The Irish are coming to New Orleans from deep in the heart of Cajun Country.
Avoca - a brand new Irish band based in Lafayette, Louisiana - features Irish native Tony Davoren on bouzouki, guitar and bodhran, with Heather Cole Mullen and Blake Miller both on fiddle and accordion. They will be playing music from Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia, as well as ‘Cadian and Old Time at the Deutsches Haus, 200 South Galvez at 7 PM on Saturday, April 3. And while they will be playing Celtic tunes, it will be Celtic tunes with a touch of that special Louisiana spice.
Well, those from Cajun country have never been afraid to mix it up a little, and while ‘fais do do' might translate to ‘go to sleep', sure New Orleanians know better than to believe that!
All the band members live in, or near Lafayette, and all are heavily involved in the local traditional music scene. According to former Riverdance performer Tony Davoren, that music scene, in its many genres, is thriving.
"Lafayette is mighty, because it is like Ireland, except with spicy food," Tony told WWOZ.
"People are the same, and musically it is great. It has got everything - all my favorite kinds of music are down here. Great Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, Soul, Jazz and, of course, Irish music. And everyone down here plays. And if they don't play, then they cook, or they dance, or they do something cool. Everybody brings something to the party. "
Tony has lived in Lafayette for 8 years, but has been visiting the area since 1996. Prior to moving to the States he toured with the world-famous Riverdance. He has been involved with traditional Irish music since his teens, as is a member of the Irish/Cajun band Celjun. After he moved to Lafayette, he also played music with Mitch Reed, from popular Cajun bands Balfa Toujour, and Beausoleil. He credits Mitch with being the instigator of both Celjun and, indirectly, of Avoca.
"Mitch had a music shop in Lafayette," Tony said. "And he would invite people to play. He was kind of the instigator for everything. He tagged Cajun tunes with Irish tunes, and then Anya would throw in Old Time tunes. So we were playing Irish, Cajun and Old Time tunes, and they all blended naturally. Nobody would know where they were from - they just sounded like cool tunes. And that was how Celjun came about. Avoca is just going to be traditional Irish songs and tunes. Avoca is the name of a town close to where I come from. I just like the way that it sounds, you know? Vocal. Avoca. Evoke. It just has a good sound to it."
The show at the Deutsches Haus will be followed by an open music session. According to Tony, it is the open music sessions that drive the heart of Irish music.
"The sessions are where it all comes from," he said firmly. "It's real. It's organic. It's acoustic. It's what got me into music - it wasn't seeing a band on stage. But when I saw an acoustic session with people my own age playing hard and furious good music, that blew my head off. When I left my first real session, I didn't want to be on the outside of that anymore. I wanted to be totally in the middle. It was that powerful. The session is important - it is the greatest place ever."
Further information is available at:
985 259 0882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.