Harry & Tony Balfa Interview, 1984

I had known Tony for years and had travelled with Marc, Dewey and Rodney when Tony was playing with them on the road. Tony was a kind, gentle soul like his father Rodney. I interviewed Harry to learn more about Rodney since Rodney had died. In fact, Marc and Dewey and I were together in St Louis where Marc and Dewey were playing at a festival at the Arch when Dewey‘s two brothers, Rodney and Will, were killed in a tragic car wreck. It was a horrific moment.

-Ann Savoy

Harry Balfa
Photo courtesy of Harry Balfa
  • Harry & Tony Balfa 00:00
Interviewee: Harry & Tony Balfa
Interviewer: Ann Savoy
Date: January 12, 1984
Location: Harry’s house in Basile, LA
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.