The Arhoolie Foundation celebrates American Roots Music

For over 25 years, the Arhoolie Foundation has been building on the work of founder Chris Strachwitz and his seminal independent record label Arhoolie Records. We are dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and celebration of regional roots music and its makers. Through films, digital audio preservation, exhibitions, and our extensive archival website, we work to broaden public awareness of our diverse music history and support for living music and cultural traditions.

For over 60 years, Arhoolie has recorded great music in Louisiana, Texas, California, and beyond. Visit the rest of our website for archival interviews, photographs, videos, posters, rare catalogs, and more. Here are a few examples of what you will find:

Zydeco & Creole music

Clifton Chenier Interviews
Chris Strachwitz not only recorded classic albums with Clifton, but he also interviewed him about his life and music. Listen to Clifton talk in 1971 and 1978. The interview section also includes a rich gallery of photos.
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Canray Fontenot
Come inside the home of legendary Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot and watch him play with Michael Doucet in 1993. An intimate look at two legends of the fiddle.
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Ann Savoy Interview Collection
The collection consists of dozens of recorded interviews that musician and documentarian Ann Savoy has conducted with Louisiana musicians over the past 45 years. Among the interviewees are some of the most significant figures in the history of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music.
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In 1962, Chris Strachwitz journeyed from California to Texas and all through the South. While driving from New Orleans back towards Texas, he heard a Cajun radio show on KEUN-AM and drove to Eunice to check it out. Listen to an interview with Strachwitz talking about that early visit to Eunice and see the photos he took there.
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DEEP DIVE — Cajun Culture
Check out our recent Deep Dive on Cajun culture, produced in collaboration with Valcour Records and The Coop, a digital storytelling project about Louisiana music and food. With rare photographs, audio inverviews, and videos from the Chris Strachwitz Collection, the Cajun culture Deep Dive showcases Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie’s long history of documenting and sharing the Cajun music of Southwest Louisiana. Other recent Deep Dives have focused on Sacred Steel gospel, Los Pinguinos del Norte, and other aspects of Arhoolie history.
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Dances/Concerts/Record Labels

Vintage Posters
The Chris Strachwitz Collection is full of unique concert posters from Louisiana and beyond. The walls at the Arhoolie Foundation are covered with these rare posters, and we have digitized and shared many of them on our website. These posters feature some of the great names of American roots music.
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Arhoolie Occasional


The short-lived Arhoolie Occassional was both an insider’s guide to the record business and a travelogue into the lives and music of Arhoolie’s signature artists. From colorful profiles of Mance Lipscomb and John Jackson to a guide entitled “How to Hire Blues Artists,” the Occasional packed enough information in its pages to keep even the most diehard Arhoolie fan busy. 
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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.