Music Genre(s): Cajun/Zydeco
For Charles Laborde's Sunday Cajun music show, the title, "Lache Pas!" is important to both the music and the message. A common saying among Acadians when leaving each other's company, the phrase translates to English as "keep in touch," — a directive that Laborde takes as part of his show's purpose to preserve and honor Cajun culture.
"It's for saying goodbyes," Laborde says, "But you can say it to mean 'let's keep in touch with our culture.' I do the show to keep the culture close."
Laborde was born in Marksville, Louisiana, part of Avoyelles Parish on the northern fringe of Acadiana. He grew up with French-speaking grandparents and older relatives, but the linguistic ties back to the old ways stopped with his parents. Yet Laborde still yearns for Cajun traditions, a passion that leads to his love for Cajun music that's as much about folklore as melody. "The songs I play are the ones that tell a story, tell it in French," Laborde says.
That's not to say Laborde doesn't have his favorite musicians, citing Bruce Daigrepont (also from Marksville), Ann and Marc Savoy, Steve Riley and BeauSoleil, among others. Loyal listeners call in every week in appreciation, "a diverse group," Laborde says, that consists of aging hippies and French-speaking Cajuns from the West Bank.
Laborde's work as an engineer on coastal restoration projects with the Corps of Engineers also strives to save Cajun culture.
"We're working to restore the wetlands," Laborde says. "It's vital. The Cajuns are seeing their culture, their way of life, evaporate before their very eyes."
So, on air and off, Charles Laborde devotes his time to promoting Cajun heritage. C'est bon!
Congratulation to Charles Laborde, on the air since June, 1995.