Gerard Dole

GERARD DOLE: I became interested in American folk music in my teens during a stay in the Southern United States. Hank Williams was my first heroe and his "Jambalaya on the Bayou" urged me to visit Louisiana. Later on, I devoted myself to Cajun Music. In the early 70's in Paris, when I started touring the folk-clubs with myAcadian accordion, there were few French musicians that could play Cajun music properly. It was a treat then when such capable fiddlers as Christian Leroi-Gourhan or Phil Fromont joined me for a jam session at La Vieille Herbe, Le T.M.S. or Le Bourdon folk-clubs. On such occasions, enthusiastic folkies would play along and more than often, one could hear “Jolie Blonde” or “J'ai passe devant ta porte” accompanied by such weird instruments as the hurdy-gurdy or the bagpipe. In those days, I would cross the Channel four or five times a year, pick up musicians and play in London in such folk-clubs as The Macabre in Trafalgar Square, or The Troubadour on Old Brompton Road. I would also go to Amsterdam and play informally in the taverns on the Dam. More than once, they stayed open a couple of hours after closing time to let me sing and squeeze in a few more tunes, to the greatest merriment of all the beer drinkers. In 1974, as the folk scene was becoming more and more organized in Paris, I decided to set up a band totally devoted to Cajun and Creole Music. I called it Krazy Kajun. It was the very first one of its kind in France and was quickly in great demand. Sometimes, on the same week-end, Krazy Kajun would play a gig for two dozen country people in a lost village of Poitou, then shift to a big folk festival where thousands of folkies would greet the band with roaring cheers. In the summer of 1975 I embarked on a liner bound for New York, then travelled by rail down to Louisiana. During my stay in Basile, Evangeline parish, I visited such renowned Cajun or Creole old-timers as Dennis McGee and Sady Courville, Cyprien Landreneau, Fremont Fontenot, Eraste Carriere. I also became acquainted with the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, Marc Savoy, Michael Doucet, and made tapes of their wonderful music. Back in Paris, while my fellow musicians of Krazy Kajun were now turning towards modern jazz, I remained faithful to traditional Cajun and Creole Music and created a new group called Bayou Sauvage. Many musicians played with me and Bayou Sauvage in the next thirty years. This long adventure allowed me to find my own identity in the heart of Cajun music. Not having been born in Southwest Louisiana but having shared so many good times with my bayou friends, I consider myself as a Francadian, that is to say a French musician who devotes himself to the Acadian style while striving to bring to it an extra dimension and a personal touch.