Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

BALFA BROTHERS

Family of Cajun musicians who helped preserve trad. Louisiana music; the 'Balfa Brotherhood' consisting of Dewey (b 20 March '27, Mamou LA; d 17 June '92, Eunice LA), Burkeman, Harry, Rodney, Will; Rodney and Will were killed in car crash Feb. '79. They learned old songs from their father Charles, became accomplished on accordion, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, petit fer (triangle) and spoons, trad. Cajun instrumentation. 'My father, grandfather, great- grandfather all played the fiddle, and you see, through my music, I feel they are still alive,' as Dewey put it. 'I think of the Balfa Brothers band as a brotherhood of musicians, not just as three or four blood brothers.' Further influences were Harry Choates, Leo Soileau, Bob Wills; they played and recorded extensively with Nathan Abshire as well as on their own. Despite their importance in the genre, Dewey ran a furniture business as his main livelihood. They made film Blues des Balfas (Flower Films). Albums incl. The New York Concerts, Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Music and More Traditional Music (with Marc Savoy) on Floyd Soileau's Swallow label or on Ace; Under A Green Oak Tree (with Savoy and D. L. Menard) on Arhoolie; Souvenirs/Fait la Main! on Ace, J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard et La Belette on Rounder.