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Accordion Dreams - A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music

Accordion Dreams

A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music

By Blair Kilpatrick
Hardcover : 9781604731019, 224 pages, January 2009


By age thirty-nine, Blair Kilpatrick had settled into life as a practicing psychologist, wife, and mother. Then a chance encounter in New Orleans turned her world upside down. She returned home to Chicago with unlikely new passions for Cajun music and its defining instrument, the accordion. Captivated by recurring dreams of playing the Cajun accordion, she set out to master it. Yet she was not a musician, was too self-conscious to dance, and didn't even sing in the shower.

Kilpatrick's obsession took her from Chicago's Cajun dance scene to a folk music camp in West Virginia, back and forth to south Louisiana, and even to a Cajun festival in France. An unexpected family move brought her to the San Francisco Bay Area, home to the largest Cajun-zydeco music scene outside the Gulf Coast. There she became a protégé of renowned accordionist Danny Poullard, a Louisiana-born Creole and the guiding spirit of the local Louisiana French music community.

Engaging, uplifting, and illuminating a unique patch of the American cultural landscape, Accordion Dreams is Kilpatrick's account of the possibility of passion, risk-taking, and change--at any age.

Blair Kilpatrick has an independent practice in psychotherapy in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also performs and records with Sauce Piquante, a traditional Cajun-Creole band she founded in the late 1990s. Learn more at www. blairkilpatrick. com


"Blair Kilpatrick's Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music makes an important contribution to Louisiana Cajun and zydeco music and culture. Blair represents many working people who make music for serious fun. Accordion Dreams will resonate with anyone who has ever taken on the task of getting past their fears in order to learn a new skill, especially later in life. It is a detailed guidebook for those who have been standing on the edge of the dance floor waiting for a solid partner to lead them through the Cajun Two Step and into the culture. She deftly reveals the history of the music and its lineage of musicians in a simple, no-nonsense style of writing. Connoisseurs of folk music all over the world should have this book in their libraries. "

--Anne Galjour, author of Hurricane and Mauvais Temps


"A lyrical, deeply felt, and beautifully rendered memoir of a mid-life love affair with Cajun music that ultimately transforms a psychologist's life, while enriching those of its readers. "

--Doreen Orion, author of Queen of the Road


"Kilpatrick's passion for Cajun and Creole music and culture, and her efforts to nurture it in places like Chicago and Berkeley, make me realize how much I take for granted living in south Louisiana. Her book is a great compliment to the Cajun and Creole people, and it provides a rare glimpse into the lives of those who play Cajun and Creole music even while residing far from the music's semitropical homeland. "

--Shane K. Bernard, author of Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues and The Cajuns: Americanization of a People