For over 40 years, BeauSoleil have blended the rich Cajun traditions of Louisiana with elements of zydeco, New Orleans Jazz, country and blues to become the most esteemed Cajun group in music. A twelve-time Grammy Award nominee and two-time Grammy award winner (1998 & 2010), BeauSoleil were the first Cajun Band ever to win a Grammy and have released 25 albums. Perhaps no single band is more responsible for popularizing the unique Cajun sounds of the Louisiana bayou than BeauSoleil.
Recognizing founder, lead singer and fiddler Michael Doucet for his involvement with the Cajun world, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him with a National Heritage fellowship in 2005 as well as the United States Artist Fellowship in 2007.
A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” (Keillor calls them “the best Cajun band in the world”), BeauSoleil have also made appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Austin City Limits, the Super Bowl XXXI pre-game show, and HBO’s New Orleans-based hit show “Treme.”
But BeauSoleil is not just about re-creating a traditional sound without lending it a new accent. While they are experts in Cajun tradition, they are equally at home channeling the godfathers of other music as well, by including a Cajun/La La-style reimagining of James Brown’s classic 1962 Live at the Apollo version of “I’ll Go Crazy,” and a swing version of John Coltrane’s “Bessie’s Blues.” Guitarist David Doucet even tucks an occasional Lester Flatt-style bluegrass G-run into his highly melodic guitar solos. In recent years, the group has been exploring the African roots of its music.
The Boston Globe brilliantly noted that, “the remarkable thing about Cajun revivalists BeauSoleil is that they are still inviting us to ask what’s new. BeauSoleil isn’t neo-anything. This ensemble finds freshness not by infusing vintage styles with contemporary sonics, but with vibrant, thoughtful fusions.” Indeed their presentation of newness and reverence of tradition is the heart of the band. “People know Cajun music being from Southwest Louisiana and because of the longitude and the latitude, but it has influences from all over: Nova Scotia, France, Delta blues, the islands, and the traditional improvisational aspects of New Orleans. We’re always pushing that envelope,” comments Michael Doucet. “All the songs are different – there aren’t two songs that sound remotely alike though they are played with the same set of instruments. That comes from these rebellious hearts that we always had. We’ve always taken chances. To attempt to create great music of any kind, one has to take chances.”
As always on an evening featuring Louisiana music, you can expect Helsinki Hudson executive chef Hugh Horner, a native of the bayou himself, to pull out all stops with a menu perfectly according with the musique du jour.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.