Famous Louisiana Cajun Musician Biographies
Discover the talent behind the Cajun music of Louisiana.
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 the music of the Acadiana region of Louisiana. Only 34 recordings are known to exist.
SADY COURVILLE (1905 – 1988) was a Cajun fiddler known for his collaborations with Dennis McGee. Some of the pair’s earliest 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 and 1950s. 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 Waltz," "Bosco Stomp" and "Mamou Two Step." He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997, 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."
THE 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 “Jole Blon” in 1946. It was a major hit for Choates and was even bigger when country singer Moon Mullican 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 – 2017) has been called the “Hank Williams of Cajun Music” because of the country-like sound of his voice and the influence the country legend had on him. He was nominated for a GRAMMY® twice in 1993 and 2010. 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 more than 17,000 festival attendees.
ZACHARY RICHARD has been a prominent performer in Cajun music for four decades. In addition to touring worldwide, Richard has published four volumes of poetry and four children’s books.
BEAUSOLEIL featuring MICHAEL DOUCET is 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 some of its members were attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which inspired the band’s name. Baton Rouge means "red stick" in French.
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 handful of albums, made several television and movie appearances, and has toured on four continents.
PINE LEAF BOYS have been nominated for four GRAMMY® awards, winning one in 2012. They tour internationally and have been invited by the U.S. State Department six times to present their music to 23 countries throughout Europe and Asia.