Saturday morning jam sessions aren’t common in south Louisiana, because most musicians have been up late the night before. The exception is on the outskirts of Eunice at the Savoy Music Center. Here, every Saturday, local musicians – and often a number of musicians from around the country – gather to play traditional Cajun music.
It is not uncommon to find several guitar players, four or five fiddlers, a t’fer (triangle), someone on the piano, and an accordion player or two. Once in a while a harmonica player joins in. There are often lots of folks who come to listen or dance.
Those who come to jam are from a variety of backgrounds – farmers, business folks, cooks, carpenters – and even a professional musician will join in from time-to-time. But, many of these folks play at home, at this jam, and few other places. Don’t get the idea they aren’t talented, because these are some very fine amateur musicians who show up to pass a good time. It’s probably not unlike the early days of the Cajuns in Louisiana when folks would gather to talk, share ideas and play music. The music is a part of their lives and this Saturday morning jam is a great way to share in a part of it.
The jam has become so well known that Marc Savoy, owner of the shop, and his wife, historian Ann Savoy, bring some of their regular musicians to Jazz Fest each year to share the fun and their talent. Scheduled for the Sheraton New Orleans Fais-Do-Do stage on Saturday, April 28 at 1:25 p.m., the performance will be just like Saturdays at the Center.
Marc will introduce Fest-goers to some of the best Cajun musicians they’ve never heard of. Many of these musicians have never appeared on a stage professionally, but join in most Saturdays. In order to keep the feeling and culture of the Saturday morning sessions, their Jazz Fest performance will be a jam session, too, with the group choosing songs on stage as they perform.
The Savoy Music Center is on Hwy 190, just east of Eunice, Louisiana (between Lawtell and Eunice) and the jam session is from 9 a.m. - 12 noon each Saturday. Acoustic instruments only and as the web page says: “All are invited to join in, no permission or approval is needed, but we ask only one thing... Please, no more than ONE triangle player at a time.” The store is open for business and there is no admission to be at the jam, but, as Marc writes, “ a small box of boudin or cracklins would make you the most popular guy in there for about 2-3 minutes.”
Photo by Savoy Music Center