The Arhoolie Foundation’s Ann Savoy Cajun Interviews Collection consists of over 200 recorded interviews Ann Savoy conducted with Louisiana musicians over the past 45 years.
The Arhoolie Foundation provided a grant for its digital preservation, and we present the interviews here in streaming audio as a compliment to Ann’s seminal books: Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People Volumes 1 and 2, available from Bluebird Press. If you are interested in the history of Cajun Music and the people who make it, these books are simply indispensable. In them you will find text transcriptions of the interviews featured here, as well as rare photographs, artist biographies, and much more.
Ann Savoy’s Biography
Selected Ann Savoy Interviews
Ann Savoy Collection: Adam Hebert, 1985 and 1986
I interviewed Adam twice, once at his house where I also took portraits of him and once at my house where I filmed him playing his wonderful music. The lyrics in Adam’s songs have more poetry in them than most and he always had excellent bands playing with him.
Ann Savoy Collection: Aldus Roger
There can’t be enough said about the importance of Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys. Their excellent band set the standard for Cajun dancehall bands. They actually were on TV on Saturday afternoons in Acadiana on channel 10 and both Cajuns and Black creoles would sit riveted to their TVs watching them, so proud for one of their own French speaking people to be on TV!
Ann Savoy Collection: Ambrose Sam, 1990
Coming from the Mallet region, near Lawtell, Ambrose and his brother Hebert (father of the great child zydeco band The Sam Five) were primarily know as double row and triple row accordion players and played the style called Lala.
Ann Savoy Collection: Bébé Carrière, 1983
I clearly remember going to Bébé’s little house in Lawtell to interview him. He was a handsome, light skin creole, tall and slim. He had a gentle, slow way of talking.
Ann Savoy Collection: Belton Richard, 1983
Belton was the most modern and the most locally famous I interviewed. My friend Hadley Castille went with me to his house in Lafayette because it helped to have someone who knew Belton to give me access to his house.
Ann Savoy Collection: Bois Sec & Marceline Ardoin, 1984
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.
Ann Savoy Collection: Chester “Pee Wee” Broussard, 1985
A cantankerous character with a heart of gold, this feisty friend of Marc’s is credited with several musical firsts in Cajun music, like playing a fiddle in standard tuning and playing an accordion in third position.
Ann Savoy Collection: Claude Faulk, 1983
I had met Clifton Chenier several times with my husband Marc, who was a good friend of Clifton. Marc used to go to listen to Clifton at various venues and Clifton would always ask him to come up on the stage and play his “little accordion” (in contrast to Clifton’s piano key accordion!).
Ann Savoy Collection: Clifton Chenier, 1984
Clifton didn’t grant many interviews and I was worried I wouldn’t get to talk with him. His wife, Margaret, was fiercely protective of him and wouldn’t let me into the house when I went to interview him.
Ann Savoy Collection: Dennis McGee
Dennis lived in Eunice and was a constant visiter at Marc’s store, Savoy Music Center, and also at our house. Since he was the best living example of early Cajun music he was in high demand among musical historians and with young Cajuns and outsiders who wanted to learn the roots of the music.
Ann Savoy Collection: Dewey Balfa, 1993
Dewey Balfa was one of our best friends. We spent a lot of time with him both on the road and playing music and partying at our house. Dewey was very handsome and had a magical way of touching peoples’ hearts everywhere he went.
Ann Savoy Collection: Dewey Segura, 1985
I had been loving the early 78 recordings of Dewey Segura for years, so when my friend Cajun musician D.L. Menard told me he knew Dewey and where he lived in New Iberia I asked him if he would bring me there.
Ann Savoy Collection: DL Menard, 1983
When I first met Marc he was traveling extensively with DL Menard, Doc Guidry, and sometimes Dewey Balfa. They called themselves The Louisiana Aces. DL was always ready to tease everyone and laugh. He was such a character.
Ann Savoy Collection: Ed Poullard, 2019
The Poullard family is an important family of Creole musicians from Eunice, LA. Ed’s father, John, was well known as a top accordion player in the region at the turn of the 20th century.
Ann Savoy Collection: Edius Naquin, 1985
I had become fascinated with the ballads recorded by Mr. Naquin and wanted to meet him. He lived on a tiny farm in the town of Reddell, Louisiana, near Mamou. I had heard many of his recorded ballads on field recordings made by friends and colleagues.
Ann Savoy Collection: Freeman and Canray Fontenot and Bois Sec Ardoin
I had interviewed each of these men separately but gathering these three men together was primarily done so I could photograph them for the NTCA. After the photos were taken, they came inside for a visit and Marc asked them questions in French about their worlds.
Ann Savoy Collection: Harry & Tony Balfa, 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
Ann Savoy Collection: John Delafose, 1983
We would go to John’s dances at Catholic Church halls in and around Eunice. He had his whole family working for him-Tony on rubboard, Geno on drums…He also had two slim brothers, Charles and Slim Prudhomme, playing bass and guitar.
Ann Savoy Collection: Julius “Papa Cairo” Lamperez, 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.
Ann Savoy Collection: Leroy “Happy Fats” Leblanc, 1986
I interviewed Happy Fats at my house in Eunice. He and his old friend Doc Guidry came over for coffee and talked about the old days.
Ann Savoy Collection: Leroy Broussard, 1989
A big man with a BIG voice, I wanted Leroy to be a part of my book because of his great high vocals on the B.O. Sparkle Waltz and because of his two hit songs that I loved and learned, Lemonade Song and Brasse Le Couche Couche.
Ann Savoy Collection: Luderin Darbone, 1983
Luderin was the most delicate and practicing Christian of the people I interviewed. And could he play the swing fiddle! So humble…The Hackberry Ramblers were, in their heyday, the young, “with it” band in Louisiana.
Ann Savoy Collection: Moise Robin
I visited Moise at his house in Leonville where he lived with his lovely wife Mary. Robin had had a recent comeback playing music when he was approached by Farren Serrette to make a recording.
Ann Savoy Collection: Murphy “Chuck” Guillory, 1989
Chuck was a regular a Marc’s Savoy Music Center Saturday morning jam session. He was from Mamou and had composed or made famous some of the Cajun hits like Tolan Waltz, Grand Mamou, and The Last Waltz.
Ann Savoy Collection: Nathan Williams 2019
I met Nathan at his neat, huge house in Lafayette where he also keeps his recording studio. Nathan was walking in in his working clothes carrying a sack of okra and asked me to please wait while he got ready for the interview.
Ann Savoy Collection: Octa Clark, 1989
Octa came to the Savoy Music Center jam session consistently for years. He was a gentle character with a twinkle in his eye. His accordion style was so strong and clean and old style-the way I like it.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Amédé Ardoin
My friends Bois Sec and Marceline Ardoin told me that they knew the woman that renowned Creole artist Amédé Ardoin had always loved and that she was alive and had a photo of Amédé!
Ann Savoy Collection: On Angelas LeJeune
Finding living relatives of Angelas LeJeune, one of my favorite early Cajun recording artists, was a bit tricky. I went to Church Point and I found his nephew Dewey LeJeune and his wife Carrie Miller who had photos of him.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Austin Pitre
Though I never personally met Austin I had heard him play at the Evangeline Club in Eunice. Marc and I stopped in one Sunday afternoon and entered a pitch black room, freezing cold due to the air conditioning. The music was rocking and the dance floor was packed.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Blind Uncle Gaspard
I drove the two hour trip to the Avoyelles region in search of traces of Blind Uncle Gaspard and Delma Lachney. The recordings of Blind Uncle Gaspard had always been my favorite Louisiana recording due to their uniqueness and haunting, strange quality of sound.
Ann Savoy Collection: 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.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Harry Choates
I had to interview several people to get enough info about Harry Choates. There were still plenty of people living who had played with him and watched him develop into the dynamo musician he became.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Nathan Abshire
I never got to interview Nathan though I had a tape of an interview he did with Shirley Bergeron. Fortunately, Floyd Soileau offered to take me over to see Nathan’s wife, Olla. Olla took out her old photos and we had a great time talking.
Ann Savoy Collection: On Sidney Brown
Sidney Brown was not only one of the first people to recreate the diatonic Cajun accordion in southwest Louisiana but had a very popular band in the Lake Charles area.
Ann Savoy Collection: On The Babineaux Family
I went to Rayne in search of information about the Babineaux family who had a popular stringband there in the 1940’s. Somehow I found a relative of Sidney Babineaux, Wanda Wilson, who had a wonderful box of photos of the Babineaux family that she shared with me for my book.
Ann Savoy Collection: Oran “Doc” Guidry, 1986
When I first moved to Louisiana in 1977 I travelled extensively with Marc, D.L. Menard and Doc Guidry, The Louisiana Aces. I often brought my baby daughter Sarah with us. This was before I was playing music with Marc in public. Doc was a superb Cajun fiddler, defining the best of the 1960’s dancehall fiddle sound when he recorded with Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys.
Ann Savoy Collection: Preston Frank, 2019
Marc and Preston have been friends for years. In fact Preston was the second person in our area to buy a Bb accordion from Marc.
Ann Savoy Collection: Rockin’ Dopsie, 1984
I loved the zydeco of the Lafayette area very much and was happy to interview left-handed Rockin’ Dopsie. He, his wife Alvina and his baby son Dwayne (now a zydeco megastar) were sitting on the sofa of Dopsie’s house.
Ann Savoy Collection: Shirley Bergeron, 1983
Marc was a good friend of Shirley’s father, Alphée Bergeron, and his band The Veteran Playboys. He got me to listen to their CDs, especially Shirley singing Quelle Etoile! What a voice.
Ann Savoy Collection: Sullivan Aguillard, 1986
Every Christmas my husband Marc Savoy, fiddler Wade Frugé and I would play a Christmas dance and the local Catholic church. Our children would come along and there was always a Santa with a Cajun accent (easily recognizable local farmer) and a gumbo and all the local neighbors would come. – Ann Savoy
Ann Savoy Collection: Touchet Family, 1988
Marc and I wandered into Smiley’s Club in Erath, Louisiana, one Sunday afternoon to hear some music and cool off from the blazing summer day. In that dark bar was a wonderful elderly family band, The Touchet Family.
Ann Savoy Collection: Walter Mouton, 1985
Walter has been a friend of our family for years. He lead the great Scott Playboys who played a nonstop run at La Poussiere Dancehall for 40 years. He actually started that band when he was a young boy-other young boy members of the band were Johnny Allan and Hubert Maitre!
Ann Savoy Collection: Wilfred Latour, 1986
This gentle, quiet man came to visit at Savoy Music Center when he was in Louisiana on a visit from his current home in Los Angeles, where he had moved in 1984. I had thought of him as a zydeco man but his stories of the past were rich, deep descriptions of the legendary creole and zydeco musicians he had learned from in his childhood days in Louisiana.
Ann Savoy Collection: Wilson “Boozoo” Chavis, 1986
Boozoo rose to great popularity in his second musical career in 1984, rocking dancehalls all over the country. He had had a bad experience when he first recorded in 1954 and didn’t record again until thirty years later when he started playing dances again.
Deep Dives: The Ann Savoy Collection
Check out our Deep Dive video series featuring the Ann Savoy Collection for a curated look at some of the big names in the cajun music tradition.
Books by Ann Savoy
The long awaited Cajun Music A Reflection of a People Volume II continues exploring the fascinating world of Cajun music, Cajun musicians, and the rich Louisiana culture surrounding the music. Beautifully illustrated with historical and recent photographs, thirty five English and Cajun French interviews and biographies, over 100 songs with French translations and phonetics, this book is a must have for lovers of the south and lovers of Louisiana culture everywhere.
“Perhaps the most comprehensive and stunning portrait of this music ever written.”
-The Washington Post
Savoy’s first compilation has become “The Cajun Bible” for all who are interested in the culture and music of the Cajuns of Louisiana.