Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Life just doesn't get any better than this; double header with a Fat Friday and Mardi Gras celebration back to back in Rhode Island. Annually, Sal's Production and Lapagniappe Productions team up to present 10 hours of the best Louisiana bands. New Orleans isn't the only place that parties hardy for Mardi Gras.
Fat Friday is celebrated at the German Club in Pawtucket RI with a pot luck dinner and 4 hours of dancing. Joe and Paula Giocastro work tirelessly to bring in top talent for our dancing pleasure on Fat Friday and monthly throughout the year. This year Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp will ignite the dancer's feet with his hot creole style and evocative vocals.
Complete with its own Mardi Gras parade of costumes, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet hosts Lapagniappe Production's Annual Mardi Gras Celebration. The Mardi Gras Ball at Rhodes has become one of the biggest annual events celebrating Cajun, Creole and Zydeco traditions in New England, drawing more the 1000 revelers primarily from New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Many thanks are due to Chuck Wentworth and his crew for organizing this wonderful party.
The schedule this year is rich with Cajun and Zydeco heritage. Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners will lead off the party. Leroy is sure to rock the house with syncopated energy. Based in Huston, TX today, Leroy comes by his zydeco roots honorably having been born in Elton, LA. As is tradition, Leroy learned in the footsteps of his father taking up the drums at the age of 8 and learning the accordion simultaneously. He and his band are returning favorites to the Mardi Gras stage in RI.
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are one of the most sought after touring bands. Together better than 20 years, this band is tight and has a line up of musicians each of which are accomplished in their own rights but together sizzle. A versatile band, Steve is loved for his highly energetic and danceable progressive Cajun music. Steve along with founding band member David Greeley (a wonderful fiddler) have quite successfully taken the Mamou Playboys beyond the traditional Cajun two step and waltz to stretch the possibilities of a new sound within an old tradition. They have dug deep into the Cajun and Creole music to bring a selection of deeply traditional dance pieces. I personally love the dark themed tunes from their Domino release which typically are peppered throughout the set. This is an event you do not want to miss as Dave Greely has announced his retirement from the band on the advice of his audiologist. This gig will be his last with the Mamou Playboys in the northeast. Greeley's legacy to the Mamou Playboys will live on beyond his departure but his style will be irreplaceable. We all wish David the best in his future endeavors as a solo and duo performer.
CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band takes the stage to close out the show. His legacy is well established as son of Clifton Chenier who is credited with introducing contemporary Zydeco beyond LA borders. Nevertheless, CJ has created is own style with a great following. With CJ on stage, expect the energy to notch up to a hot flame under the dancer's feet.
In between sets, the Hot Tamale Band will provide some New Orleans style Jazz to round out the evening. So get yourself dress up and put your dancing shoes on and go dance to the finest music from the state of LA.