Called the “best Cajun band in the world” by Garrison Keillor, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet will play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at West Kortright Centre, at 49 West Kortright Church Road in East Meredith.
The group, a multiple Grammy Awards winner, mixes Cajun tradition with dollops of zydeco, Tex-Mex, western swing, blues, New Orleans traditional jazz and Caribbean calypso. Since forming in 1975, BeauSoleil has release 29 albums and “elevated Cajun music to one of national and worldwide acclaim,” a media release said.
While most Cajun bands revolve around their accordionist, BeauSoleil emphasizes fiddle, showcasing it in its arrangements, the release said. The group was the first Cajun band to play the frottoir — the rub board that’s a staple of zydeco — to first to record songs by Amedee Ardoin and Dennis McGee, the first to feature a female vocalist and the first to incorporate an acoustic guitar.
Doucet said of the band’s genre-bending style: “We were the first Cajun band to really bring back the acoustic sounds. We didn’t plug in until the sound go so bad in the late 80s” ... “It’s music that we learned acoustically around the table. It didn’t evolve around a group or an image. It was just a group of friends that wanted to have a good time and develop it.”
Tickets are $30 for adults, $26 for West Kortright Centre members and $18 for those under 19 years old. For more details, call 278-5454 or go to www.westkc.org/performances.
The band is on tour in the Northeast, playing new songs from its forthcoming album being recorded in Nashville, set for release in January. The group’s latest album is 2010’s Grammy nominee “Alligator Purse,” which grew out of Doucet’s participation in the Build the Levee benefit concert at Bard College to assist victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The album was recorded at Clubhouse Recording Studio in Rhinebeck where Doucet rehearsed for the concert.