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Release Date: 2007
Publisher: UL Press
Softcover, 224 pages
As Dewey Balfa so eloquently put it, A culture is preserved one generation at a time. He also insisted that tradition is not a product but a living process. Its like a tree. If you water the roots, the branches will grow. Instead of preserving cultural artifacts, he challenged us to preserve the very life of the culture so that it would continue to produce new artifacts. The annual festival that grew out of the first Tribute to Cajun Music in 1974 represents a practical application of that philosophy. Over its three decades, this festival, since 1977 the music component of Lafayettes Festivals Acadiens, has been a proving ground for this evolution. Older masters, such as Dennis McGee, Nathan Abshire, Clifton Chenier, Bois-Sec Ardoin, Canray Fontenot, and Dewey Balfa himself, have passed on, but not without handing off the baton to younger musicians, from Michael Doucet and Zachary Richard to Wayne Toups and Steve Riley to Chris Stafford and Wilson Savoy. These subsequent generations continue to revitalize old songs and create new ones within the traditional context.This book tells the inside story of this experiment in cultural self-preservation, taking the reader onstage, backstage, and into the crowd with schedules, commentary, and photographs from each year, exposing the cultural mission of festival organizers.