The accordion can be heard played around the world to a variety of music, be it French songs, polkas, Jewish music, and even heavy metal. But on March 22 Vancouver will get the chance to hear the accordion played Creole-style. Musician Jeffrey Broussard will be in town with his accordion, fiddle, and his band The Creole Cowboys.
“Music is a gift that God gave me to pass on,” says Broussard. “Music is in my genes, in my blood. I inherited it from my parents. I know nothing else better to do … I do it to make people happy, and myself. I don’t want our Creole traditions to die.”
Broussard was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1967. He is the youngest of eleven children, and despite his admission that he was the most spoiled he says he still had to make some sacrifices for the family.
“I quit school after the seventh grade,” admits Broussard. “When I quit school, all I did was farming [sic] and playing [sic] music. I did this to help try to make ends meet … I’m not ashamed to say it, but we needed the money.”
Broussard’s career has expanded since he was that small boy with an accordion hanging from his neck. He has been reviewed by major newspapers in New York, won several awards across the United States and is now on tour throughout North America.
Clad in cowboy gear, Broussard imagines himself as an ambassador for music that is not only a part of his life, but a huge part of a heritage whose influence he wants to bring into today’s mainstream music.
“I do it to keep our traditions going because the music being played today is not traditional music,” says Broussard. “There are not very many traditional musicians left. I am the only one besides Geno Delafose who is playing traditional Zydeco music.”
Zydeco music originated in southwest Louisiana in the early part of the 19th century. The music combines traditions which began with Cajun music in the 1700s, and included the French fiddle. Today Broussard’s intention is to bring the music of his ancestors to audiences unfamiliar with Zydeco.
“My goal and that of my band, The Creole Cowboys, is to keep our tradition going, to continue making people all over the world happy,” says Broussard. “I hope to get more of the younger generation at home and abroad interested in our Creole music and culture. The Creole Cowboys and I look forward to performing our Creole and Zydeco music and sharing it with our Vancouver audience so that they can develop an interest and appreciation of our Creole roots based in Southwest Louisiana.
Visit www.roguefolk.bc.ca for tickets and more information.