For hundreds of years in Louisiana, lullabies were hummed, prayers were called, opera was performed, la-las were danced, and work and carnival songs were sung in Creole. A francophone language with connections to West Africa, Louisiana Creole is now one of the most endangered languages in the world. In this musical ethnography, you will find fifteen original and traditional Creole songs that cross time and musical genres such as blues, zydeco, and traditional jazz. African spirits, maroon villages, Congo Square, southwest Louisiana dance halls, and the Northside Skull and Bone Gang all make appearances. Beginning with an introduction to the history and grammar of the language, the accompanying essays include in-depth interviews with Creole speakers and their descendants, as well as photography, original artwork, archival documents, and altars. The book concludes with the Creole lyrics for each song, along with their English translations. Avek ye, vou ve ‘koute, lir, chante, epi pale an Creole. (With them, you will listen, read, sing, and speak in Creole.) Includes audio CD of Creole compositions from Louisiana.
Rachel Breunlin is co-director of the Neighborhood Story Project. She is currently the ethnographer-in-residence in the Anthropology Department at the University of New Orleans where she teaches courses on public culture and collaborative ethnography.
Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana as a musician, writer, and photographer. His music ranges from blues, to jazz, to zydeco accordion.