JOE AND CLEOMA FALCON (1900 – 1965, 1906 – 1941) were best known for the first recording of the Cajun song Allons à Lafayette in 1928. Joe, an accordionist, and Cleoma, a guitarist and vocalist, recorded the song in New Orleans for Columbia Records and it became a smash hit. The couple sold thousands of copies and played shows across Louisiana and Texas.
DENNIS McGEE (1893 – 1989) was one of the earliest recorded Cajun musicians. His most notable recordings were done with fellow fiddle players Sady Courville and Ernest Frugé, and those sessions are said to be among the few existing that reflect Cajun music prior to accordions being the prominent instrument.
AMÉDÉ ARDOIN (1898 – 1942) was a Creole accordionist who is credited with laying much of the groundwork for Cajun music’s evolution in the early 1900s. He was also one of the first Cajun musicians to record his works. Only 34 recordings are known to exist.
SADY COURVILLE (1905 – 1988) is a Cajun fiddler known for his collaborations with Dennis McGee. The pair’s most famous work was recorded in New Orleans in 1929.
IRY LeJEUNE (1928 – 1955) was one of most popular and best selling Cajun musicians in the late 1940s. He was among a small group of Cajun recording artists who returned the accordion to prominence at a time in which the western Texas swing sound was starting to influence Cajun music.
LAWRENCE WALKER (1907 – 1968) was a Cajun accordionist best known for the original songs Reno Waltz, Evangeline Special, Bosco Stomp and Mamou Two Step. He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.
ALDUS ROGER (1915 – 1999) led the Lafayette Playboys for more than 20 years. His popularity in the 1950s and 1960s led to him hosting a Cajun music television show on KLFY in Lafayette. He also recorded a Cajun French version of the Hank Williams hit Jambalaya (On The Bayou), which Williams had based on the Cajun tune Grand Texas.
BALFA BROTHERS were a group of five who played across America and Europe in the 1960s, at a time when Cajun music’s influence on other American genres had been somewhat forgotten. One of their most prominent appearances was at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.
HARRY CHOATES (1922 – 1951) penned the famous Cajun song “Joli Blon” in 1946. It was a major hit for Choates and was even bigger when country singer Moon Mulligan covered the song later, but Choates was never compensated for the song’s success because he had waived the rights to it.
D.L. MENARD (1932) has been called the “Hank Williams of Country Music” because of the country-like sound of his voice and his original music. He has been nominated for a Grammy twice in recent years. His song La Porte En Arrière (The Back Door) is one of the most popular Cajun recordings ever — it sold over 500,000 copies in 1962 alone.
GLADIUS THIBODEAUX, LOUIS “VINESSE” LeJEUNE AND DEWEY BALFA are best known for their 1964 performance at the Newport Folk Festival, where the group received incredible response from almost 20,000 festival attendees. The show was said to be the first national-stage exposure of Cajun music outside of Louisiana.
ZACHARY RICHARD has been a prominent performer in Cajun music for four decades. In addition to touring worldwide, Richard has published three volumes of poetry and three children’s books.
MICHAEL DOUCET AND BEAUSOLEIL are one of the most known Louisiana genre bands worldwide. Their music includes Cajun and zydeco songs, many with elements of American rock, jazz, blues and even calypso music. The group has won two Grammy awards and earned a dozen nominations.
WAYNE TOUPS (1958) fused his love of Cajun music, rock, R&B and zydeco into a genre he calls “zydecajun,” and he sings in English and French. He has performed around the world and has contributed accordion tracks to songs by Mark Chesnutt, Clay Walker, Alan Jackson, George Jones and Garth Brooks.
RED STICK RAMBLERS is a contemporary Cajun group, playing traditional songs as well as covers of Western swing, early jazz, blues and honky-tonk music. The band formed while members were attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which inspired the band’s name.
LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS is a contemporary Cajun band that has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe. They have played some of America’s largest music festivals and they earned a Grammy nomination in 2008.
BALFA TOUJOURS is the Cajun band led by Christine Balfa, the daughter of acclaimed Cajun musician Dewey Balfa. The band has recorded a half dozen albums, made several television and movie appearances and have toured on four continents.
PINE LEAF BOYS have been nominated for three Grammy awards. They tour internationally and in 2009, they were part of a U.S. State Department tour in which they performed in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jerusalem.