Beloit College presents Grammy Award-winning BeauSoleil

Beloit College presents Grammy Award-winning BeauSoleil


BELOIT, WIS—The rhythmic swing and heady Cajun beats of Louisiana will fill the air as the internationally acclaimed BeauSoleil celebrates its 25th anniversary to open the 2001-2002 Beloit College International Performing Arts Series on Friday, Sept. 21. The Grammy Award-winning ensemble will initiate the series at 8 p.m. in Eaton Chapel before an anticipated sell-out crowd during the college’s Family Weekend celebration.

For a quarter century, BeauSoleil has shared their homegrown Cajun sound with the world, playing a key role in bringing their culture into the mainstream. The band has performed on television and radio, providing many listeners with their first taste of Cajun-style music. From the social dances of the 19th century sharecroppers to the first Cajun musicians to hit it big in Nashville in the post-World War II era, BeauSoleil has been infusing the old flavor with the new—creating a sound that really transports audiences to the bayous of southwest Louisiana. Music critic Richard Gehr said of the group, “…the sextet transcends the dance hall, possessing the ability to transform nearly any traditional Cajun, Creole or French tune into high art, while preserving a clear, sonic bloodline back to its roots.”

Led by talented fiddler/singer/songwriter Michael Doucet, BeauSoleil has achieved international success. The band played events at President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, their song “Zydeco Gris Gris” was used in the movie The Big Easy, and they have even played at the Super Bowl with Mary Chapin Carpenter. Among their many successes are multiple Grammy nominations, including the winning song, “L’amour ou la Folie” for the album Zydeco Gris Gris.

Five other talented men join with Mr. Doucet. His brother, David Doucet, is on guitar. The accordion, a staunch Cajun tradition, is played by Jimmy Breaux, and providing the rhythmic support is Tommy Alesi on drums and Billy Ware as percussionist. Tying it all together is Al Tharp, who plays everything from banjo to bass to second fiddle.

When asked their agenda on preserving Cajun music, Doucet replied, “Not in a stiff, academic manner, but in a way that we had learned it, straight from the heart and played like one’s life depended on it.”

BeauSoleil will be sure to fulfill their quest on Sept. 21 as they share with the Beloit community a part of their home, a piece of Cajun-flavored Louisiana.

Tickets for the BeauSoleil performance are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors. Seating is limited. For more information, call the International Performing Arts Series box office at (608) 363-2242.

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