What is Cajun Music?

By | April 12, 2021


Early Cajun music was developed by the academic people of Nova Scotia. The academies, who moved from western France to settle in the Canadian provinces of Canada, were expelled by British authorities in 1755. Many of them moved down through New England and into Louisiana, taking the music with them. The Acadians had developed a style of music that consisted of French lyrics that set to energetic fiddle playing. In Louisiana, the Acadian people perfected this style of music in Cajun music. The lyrics of the early Cajun music described the harshness of life in the territory, or told humorous and sometimes ugly stories. musical styles began to influence Cajun music, various instruments were added.


As the popularity of Cajun music grew and spread to other parts of the country, sub-productions of Cajun music developed. Traditional Cajun musicians, such as legendary Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa, and his band Balfa Brothers, helped popularize traditional Cajun music. As Cajun music became more common, other styles of music began to mix with it to form other varieties of Cajun-inspired music. Modern country music has had a major impact on Cajun music, and a subgroup called Texas Swing Cajun was born out of the mix of country and Cajun styles. Another popular style, called Dancehall Cajun, moved away from the trend of using only a few instruments as backup, adding steel, electric and bass guitars.

Contemporary Cajun Music

Cajun music has experienced many re-experiences since its popularity perception. Rock, blues, hip hop and many other modern styles have helped to develop contemporary Cajun music. While most modern Cajun music groups now use common instruments, such as drums and guitars, some still use traditional instruments such as washboards and accordions. But Cajun music has changed over the centuries, it has always retained its core components. The torch has retained its significance, and many modern Cajun groups still sing songs in French. The feel and sound of Cajun music has also been preserved. Cajun music has always had a capering attitude and a folk sound. Accordion accompaniment creates a strong rhythmic background. The fiddles, which are sometimes played very intensely, give Cajun music its high energy. This preservation of the core components of Cajun music is seen in groups such as BeauSoleil, a Louisiana-based group that has played in music tours throughout the United States. The group combines newer forms of music with the traditional Cajun elements, and they pay homage to their original academic roots. The band’s name, ‘BeauSoleil’, is a reference to Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, leader of the academic opposition to the British expulsion from Nova Scotia.


Traditional Cajun music used only three instruments: the violin, the accordion and the triangle. These three instruments gave Cajun music a strong rhythmic presence and form the basis of other Cajun styles of music. In recent years and styles, other instruments have become important to Cajun music, such as steel guitar. Drums are also used in some modern styles, as well as several other types of guitars. Although Cajun music has added many new instruments to its changing style, almost all Cajun music still has the presence of the original three instruments, the violin, accordion and triangle.


Cajun dance has been developed with Cajun music. Cajun versions of common dances, such as the waltz, jig, and jitter bow, were invented to accompany Cajun music. Cajun dances are typically fast paced and energetic, and dancers will often use the entire floor space. Cajun dances are performed at music festivals and competitions, as well as at private homes and gatherings in Louisiana. Cajun music, firmly rooted in Louisiana, has a long history that begins with the academic people of Nova Scotia. Fiddles are heavily featured in Cajun music, and songs are often sung in French. Over time, different styles and variations have grown and gained popularity, but all forms of Cajun music share certain rhythmic, instrumental and cultural aspects.