Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
With their uncompromising respect for tradition and a forward-looking vision, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have set the standard for modern Cajun music.
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys began over 20 years ago with a reputation for excellence. Their stunningly clean and cohesive performance of Cajun French music from the backwaters of Southwest Louisiana propelled them into the world music limelight early on, and by their third release had garnered them a Grammy nomination in the worldwide field of traditional folk music, another in 2004, another in 2009 and most recently they were nominated for a Grammy in the Best American Regional Roots category in 2012. Never before in Cajun music has a comparable wealth of skills been brought to the same table.
South Louisiana’s Cajun culture has been under siege and survived for 300 years. Through it all, Cajun music has been a fountain of joy and a focus of identity. A blend of accordions and fiddles, black and white, sorrow and celebration, back-porch reverie and Saturday night release, this music has inspired Cajuns and anyone else who hears it to lay down their troubles for a while and celebrate. Like all great forms of folk music, it is forged in great hardship and created for a great purpose – to remind the world and themselves that “we still exist and we will find a way to continue.”
In a field choked with wanna-be blues weeds, Dynamojo blooms triumphantly above the muck and mire, a true flower of authentic blues power. Constantly striving, each member brings his own tentacle of verve and dedication to this veritable Kraken of American roots music. Several chose the road of bio enhancement, having so-called “mojo” hands and teeth grafted or implanted in suitable areas. Alternate Saturdays are spent at the crossroads or intersections “trying to flag a ride”.
Band members bicker and squabble as befits authentically talented and conflicted artists; occasional storming-out-of-rehearsal is encouraged in the pursuit of hard-bitten, world-weary personas.
Wives cooperate by sporadically threatening authentic violence and issuing ultimatums such as “come home right away,” “think about someone besides yourself for a change” or the classic “I’m catching the train home.”
But it gets better— having decided to embark on the long quest toward low-paying bar gigs by appearing for free in the places that will have them, they will not rest until the smiles have been wiped from their faces, nor until every last one truly understands the meaning of the blues euphemism, “dust my broom”.