Few, if any, artists appear more often in the Arhoolie Foundation archive than the extraordinary husband and wife duo Marc and Ann Savoy.They are among the foremost ambassadors of Cajun music and culture in the world. Marc, a master accordion maker, opened the Savoy Music Center outside of Eunice, Louisiana in 1965, where his craftsmanship has helped to rejuvenate the Cajun accordion.
A tireless documentarian, Ann’s books Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People remain an authoritative source on Cajun music, and her Cajun interview collection preserves the stories of many extraordinary tradition bearers. Close friends of Chris Strachwitz for over 40 years, Marc and Ann recorded often for Arhoolie Records, whether as part of the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, the Magnolia Sisters, or with their sons Joel and Wilson as the Savoy Family Band. For this month’s Deep Dive, we’re taking a closer look at some wonderful archival videos, photos, and interviews featuring Marc and Ann. We hope you share and enjoy these materials and the incredible window into Cajun culture they provide.
In 1987 Chris Strachwitz made it out to Eunice for Courir de Mardi Gras, a traditional Cajun celebration involving costumes with pointed hats, trail rides, and feasting that goes back hundreds of years. At the home of Marc and Ann Savoy, Chris captures the two playing a few songs for their friends, including Chuck Wentowrh and Franklin Zawacki founders of the Cajun & Bluegrass Festival that has turned into the Rhythm & Roots Festival.
By the early 1980s, Chris was a regular guest at the Savoy home in Eunice, which became his home base for musical excursions around Southwest Louisiana. Marc, Ann, and their growing family always made “Uncle Chris” feel right at home, and Chris was always drawn back to Eunice by their warm hospitality and the lively gatherings they hosted. Thankfully, Chris’s camera was never far from hand during these visits. The result is a rich collection of photographs documenting Chris’s time at the Savoy house through the years, from quiet moments around a gumbo pot to big communal jams in the yard.
As part of this month’s Deep Dive, we’ve collected some of these photos in a brand new gallery on our website (link in bio), which also features concert photos of the Savoys and photographs from Chris and Marc’s 1990 “accordion” trip to Austria and Germany.
- Pee Wee Broussard Interview Clip 00:00
Ann Savoy described Pee Wee Broussard as “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.” In this interview, Pee Wee tells about the Mardi Gras night in 1952 where he was cut with a knife and lost feeling in both his middle fingers. Even with this condition he still managed to be a great accordionist and fiddler.
In addition to producing many great albums, accordions and books, Marc and Ann have four talented children. Two of them, Joel and Wilson, play with them in the Savoy Family Band, featured on many Arhoolie recordings. Here Chris Strachwitz captured them at a dance in Louisiana playing “Sam’s Big Rooster” for a local crowd at Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, Louisiana.