The Lost Bayou Ramblers have coined a term for anyone fortunate enough to enjoy the cultural and environmental riches of the lower half of the Louisiana boot: Vermilionaire. It's also the title of the young Cajun band's fifth album featuring its finely tuned new Cajun music. The band is hitting Jazz Fest as well as other festivals in Louisiana and across the country in support of the release.
The Ramblers made their name the old-fashioned way in Cajun country: in dance halls. The band captured its sound and energy on Live a la Blue Moon (2007), which was nominated for a Grammy.
The Ramblers are among a new generation of Cajun bands revitalizing the music, and its members also are working to preserve other parts of Cajun heritage. Bandleader Louis Michot (vocals and fiddle) and drummer Chris Courville are involved in a project dedicated to sustaining traditional culture and agriculture. The Cultural Research Institute of Acadiana is creating a seed bank, collecting seeds that are edible, of medicinal value or otherwise useful. Michot is interviewing elder Cajuns with expertise in traditional agriculture and recording their customs, techniques and stories about living off the land.
"I'm going to interview an old Native American woman, a gardener," Michot says. "Her land is disappearing, sinking into the ocean. You have to talk to people who know about this before they're gone. You have to collect seeds, get these family secrets, get the knowledge before it goes to the grave."
Last year, the band launched a blog to promote wetland conservation and frequently lends its musical talent to environmental fundraisers.
Lost Bayou Ramblers
12:20 p.m. Fri., April 24
Fais Do-Do Stage
Cote Gelee - Lost Bayou Ramblers