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World Music CD Reviews North American

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By MARTY LIPP
Published April 7, 2006

THE BEST OF THE SAVOY-DOUCET CAJUN BAND
Arhoolie

The members of this trio have become de facto ambassadors of Cajun culture, bringing intelligence and soulfulness to concert halls, universities, documentary films and the occasional four-hour dance. The trio is preservationist, but first and foremost musicians. Cajun music, like all folk music, is ultimately judged not by intellectual ferocity, but depth of feeling. So the songs here ache with both pain and joy, music made for people that often had little else. Cajun music these days is often prettified for mainstream tastes, but this trio channels the music’s past. While some newcomers might think these traditional Cajun sounds are just out-of-tune yowling, a few listens shows these are the messy raw sounds of uneasy hearts. While Marc and Ann Savoy and Michael Doucet have played together on and off for 20 years, this collection is culled from their four Arhoolie releases. American world music fans starting here will discover an overlooked regional folk music still hanging on beneath the U.S. pop music juggernaut.