Bois Sec & Marceline Ardoin Interview

When I lived in Richmond, Virginia, one of my first and favorite Louisiana LPs was an album from the Arhoolie label by Bois Sec Ardoin, Canray Fontenot, and his son, Morris. I loved the simplicity of the accordion style, the soulful tone of the vocals, and the way they spoke the French language. Super high tech, showy musicianship has never touched me deeply, but this did. I learned some of their songs before I learned any Cajun music. Of course, their music was almost all the same tunes Cajuns play, but it was in a simpler style and slightly different rhythmically. When I moved to Louisiana, we went to music parties at Bois Sec and Marceline’s house several times and also to a boucherie. When I taped and interviewed Bois Sec I also filmed him playing many songs accompanied by his son Morris. Bois Sec and Marceline took me to Amédé Ardoin’s girlfriend’s house to find the only other existing photo of Amédé!

-Ann Savoy

Bois Sec and Marceline Ardoin
Photo by Ann Savoy
  • Bois Sec & Marceline Ardoin I 00:00
  • Bois Sec & Marceline Ardoin II 00:00
Interviewee: Bois Sec & Marceline Ardoin
Interviewer: Ann Savoy
Date: Winter 1984
Location: Lousiana
Language: English

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.