair. Wolf: djembe, doumbek, kick drum, cymbals, shakers; Beth: bouzouki; Richard: smallpipes; Jean-Michel: wooden flute

6. An Dro / Aux Natchitoches • The an dro is one of the most popular dances in Brittany, and one of the easiest, thus the eternal question at the fest noz: à quelle heure vous jouez les an dro?. It is played here underneath an old Cajun song Aux Natchitoches, largely based on a recording by Bee Deshotels, with a few variations by Harry Leonard and Serge. Michael recorded the song with Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band in 1981. It tells of a man who goes to Natchitoches to see his lover but when he arrives she is dying. Beth: bouzouki, vocals, bass; Michael: fiddle; Wolf: doumbek, shakers, batoon; Richard: biniou kozh; Larry: bombarde

7. Bale Lann-Bihoué / Dañs Plin • Serge got the first march, composed by Polig Monjarret, from a 1965 recording by official French navy bagpipe band, Bagad Lann-Bihoué. The first dañs plin is from Skeduz, one of our favorite Breton bands. The second plin is also from an old bagad recording Serge dug up somewhere. The plin (dañs tro plin) is from Pays Plinn in central-western Brittany. Men and women alternate and hold arms over/under and move in a circle to the left (though we understand they move to the right in the Southern hemisphere). The body hardly moves and the feet are kept quite flat while stepping "barely higher than a cigarette paper." The plin is believed to have originated as a fun way to beat earth floors or prepare threshing grounds in preparation for the annual battage. Serge: dulcitare; Richard: highland pipes; Wolf: djembe, doumbek, kick drum, cymbals, shakers; Larry: bombarde; Beth: bouzouki

8. En revenant des noces • This is a Berry version of A la claire fontaine (By the Clear Fountain) a traditional French song with numerous regional versions in France as well as in French-speaking Canada. In this version, a girl on her way back from a wedding stops by a fountain and laments to a nightingale that she has lost her lover because she refused to give him a bouquet of roses. Serge heard singer Catherine Perrier and fiddler John Wright on Catherine's 1973 album: Chansons traditionnelles Françaises. Dedicated to John Wright, who passed away shortly before we began this recording. Serge: dulcitare, vocals, coffee & cigarettes; Jean-Michel: tin whistles; Wolf: batoon; Beth: pieds, 8-string electric dulcitare; Paul: Cajun Cannon, ribbon crasher

9. Suite de ridées six temps / Acadian Two-Step • This one is a bit of an odyssey. We begin with a suite of "ridées in 6 time" from Pays de Redon. Typically, ridées 6 temps are in 6/8 time, but here the 1st and 3rd tunes seem to be in 4/4. Evidently the dancers are not confused. Serge learned this from an old cassette tape of a band called Vents D'Oust which boasts two of the finest luthiers in Brittany, Gilbert Hervieux and Olivier Glet, who made our bombardes and biniou kozh heard herein. After laying out a traditional Breton riff, we segue into the Acadian 2-step, a tune Serge learned from Michael many years ago. We figure geography dictated that most Cajuns have some Breton blood, and like to think that this medley unscientifically proves it. Serge: accordion; Beth: bass, bouzouki; Wolf: cymbals, kick drum, Cajun swamp kit; Larry: wooden flute; Richard: smallpipes, highland pipes; Michael: fiddle

10. Mardi Gras • Beth grew up singing this song, then played and/or recorded it with assorted lineups, including Renaissance Cadienne, Les Vermilionnaires, The Big Easy Playboys, and her first solo record Hybrid Vigor. This song is about the traditional Mardi Gras of Mamou, the celebration that precedes Lent and involves processions of masked men on horseback, going from farmhouse to farmhouse, engaging in revelry in exchange for ingredients used to make a communal gumbo at the end of the day. Beth: bouzouki, vocals; Wolf: djembe, doumbek, kick drum, cymbals, shakers; Richard: biniou kozh; Larry: bombarde

11. The Snuff Wife / Cutting Bracken / The Braes of Mellinish • A set of Scottish piping jigs. Richard, Larry & Serge learned these tunes from various recordings by Brian's Battlefield Band, Rare Air (formerly Na Cabarfeidh) and Silly Wizard. The Snuff Wife is by Iain MacDonald. A "snuff wife" is a seller of powdered tobacco. Cutting Bracken (Tha mi sgìth in Gaelic) originated from Puirt à beul (mouth music), often sung as 'work songs' or to keep the English from hearing your pipes. Cutting Bracken is often referred to in Scotland as "Puin' (Pulling) Bracken". The Braes of Mellinish is a Scottish country dance tune (Bruachan Mhealanais in Gaelic). The tune appears in William Gunn's Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes, 1848, and is attributed to "Captain Mackay." Brian has heard it referred to as Kentigern's Jig. Richard: highland pipes; Serge: dulcitare; Wolf: djembe, doumbek, kick drum, cymbals; Brian: fiddle, octave fiddle; Larry: wooden flute; Beth: bouzouki

Thanks / Remerciements: May and Roger Waggoner, Jean-Michel Veillon, Franklin Coleman, Michael Doucet, Brian McNeill, Kerry Griechen,, Noi & Sidhtini Rone, Christina, Kitty, & Shay Loescher, Harry Leonard, Stétrice, Mitch Reed, Steve Langr, Infiniti Reeds, Les Vermilionnaires, Kristen Jensen, EJ Jones, Mark Stone, Sean Orr, Gene Milligan, and to Jacky, Jamie, Patrick, Christian, Nicolas, Gilles, Soïg, Yann-Fañch, Youen, Fañch, Yann, Alan, Ronan, Jaques, Alain, Stéphane, Erwan, Gilbert, Olivier, Donal, Andy, Christy, Liam, Johnny, Matt, Paddy, Kevin, Frankie, Micho, Gabriel, Nigel, Johnny, Phil and all the other great musicians we've stolen from over the years.