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A Movie About the Lost Bayou Ramblers and the Rebirth of Cajun French in Louisiana

A documentary project about the Cajun rock band The Lost Bayou Ramblers has been awarded the French Culture Film Grant by the #CreateLouisiana industry-building initiative and the TV5 Monde television network.

On va continuer !” (We will go on!). These words conclude every concert played by The Lost Bayou Ramblers. The sound of his instrument is still resonating when Louis Michot, the band’s violinist and singer, gives his message of hope to the crowds. “Cajun culture and music are not dead. We will go on!”

This encouragement was naturally chosen as the title of Bruno Doria’s upcoming “rockumentary” set to be premiere in 2019. “This is the theme of our movie,” says the director, who is originally from Houma, west of New Orleans. “It follows the efforts of The Lost Bayou Ramblers to save the dying French culture in Louisiana and, through music, to pass on their ancestors’ knowledge to younger generations.”

Bruno Doria has been following The Lost Bayou Ramblers for two years. He has been with them in recording studios and on tour. He has filmed their improvised parade on Congo Square at the last New Orleans carnival, and captured their reactions when they received the Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album in January. He has accompanied Louis Michot to his fiddle maker in Arnaudville, met his family, his father and uncles who founded the band Les Frères Michot in the 1980s, and his wife, Ashlee Michot, who hosts a French-language radio show on KVPI in Ville Platte.

A Bilingual Documentary

On va continuer ! was chosen from five projects to receive a grant of 30,000 dollars. The financing has been awarded annually for the last two years by #CreateLouisiana and TV5 Monde to a short film or documentary on the theme of Francophone culture in Louisiana. A crowdfunding campaign and a fund-raising concert played by The Lost Bayou Ramblers will also help to film the last interviews and finance the editing of the movie.

The documentary will be “bilingual” according to Bruno Doria, with the interviews in French and songs in Cajun subtitled in English. On va continuer ! will premiere at the next New Orleans French Film Festival in February 2019. A screening on the TV5 Monde television network is also being considered.

“The documentary helped me reconnect with my French roots,” says the director, whose ancestors left Pau in the southwest of France to live in Paraguay before moving to Louisiana. He is now learning French through the interviews he has filmed. “My goal is to do the Q&A in French when the documentary comes out!”

  • J’adore les Lost Bayou Ramblers, je les ai vus en concert plusieurs fois en France et aussi en Louisiane. J’ai été ravie de voir qu’ils avaient remporté un Grammy Award. Louis Michot est vraiment sympathique et il parle bien français. J’ai hâte de voir ce film.

  • Merci pour ce bel article. En tant que Louisianais de langue française, je me vois pourtant dans l’obligation de vous rappeler que la graphie “cajun” relève de l’anglais ; il existe bel et bien la graphie française, “cadien.ne,” ce que l’on entend dans la prononciation des Louisianais francophones qui affiche cette identité. Bien écrire le mot en français au lieu de leur projeter un label en anglais n’est-ce pas aussi aider à la “renaissance cadienne” ?

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