Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zachary Richard - Sounds of Louisiana

Zachary Richard is many things: an environmentalist, poet, advocate for culture, children's author, and more. What I know him best as, is a singer/songwriter from Louisiana who teaches about his history and culture through his music. Richard is from Louisiana and his style encompasses Zydeco, Cajun, as well as straight-ahead folk. Well known in the French speaking world, Richard is very much into the preservation of Cajun culture and the use of the French language in Louisiana. However, he sings in English and presented songs in both languages during his concert at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Most of the audience was not familiar with Richard and his music. Only a few of us started to cheer when he launched into "Au Bord du Lac Bijou," one of his best-known French songs. However, applause from the majority came at the wrong moment during the song, when he pauses before resuming the final verse and chorus, resulting in his use of hand signals. It reminded me of people unfamiliar with classical music clapping in between movements.

Whether they knew him or not, Richard had people clapping and moving, especially during his final number. He has an incredibly smooth voice that sounds great in any language. I certainly hope people who have now been exposed to his music for the first time will do their research and discover all the music that this incredible artist has to offer.

For more photos of Zachary Richard at the EFMF, click here. ~ Paula E. Kirman

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