CMA Unveils Official Programs of Opening and Closing Ceremonies


Thursday March 11, 1999 For immediate release

CMA Unveils Official Programs of Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Lafayette, Louisiana – During their first press conferences of the year, which took place in Lafayette, March 11th and Houma, March 12th, Congrès Mondial Acadien – Louisiane 1999 organizers unveiled the official programs of their opening and closing ceremonies.

Opening ceremony

The ceremony launching the largest gathering of the Acadian people since 1755 will be nothing short of excellent. The celebration day will include air shows and performances offered by regional, national and international groups.

The concert, which will be held August 1st, at 7 p.m., at the Houma-Terrebone Civic Center, will feature the”King of Cajun music” Jo-El Sonnier. He has played with greats of the music industry, such as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Two Acadian bands from Canada, Bois Joli, who pleased last year’s audience at Festival International, and les Méchants Maquereaux, a group of well-known musicians, will also be part of the celebration. A tribute will also be given to Cajun artist Vin Bruce for dedication to his musical career. Other participants of the fête include L.J. Forêt, Couche-Couche, Deuce of Hearts, Sons of Membertou and the Canadian Armed Forces Acrobatic Parachute Team.

Closing concert

Perhaps no other image is more associated with South Louisiana and its Acadian people than the bayou. The bayou mysterious… the bayou as source of life… the bayou as mode of transportation… the bayou never ending… the bayou that nourishes… the bayou that destroys… the bayou that builds. That is why “Cri du Bayou” has been chosen as the title and theme of the closing concert.
The show will feature Louisiana’s most celebrated Cajun and Zydeco performers, such as Beausoleil ; Balfa Toujours ; Bruce Daigrepont ; Feu Follets ; Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie ; Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys as well as Waylon Thibodeaux, winner of the CMA theme song. Canadian groups, Blou and Suroît, will also be performing. The event will take place Sunday August 15th, at 7 p.m., at the Cajundome in Lafayette. It will be hosted by Cajun singer/songwriter/composer Zachary Richard, who will bring to “Cri du Bayou” his talent, energy, and singular capacity of evoking emotion through music.

Other events under way for the CMA

Many other activities are being organized for the two week celebration of the Congrès mondial acadien, from July 31st to August 15th 1999, in order to please all tastes.

As well as family reunions and city twinnings, the Congrès will also be offering conferences to discuss genealogy, genetics, and academic topics. Moreover, a Women’s Summit, in which participants will share their lives, dreams and thinking with their allies is being prepared. The common theme of these conferences is, of course, Acadia !

For more information, please contact Valerie Roy, director of communications, or Melanie LaPointe, assistant-director of communications at (318)234-6166 / (888) 526-1999.

Opening Ceremony

August 1st,1999 – 7 p.m. – Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center

A celebration day including air shows, rhythm as well as performances offered by regional, national and international groups, nothing less for the opening ceremony of the largest gathering of the Acadian people since 1755!

Artistic Director
Perry Martin


Jo-El Sonnier (Louisiana) – His music is quite something by itself and the elite of the music world in Nashville (Dylan, Costello, Diamond, Cash, etc) admires his work. This King of Cajun Music has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Born of French Acadian parents, in Rayne Louisiana, Sonnier picked up the accordion for the first time at the age of three and recorded his first album eight years later. Often imitated, but never equaled, many of his songs made it to the Top 10 Hits in the U.S. and his accordion can be heard on the albums of Alan Jackson, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello. He has also played with Bob Dylan and Los Lobos and wrote songs for George Strait and Jerry Lee Lewis. Nominated more than once for a Grammy, we can bet that his performance at the CMA opening ceremony will be as good as expected.

Opening Ceremony
With Performances From

Bois Joli (New-Brunswick) – Although this group only formed three years ago, Bois Joli won the hearts of thousands of Acadians and Cajuns with their charm and energy. They will offer a mix of
Acadian, Cajun and even Spanish music. Having stolen the show wherever they went, one knows that it is only the beginning with Bois Joli!

Vin Bruce (Louisiana) – Vin Bruce was born in Southeast Louisiana during the 1930s. He got his first guitar at the age of 10. After having played in several groups, he decided to start solo in 1950. He signed a contract with Columbia Record Co. In Nashville, he recorded songs that are considered Cajun classics today : Dans la Louisiane, Fille de la Ville, Clair de la lune, etc. He was one of the first Cajun artist to work in collaboration with artists in Nashville, and he was even invited to play at Hank William’s wedding! From the 1960s to the 1980s, Bruce pursued his musical career with his group: The Acadians. Today, you can find him at the Nashville Music Hall of Fame and Louisiana Cajun Music Hall of Fame. We will a tribute to his career at the opening ceremony.

Méchants Maquereaux (New-Brunswick) – With Roland Gauvin, originally with the group 1755 and also the winner of the official CMA theme song (with Waylon Thibodaux) and Johnny Comeau, formally with Beausoleil Broussard, the six member group possesses a varied repertoire. With their own sound and image, Méchants Maquereaux offers everything from traditional Acadian music to Cajun and even some Scottish twists. After being all around the world with their show, they’ll be presenting it at the opening ceremony.

Waylon Thibodeaux (Louisiana) – Winner of the CMA theme song (with Roland Gauvin) for Si longtemps séparé, Waylon Thibodeaux was born in Houma and started playing fiddle at the age of eight, professionally recording five years after. At the age of 16, he was named Louisiana State Fiddle Champion. He is in great demand in New Orleans where he often plays. More than 40,000 copies of his last three albums were sold and his most recent one contains songs interpreted in the language of his ancestors. He has played all over the U.S., in Canada and in France with groups such as Beausoleil, Jimmy C. Newman and Tony Orlando.

Also with the participation of

L.J. Forêt (Louisiana)
Couche-Couche (Louisiana)
Deuce of Hearts (Louisiana)
Sons of Membertou (Nova Scotia)
Canadian Armed Forces Acrobatic Parachute Team

Cri du Bayou
Closing concert of
August 15th, 1999 – 7 p.m. – Cajundome, Lafayette

Perhaps no other image is more associated with south Louisiana and its Acadian people than the bayou. The bayou mysterious… the bayou as source of life… the bayou as mode of transportation … the bayou never ending… the bayou that nourishes… the bayou that destroys… the bayou that builds…

Cri du Bayou has been chosen as the title of the closing concert of CONGRÈS MONDIAL ACADIEN – LOUISIANE 1999. It evokes a variety of emotions for the Louisiana descendants of the Acadians exiled by the British from Canada in 1755 – joy and exhilaration for having overcome tremendous challenges, for having survived and thrived in subtropical Louisiana, an exclamation of pride, of a unique identity and undying spirit, rooted in fertile soil and nourished by the bayou!

Master of Ceremonies

Zachary Richard (Louisiana) – Acadian singer/songwriter/composer who most personifies Louisiana in the minds of Canadians and Europeans, Zachary Richard’s most recent album,Cap Enragé, won a Felix (French Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), and has surpassed platinum selling status. Richard has performed throughout the US, Canada and Europe, starring in every major festival and club over his long and popular career. In addition to his music, he has been recognized for his contributions to the French language for his poetry, and his political efforts as President of Action Cadienne. He was awarded the prestigious Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of the Francophonie and l’Ordre Français d’Amérique by th government of Québec. Richard brings to Cri du Bayou his Cajun/Acadian birthright, his Louisiana-roots music, and his international acclaim and unique personal style, making him the perfect host for this exciting concert.


Balfa Toujours with Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin (Louisiana) – Christine Balfa leads this rock-solid, acoustic Cajun band. Christine is the daughter of the late Dewey Balfa, who carried the sound of a standing ovation from the Newport Folk Festival in 1964 back home to Lafayette, and kept Cajun music from fading into history. Carrying on in his tradition, Balfa Toujours presents ancestral music with grace and feeling, and adds their own critically acclaimed songs to the mix. Joining Balfa Toujours will be legendary accordion great, “Bois Sec” Ardoin. Cousin to Amédé Ardoin; partner to fiddle master Canray Fontenot; and fellow musician touring and playing with Christine Balfa’s daddy, Dewey and his brothers, Mr. Ardoin’s rich career spans nearly fifty years.

Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet (Louisiana) – For 20 years Beausoleil, led by fiddler extraordinaire Michael Doucet, has explored and reinterpreted the traditional Cajun music repertoire. Discovering the music of Dennis McGee, Doucet’s greatest influence, and presenting it again for the delight of audiences both within Louisiana and beyond our state’s borders, Beausoleil was recently awarded a Grammy for the album l’Amour ou la folie. CONGRÈS MONDIAL ACADIEN is proud to showcase the talents of these accomplished musicians.

Blou (Nova Scotia) – This band from the homeland, old Acadie or Nova Scotia as it is now called, has played most of the important stages in their home region. They play a moving, rhythmic blend of Acadian, Zydeco and Cajun music that they have come to call “Acadico” music. Blou recently walked away with the coveted “album of the year” award at the East Coast Music Awards in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Bruce Daigrepont (Louisiana) – According to the Houston Post, Bruce Daigrepont “plays the oldtime squeeze box and fronts a butt-kicking band”. Bruce has taken New Orleans and Canadian music lovers by storm with his heartfelt lyrics and irresistible musical style. The band’s repertoire crosses over from melodic Cajun waltzes and two-steps to bluesy, riff-based zydeco, with touches of rock and swamp pop, from reel to cha cha, keeping his audiences enthralled.

Feux Follets (Louisiana) – Playing under the name of Les Acadiens, this group of French Immersion students from Lafayette Parish, all under the age of fourteen, guarantee that the Cajun music tradition will be preserved and enjoyed by the next generation. The band wowed critics and audiences in Montréal and Sherbrook last summer, playing a FrancoFolies festival performance during a tribute to Zachary Richard. Feux Follets is led by accordion player Chris Stafford and fiddler Chris Segura, whose rendition of “The One Step of Dennis McGee” brought down the house at last year’s Cajun French Music Awards show. Featuring the astonishing vocals of Brittany Polaski, this group can stand proudly alongside the star performers of Cri du Bayou.

Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie (Louisiana) – Keeping the French language tradition while breaking new ground is the self appointed task of this young up and coming zydeco master from St. Landry Parish. Geno Delafose has been honored by the Smithsonian Institute and was featured on the recent PBS special series, ‘The River of Song’. Geno and his band handle the traditional repertoire, hot Zydeco licks and original numbers with equal grace and energy.

Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys (Louisiana) – The premier young Cajun dance band whose reputation has exploded throughout the U.S. and Europe, Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys take stirring renditions of traditional tunes and innovative original material and harnesses them into Cajun music’s past, present, and future. Steve’s fiery musical style is transforming the accordion into popular music’s sexiest instrument, and David Greely’s’ masterful fiddling and soulful sax expand The Mamou Playboys’ base into zydeco and swamp pop. Expect the unexpected!

Suroît (Canada) – This tradition-based, country-influenced band harmonizes Acadian, Cajun, Québecois and Scots-Irish influences. Synthesizing folk, country and bluegrass, their energetic set features step-dancing and sizzling, melodic rhythms. Long a favorite in Louisiana, and stars in their homeland, Suroît is a compelling component of the Cri du Bayou concert.

Waylon Thibodeaux (Louisiana) – The winner of CMA’s theme song contest (with Roland Gauvin) for Si longtemps séparé, was born in Houma and began playing the fiddle at age eight; he recorded his first song five years later. At sixteen, he received the title Louisiana State Fiddle Champion.