GIG Review: Cedric Watson & His Band at The Forge, Basingstoke 20/09/12

Four times Grammy Award nominee Cajun musician Cedric Watson is also a bit a story teller and a joker! Brilliantly accompanied by Jacques Boudreaux from Baton-Rouge on the fiddle and Desirée Champagne on the “frottoir” or rubboard, replacing the old wooden washboard, he took the audience on a time travelling trip from the earliest Cajun recorded tunes of the 30s through to some of his own contemporary compositions. He played many types of dances, including two-steps and waltzes amongst others. Jacques remarked rightly at one point: “Cedric knows all the tunes!” It was a very relaxed evening with plenty of chat between songs and the occasional downing of thirst quenching English beer as Cedric picked out the songs at random from a phenomenal back catalogue of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco tunes. There were some wonderful instrumental interactions between Cedric’s pulsating accordion and Jacques’s screeching and wailing melodious fiddle. They played together creatively, at times heightening the rhythm with much gusto. This is dance music after all and so a pub or a continental café might have been a more suitable place to see them.   Two guests were invited to play with the trio and added spice to the “gumbo”.  Personally I would have preferred to have heard more of Cedric’s own compositions since they take Cajun and Zydeco in a forward direction by absorbing the many influences that make up this particular Louisiana sound.  I hear his new album is taking this idea further. I can’t wait.

Joel Roszykiewicz