10 March 2020

Keeping traditions alive and growing

Anyone interested in the survival and transmission of cultures and traditions - or even just in Cajun music - should enjoy reading Jonathan Olivier's long article 'L√Ęche pas les langues de la Louisiane' ('Don't let go of the languages of Louisiana') in The Bitter Southerner online magazine. The Louisiana dialect of French was for much of the twentieth century discouraged by official educational policies. Preserving it, and the traditions it embodies, is not a simple matter: French-language immersion courses (for both children and adults) have had to use teachers from Canada, France, Belgium, and francophone Africa who don't speak the dialect themselves - let alone the related Creole dialect Kouri-Vini. At the same time, many people want to ensure that the traditional forms are not just preserved but alive and growing. There are plenty of issues here that fans of old-time and bluegrass music will find familiar.

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