On Douglas Bellard

Douglas Bellard was the first black man to record Creole music in this area. In Vol 1 I put the lyrics to his two released songs and a beautiful portrait of him. The portrait came from a one armed black man in Eunice. Shortly after he lent me the photo to copy and I had returned it his house burned down with the picture in it, so I am thankful I went to get it. I had Joel with me when he was about four years old. He was wearing a raccoon cap I had made him. As I was leaving I absent mindedly slammed the car door and it slammed on little Joel’s hand!!! I will never forget my horror when that happened. I spent a few trips looking for traces of Douglas Bellard to get a more rounded portrait of him. All I had heard were negative and violent things. But our old friend Murphy Soileau knew him well and even picked up Douglas’ brother David to be interviewed. I also went to the home of Ida Jones, a very old black woman, who told me various stories about black musicians in the area in the 1920’s-1930’s.

– Ann Savoy

  • Ida Jones on Douglas Bellard 00:00
Interviewee: Ida Jones
Interviewer: Ann Savoy
Date: –
Language: French / français
  • Murph Soileau & David Bellard 00:00
Interviewee: Murph Soileau & David Bellard
Interviewer: Ann Savoy
Date: March 18, 1993
Language: English

These are interviews 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.