Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Arcadian Waltz" - Adam Trahan

In 1928, as Columbia was looking for more Cajun material similar to Joe and Cleoma's music, other amateur musicians watching starry-eyed from the sidelines longed for recognition and a recording contract.  Nineteen-year-old Adam Trahan practiced his accordion assiduously after hearing "Lafayette" and eventually landed a deal with Columbia Records--$100 plus travel expenses--with the help of a local record retailer with ties to the New York--based company.  In December 1928, Columbia records released two Trahan records, one containing the instrumental "Arcadian Waltz" (#40509), before the disenchanted musician slipped into obscurity, never to step foot into a studio again.

Like most national record companies, Columbia's engineers misspelled Cajun words, in this case, his name Trehan and the word Acadian.  There is a distinct dissonance between the accordion's bass and the guitar throughout the songs. According to an interview with Trahan in the 1960s, he explained when it was time for him to go to New Orleans to make that record, his regular guitarist either couldn't (it was at harvest time) or wouldn't make the trip.  So, he picked up some guitar player in New Orleans who didn't know the material. The rhythm of the guitar is perfect, but the chords are nearly 100% wrong.

According to Ron Brown, fans and club owners bombarded the musician with requests to perform for dances following Trahan's debut release, however he declined having a music career.

  1. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Accordions, fiddles, two step & swing: a Cajun music reader by Ron Brown, Ryan A. Brasseaux, and Kevin S. Fontenot
  3. Image by Devon F.
CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Cajun Swamp Stomp, Vol 1 (Lumi, 2012)

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