Jo-El Sonnier: Cajun blood

The True Detective soundtrack has been granting me so many musical delights, an intensive immersion and exploration of new artists and genres within the context of deep Americana. The next in line is Jo-El Sonnier’s “Evangeline Special”, a folk-country-like, uptempo, joyful song, sung in a language (obviously not English) that sounded at first absolutely incomprehensible to me. I then searched for the lyrics, to find out the language is actually cajun, an American variation of French, traditional in regions such as where New Orleans is located.

And then I searched for Jo-El Sonnier on YouTube and, for my great surprise, found a live version of the song. There are happy couples dancing in the crowd, folks with their cowboy hats on, ladies in their dresses. And Jo-El Sonnier, an accordeon virtuoso… How lively, how lovely! How not to dance?

Oh toi ti monde, moi j’connais hier au soir
Tout partout y’où moi j’étais, pour te ‘joindre ma jolie cœur
Hé-y-yaille, la promesse tu m’avais fait
Elle a mieux aimé m’tourner l’dos, s’en aller en rejoindre un autreOh ‘tite fille, rappelle toi tout partout
Ton papa y’après s’en venir, viens me ‘joindre à la maison
Hé-y-yaille, Lui l’à venu, m’voulu cher
Pour m’demander d’me dire pardons, il connais il avait mal faitSolo

Hey ‘tite fille, rappelle toi moi j’connais
Moi j’après te dire asteure, la parole j’voulais pas t’dire
Hé-y-yaille, si tu m’aime mais blâme moi pas
Si les autres t’après donner, les conseils écoute les pas!

Jo-El Sonnier (/ʒˌɛl sɒnˈj/; born October 2, 1946, in Rayne, Louisiana) is an American singer-songwriter and accordionist who performs country music and Cajun music. Originally signed to Mercury Nashville Records, Sonnier charted several minor singles on the Billboard country charts in the late 1970s. By the late 1980s, he had signed to RCA Records, breaking through with the Top Ten hits “No More One More Time” and a cover of Richard Thompson‘s “Tear Stained Letter”. Although his chart success waned by the late 1980s, he has continued recording music. He has recorded more than 30 albums, primarily on independent labels. (Wikipedia)

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