Cajun-Creole Dance Party at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. Kicking
it off on the right foot at 7:30pm will be celebrated New Orleans native dance
instructor Cheryl McBride followed by music and dancing at 8pm. Tickets are selling and the advance discount is available on Brown Paper Tickets or at San Geronimo Valley Community Center until Friday April 25th at midnight. The Creole
Belles have performed with numerous legends from Ry Cooder to Peter Rowan. They
were recently part of a Grammy-nominated live album celebrating their record
label, Arhoolie Records.
To make room for a big dancing ruckus, the show has been moved around the corner from the Community Center to the Lagunitas School Multipurpose Room at 1 Lagunitas School Road in San Geronimo with its significantly larger space for dancing. There is extensive parking in SGVCC and school lots and on street and the venue is about 10 minutes West of Fairfax and 45 minutes from San Francisco or Berkeley.
Event producer Hannah Doress caught up with Delilah Lee Lewis to find
out how the Creole Belles does it.
Hannah: What kind of music do you play?
Delilah: We play dance music, two-steps,
waltzes and a few shuffles or line dances. There is often a dance teacher who
gives a short lesson before our dances.
Hannah: What are the origins of your band name?
Delilah: We play Creole, Cajun and old-time
Zydeco music from southwestern Louisiana. We had some beautiful old sheet music
for the original song "My Creole Belle,” which had photos of 6 women on
it. Since we were an all-woman band playing Creole music, the name seemed
Hannah: How long have you known each other?
Delilah: Karen and I met in 1985.
We met Maureen in 1996 when she was playing in a local Cajun band Frog Legs
with bass player Elaine Herrick, who now often joins the Belles. Delilah met
Andrew (when she first met Danny Poullard), also in the early 1980’s. Delilah learned some fiddle tunes from
Andrew’s father, Bebe Carriere, when she moved to Louisiana in 1982.
Hannah When did you form the Creole Belles?
Delilah: In 1996
Hannah: Tell me about your instruments?
Delilah: I play the fiddle, which
is the same thing as the violin, but played in a folk style played by ear
rather than reading music. Maureen plays diatonic Cajun accordions, which are
one-row button accordions, more similar to the harmonica than the more
accordion. Andrew also plays accordion, but with the Belles, he mostly sings
and plays traditional Cajun percussion instruments like the triangle and the
"frottoir" or "rubboard," which is an updated, wearable
all-metal version of the washboard. Karen plays the guitar. Elaine plays the
stand-up acoustic bass. Maureen and Andrew's instruments are all built in
Hannah: Do you have record label?
Delilah: Yes, we are on the
Arhoolie label, a wonderful internationally respected folk label located here
in El Cerrito, CA. The Belles
played recently at a live performance celebrating the West Coast premiere of
the Arhoolie Records film, This Ain't No Mouse Music (filmmakers Maureen
Gosling and Chris Simon) and Arhoolie Records founder and roots music pioneer,
Chris Strachwitz. We played along with Los Cenzontles, and Eric & Suzy
Thompson as well as special guests Maria Muldaur, Laurie Lewis, and Howell
Devine at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley, CA.
Also, we are especially proud to be a
part of the concert which was recorded live at the Freight and Salvage for the
Arhoolie 50th Anniversary celebration with Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal,
Peter Rowan, Treme Brass Band, Country Joe MacDonald and others. The oversize photography
book and 4 CD set “They All Played for Us” that came out of that event was just
nominated for a Grammy award and while it didn’t win, it was considered a front
Hannah: What are your favorite venues?
Delilah: Oh wow, there are so
many. We have played the Ashkenaz in Berkeley for many years, and that is dear
to our hearts. We enjoy our occasional trips to Don Quixote's in the Santa Cruz
Mountains. We have loved playing some of the further away festivals like the
Bayou and Blues Festival in Long Beach, the Whistlestop Festival in Washington,
and the Short Grass Music Festival in New Mexico. We especially love venues
where people get up and dance, because we play dance music more than concert
Hannah: Who are your musical influences?
Delilah: I worked as a nurse in Louisiana for three
years so that I could learn Cajun and Creole fiddling from some of the old
masters. My apartment was above Marc Savoy's Acadien brand accordion building
shop in Eunice, LA. I became friends with and frequently visited the homes of
Canray Fontenot, Dennis McGee, Wade Fruge, as well as Dewey Balfa and Bebe
Carriere where I learned traditional fiddling styles. Those masters have all
passed away, and we are proud to do what we can to carry on traditional Creole
Hannah: Who writes your songs?
Delilah: Our songs are
traditional and have been handed down from generation to generation. Some have
been traced back to France. Some have heavy blues and African influence, others
a Caribbean flavor. For most of them, no one author can be traced.
Hannah: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Hannah: What upcoming shows are you excited about?
Delilah: We look forward to
playing the San Geronimo Valley Community Center the evening of Saturday, April 26.
Also excited to be back at the Ashkenaz on June 17th and then playing at the
Long Beach Cajun and Zydeco Festival on Sunday, June 22nd. We often play private weddings, events and parties. Our
complete list of performances can be found on our website