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Comments on Zachary Richard's
Coeur Fidèle (Faithful Heart)
In the world of Cajun music, Zachary Richard is in a class by himself. Basically, Cajun musicians live off of dance music. This has the advantage that the music can be audience-pleasing even if one is on the college festival circuit and the audience does not understand any of the words to the songs. Many Cajun albums consist entirely of re-recordings of old standards and the words are very secondary to the music.
Although Zachary can play great Cajun dance music, he has had his greatest success with songs that are not at all for dancing, but rather that tell stories. To have a large enough audience, Zachary has to aim his songs at the world-wide French-speaking audience, but the interesting thing is that he still tells the stories in his native Cajun French. Zachary¹s last album, "Cap Enragé" confirmed him as a megastar in French Canada and went platinum.
In Zachary¹s latest album, Coeur Fidèle, he tells stories about the varied pockets of French-speakers all over America. The first single off the album, "Pagayez" (Paddle) is about the French adverturers (Coureurs de bois) who explored the northern US and the mid-section of Canada. "Massachusetts" is about the French Canadians who moved into New England to work in the textile mills and lost their identity and their heritage. It is a nod to the Franco-American Jack Kerouac and his beat generation.
"Un autre baiser" (Another Kiss) is the story of a Zydeco musician who has moved out to San Francisco Bay to play his zydeco like Clifton Chenier. After 30 years in California he still longs for the girl he left in Louisiana.
"Jésus en arrière" (Jesus in the Back Seat) looks at the situation of certain Acadians in Moncton, New Brunswick.
"Écrevisses" (Crawfish) is a rocking Cajun song celebrating the favorite food of Cajuns. At the end of the song one hears the sampled voice of legendary announcer Jerry Dugas on KJEF radio in Jennings, LA, announcing that the music will continue. Jerry Dugas has presented his Cajun and zydeco program "Allons Danser" on Saturday mornings for 49 years.
The songs "Réveille" (Wake Up) and "Contre Vents, Contre Marées" (Against the Tide) are songs which link the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces of Canada with those of Louisiana and both are pleas to the Acadians not to abandon their heritage.
In the latest edition of Actualité, which is the leading newsmagazine for French Canada, we find the following comments about Zachary's present show which is touring French Canada (translation by RadioLouisiane.com) : "Coeur Fidèle contains the following dedication : ŒThis album is dedicated to those who resist. "To all my French-speaking brothers and sisters of America. To the peoples of the First Nations. To Louis Riel, Beausoleil and Jackie Vautour. To the Black Creoles, to the half-breeds, to the strippers, to insomniacs, to the people who fish with their bare hands [...].' Zachary Richard caresses and roars. His CD is good, the artist on the stage is even better: at ease, persuasive and funny. Let¹s have more of this!"
Coeur Fidèle is a best-seller in French Canada but it not easy to find in the US. It can be ordered off of Zach's website at
David Emile Marcantel
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Radio Louisiane is the voice of French America. Our families have been in North America for almost 400 years, and we still speak French. Radio Louisiane is the international voice of Cajun music, Zydeco music, Acadian music, Louisiana Creole music, Franco-American music as well as of Cajun and Zydeco bands from around the world.
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