An iconic symbol of the female influence on Cajun and Creole music, what we know today as "Jolie Blonde" was first recorded as "Ma blonde est partie" in 1929 by the Breaux Brothers. Ninety years later, this "pretty blonde" has led to other female characters in songs, like Joline, Colinda, Madeleine, Chère Alice, Chère Mam, Chère Bassette, Bernadette, Tante Adèle, Marie, Rosa, la Fille de la Veuve and les Filles à Nonc Hilaire, among many others.
For 2019, Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is celebrating the role of women in Cajun and Creole music-and the 90th anniversary of "Jolie Blonde." Female performers from Cléoma Breaux Falcon to the current generation who have taken the stage, such as the members of Bonsoir, Catin, T'Monde, Babineaux Sisters, The Daiquiri Queens and many others, have helped to carry on these musical traditions.
"We would be remiss not to also mention the women who have preserved our venerable ballad traditions by singing for their families and friends at home, such as Alma Barthélémy, Lula Landry, Inez Catalon, Odile Falcon, Agnes Bourque and Marie Pellerin," says Board President Barry Jean Ancelet. "And then, there are also women who helped to document and preserve our musical and cultural heritage, like Irene Whitfield, Corinne Saucier, Catherine Blanchet, Marce Lacouture and Kristi Guillory. This year, we are celebrating all of these women, real and fictional, and their contributions to our musical history both on and off the stage."
Official 2019 Poster Artist
Our 2019 official poster artist Melissa Bonin was tasked with depicting a visual celebration and tribute to the lyrical legacy of the feminine in Cajun and Creole music. Her original artwork depicts birds in flight, a symbol of freedom for women finding their voice. A recorded interview of Creole singer Alma.
Barthelemy in which she talks about where she learned her songs, also supported the image selection.
In French, Barthelemy said: "Avec maman, oui, avec ma maman. Et ben j'apprenais ça avec ma maman. Ma maman, c'était une femme qui chantait réglé. Et la tante de ma maman, elle prenait son panier d'ouvrage. Elle allait s'asseoir en dessous des arbres, et le z-oiseau qui passait, qui sifflait, elle faisait une chanson là-dessus."
Translated into English, her response means: "From my mother, yes, from my mother. Well, I learned them from my mother. My mother was a woman who sang often. And my mother's aunt, who would take her basket of needlework. She would sit under the trees, and the birds that passed, that whistled, she would make a song on that."
A native of New Iberia and a leading Louisiana landscape painter, Bonin will be also exhibiting a series of paintings in an exhibition titled "Songbirds: Nature as Metaphor" at the A. Hays Town Building at the Hilliard University Art Museum Sept. 9-Oct. 13. The Festivals Acadiens et Crèoles 2019 poster art will be unveiled during a reception at the museum Friday, Sept. 13, from 6-8 p.m. The event is open to the public and free to attend.
Our 2019 music lineup opens on Friday, Oct. 11, with female supergroup Bonsoir, Catin and special guests. Several other female-fronted bands will be playing this year's festival, including Magnolia Sisters, Feufollet, Babineaux Sisters, T'Monde, Yvette Landry & the Jukes, The Daiquiri Queens, Soul Creole and Sweet Crude. We will also be celebrating the evolution of Cajun and Creole musicians like Jeffery Broussard, who will follow Bonsoir, Catin with his Creole Cowboys on opening night; Joel Sonnier, celebrating his 60th anniversary in music, and Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express, both playing sets on Oct. 12; and Feufollet, which has featured a female singer since its origins, on Oct. 13.
Scène Atelier will have Wade Falcon telling the "True Story of Jolie Blonde" and "Femme: A Celebration of Louisiana Women Musicians" on Oct. 12, as well as the Broussard family sisters performing traditional Creole jurés on Oct. 13. Gina Forsyth and Sheryl Cormier will lead sessions at the Jam Tent throughout the weekend. And Wayne Toups & ZydeCajun help us close out Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in what has become a Sunday night tradition.
Symposium & Other Events
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is working with the Center for Louisiana Studies to produce special programming at the festival and a pre-festival symposium that will address these issues. Titled "Les femmes et les filles: Female Perspectives in Cajun and Creole Culture," the symposium on Friday, Oct. 11, will take place at the A. Hays Town Building at Hilliard University Art Museum.
More details and a full schedule of events are included below. Festival dates are Oct. 11-13, 2019. As always, our festival takes place in Girard Park and is free and open to the public. More information can be found at www.festivalsacadiens.com, where those who want to show their support can sign up to become a Festival Friend.
Events for 2019
All events are free and open to the public (except Tour Des Atakapas).
Friday, Sept. 13: Poster & Pin Unveiling & opening of Melissa Bonin exhibit of paintings "Songbirds: Nature as Metaphor" from 6-8 p.m.; exhibit will be on display in the A. Hays Town Building at the Hilliard University Art Museum through Oct. 13.
Friday, Oct. 11: "Les femmes et les filles: Female Perspectives in Cajun and Creole Culture" symposium from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the A. Hays Town Building at the Hilliard University Art Museum (full schedule & registration will be open soon); Festivals Acadiens et Créoles opening with cutting of the boudin in Girard Park at 5 p.m.; Friday Night Fais Do Do with Bonsoir, Catin & Jeffery Broussard: Zydeco Force to Creole Cowboys.
Saturday, Oct. 12: Tour Des Atakapas Race & Duathlon at 7:30 a.m. (register at https://www.latrail.org/tourdesatakapas) and Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Girard Park from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 13: French Mass at 9 a.m. and final day of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Girard Park until 8 p.m.; final day of "Songbirds: Nature as Metaphor" exhibit at A. Hays Town Building.
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles can trace its roots back to the first Tribute to Cajun Music Festival organized by CODOFIL in 1974. Festivals Acadiens et Créoles was officially established in 1977 with components of music, food and crafts. Since then, the event has grown into a multi-day affair taking place during the second full weekend of October each year in Lafayette, La. Festivals operates as a nonprofit corporation and is run by a community board and volunteers.