Big Muddy Folk Festival


Ray Abshire Trio
Cathy Barton & Dave Para
and Bob Dyer

Byron Berline & Barry Patton
Peter & Lou Berryman
Ralph Duren
Leela & Ellie Grace
Polka Don Lipovac
Katy Moffat
Bill Spence & George Wilson
Matt Watroba

Missouri Folk Arts Program





Web design by Don Shorock


Big Muddy Folk Festival
Boonville, Missouri
April 5—6, 2002

Ray Abshire Trio

Some of the employees at the Isle of Capri who hail from Louisiana may not quite appreciate how lucky we are to have Cajun music in Central Missouri, but we thank the Isle very much for presenting music from one of the richest folk traditions in America.

Cajun music was in danger of being lost in the American pop culture jungle some decades ago, but a cultural revival in the region has nurtured new generations of musicians paying homage to the masters they learned from. The descendants of the likes of Dewey Balfa, Nathan Abshire and "Bois Sec" Ardoin are playing well and breathing new life into the music.

The hot mix that is the Cajun tradition offers everything a culture could want for fun: fine fiddle music with strong rhythms for great dancing and heavy on the squeezebox; song traditions that remain indigenous and yet absorb styles and sources from everywhere; and great food to revive you when you're all played out.

Ray Abshire: Born and raised in "Bayou Country," Ray learned his trade during the '50s and '60s "Dance Hall Era" of South Louisiana. Inspired at an early age by his cousin the legendary Nathan Abshire, Ray began performing at age 14. He also studied under pioneer greats Amadie Breaux and Octa Clark. His first band included Cajun fiddle great Lionel Leleux. During this period he also performed with fiddlers Will Kegley and Robert Bertrand who was a big influence on his soaring vocal style. In 1969 Ray was invited by the late great Dewey Balfa to be accordionist for the Balfa Brothers Band, considered by many to be the quintessential Cajun band. He performed with them until 1975. Today he is recognized as a master musician and remains true to the hard-core traditional sound he grew up with.

Al Berard: Al began playing fiddle at age 11. He has also mastered the mandolin and guitar. Al is a songwriter and has recorded under Rounder and Swallow record labels. He was a Grammy nominee for his "Let's Get Cajun" release for Flying Fish. Al has shared the stage with Cajun greats Doug Kershaw and Jimmy C. Newman and has a heart-felt Cajun fiddle style admired by many in his field.

Bobby Dumatrait: Bobby was raised in the heart of Cajun country and began playing acoustic guitar at a very young age. For the past 20 years Bobby has performed with the nationally acclaimed Cajun band "Jambalaya." His rock solid rhythm has made him one of the most sought after guitarists in Cajun music.