Skip to main content
  • The BeauSoleil Quartet: Cajun Reel Medley

    Camera: Sean Baker, Emma Cregan, Andrea Curran, Alexis Ligon, Michelle Mehrtens, Ryan Shank, Abby Sternberg
    Editor: Colin Stucki

    On the opening night of the 50th anniversary Folklife Festival, we welcomed back the BeauSoleil Quartet for a Cajun dance party on the National Mall. Led by NEA National Heritage Fellow Michael Doucet on fiddle and accordion, the lineup also featured Mitchell Reed on fiddle, David Doucet on guitar, and Billy Ware on percussion.

    This finale song is a medley of three tunes. Doucet explained that two of them he learned from fiddler Dennis McGee, one of the earliest recorded Cajun Musicians. The third was a tune by fiddler Wayne Perry, which Doucet learned by studying John and Alan Lomax’s tapes recorded in Louisiana in 1934.

    “The McGee sound is of French Louisiana origin, more isolated and particular to a twin fiddle style not including the accordion,” Doucet said.

    The group first recorded the medley for the Arhoolie album Parlez-Nous à Boire, now in the Smithsonian Folkways collection, and Doucet believes it was the first time Cajun reels had ever been assembled as a medley.

  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.