The Traditional Music Ensemble was established in Spring 2011 under the direction of Dr. Mark DeWitt and Mr. Wilson Savoy. In this first version of the ensemble, students are learning standard Cajun and Creole dance tunes by ear in a sort of structured jam session, sitting in a circle. Singing, especially in French, is also encouraged.
Usual instrumentation includes accordion, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and upright bass, but already we have had students play instruments less frequently heard in Louisiana French music, such as the piano and the clarinet. Guitarists who can play lead are also welcome and will need a small amp to be heard. So whatever you play, come and audition for us the first week of class and show us what you got!
Public ensemble performances the first semester included a reception in the lobby of Angelle Hall and the closing gala for the Festival of the Arts, held in Dupré Library. The group has since led jam sessions at Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in October, played at festivals sponsored by Louisiana Folk Roots, and played onstage in Angelle Hall with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys..
“Traditional Music Ensemble” is ultimately a flexible concept with the potential to take many forms, depending on student interest, initiative, and instructor availability. A bluegrass edition was established by Dr. Len Springer in Spring 2014. Plans for next fall include a return of the Cajun and bluegrass ensembles, and the addition of a zydeco ensemble, led by Nathan Williams Jr. For further questions about traditional music ensembles or about the traditional music major, please contact Dr. DeWitt at 337.482.1020 or dewitt [AT] louisiana.edu