Julius “Papa Cairo” Lamperez Interview, 1989

Papa Cairo was a big, brazen man and a big talker. He came to my house for the interview because I had my children at home and it was easier for him to come over. He didn’t have too much good to say about musicians in general, which he called “low lifes”. He had an amazing photo scrapbook which he allowed me to copy. He was a big deal in the early stringboard days, when he hoped the old swamp organ would be set aside so he could play more modern music. He was one of the earliest steel guitar players, back when the Cajuns were all trying to figure out how to play it. His steel rides are pretty out there if you listen to the old recordings. He described a pretty rough scene in Louisiana in the dancehall world.

– Ann Savoy

  • Julius "Papa Cairo" Lamperez, 1989 00:00
Interviewee: Julius “papa Cairo” Lamperez
Interviewer: Ann savoy
Date: November 16, 1989
Location: Eunice, 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.