30'l‘he List 9— 22 February 1990
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Taking their name from an area of low hills south of Edinburgh, DealHeights Cajun Aces play the hypnotic
3 French-derived dance music from Louisiana to enthusiastic audiences all
overScoﬂand. Central to the seven-year-old band's
2 sound is Kim‘s accordion. ‘I don't know where this myth grew up that Cajun is
mountain music. The highest hill in Louisiana is about two feet. I spent three great weeks over there during the summer and learned a lot. The whole area is bursting at the seams with music. In one day in Eunice, I heard six at the best bands. Internationally known musicians played at the dances, and not for much money. It was humbling. And although I‘m not a great playercompared to them, ldid sit in with some of the bands, and I learned what the current repertoire is.‘
The name Cajun is a corruption of ‘Acadien’, the name taken by the French Canadian settlers who then moved south to the Louisiana swamplands. Acadien continues as the trade name of the beautilully constructed, melodeon-style button accordions made by Marc Savoy and played by Kim.
‘Cajun absorbs influences and is always evolving,’ he continues. ‘Creole’s origin is the French-speaking black slave culture. Cajun is essentially the black inlluence on the French music. Zydeco is a stylish black country dance extension of that. It’s still very segregated overthere, with blacks not really allowed in white dance halls. But black music has all the style.
‘I lirst heard Cajun on an album, one of the most beautiful, exciting
recordings of the music. Les Blues Du Bayou was released in 1966, with two black musicians, Boilsec Ardoin on accordion and Canray Fontenot on liddle. I‘m disappointed in the current standard of liddle playing. It is not now as popular as the accordion, and the accordion styles are highly developed. There is a problem for other people playing the music. It is easy for a band trying to play cajun to sound like a rockabilly/bluegrass band or a blues band illheytry to play zydeco.’
The Deal Heights play at The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, as part at the Peace Festival on Wed 14 and The Mucky Duck, Shotts on Thurs 15 Feb. Yorkshire’s heavily Cajun-inlluenced Buttermounlain Boys play Paisley Arts Centre on Sat 10 Feb.
I Sheila Chandra: Roots and Wings (Indipop) This record is flourishing with contradictory signals; the two halves of the singer's name for instance. the fact that it was recorded in Manchester and Madras. the statement of intent in the title and a repertoire which can straddle a remarkable stab at Indian house and a song like lament of .\lc(‘rimmon'. which comes over at first as ('lannad with sitars and fades into a wordless. drifting drone that'squite hypnotic. As the singer with Monsoon. who scored a Number One hit with liver So Lonely". (‘handra showed from the start that she had a foot in both cultures. The diversity and beauty on display here prove that
she's in touch with even more. Sublime. (Alastair
l The Bathers: Sweet Deceit (Island) We start off § on familiar ground: ‘Followed you one night. from the Glasgow School ofArt . . .‘ l-‘ifteentracks later we are out ofour faces. completely and utterly. blissfully drugged
I is complete.
moody ruminations. Sweet Deceit is an album of cerebral workings and utterances and is as transfixing a sound as we are likely to hear.
The tracks are wordy and intelligent. boasting elegant titles like ‘The Pursuit of an ()rchid'. ‘Two ('ats ()n A Piano‘ and ‘The Dyll off(‘rown (‘ircus'. The lyrics are prosaic. but never overly lofty; the most powerful line is when Thomson declares ‘Baby. I'm l9and l‘m fucking crazy about you‘. The profanity may be at direct odds with the brushed piano and light
percussion. but the effect
Sweet Deceit is stately in its mannerisms. ('hris ; 'l‘homson's'I‘om Waits I growl both humbles and inspires. The songs are free-ﬂowing exercises in ' musicalqualityoyer I technologicalquantity. And the result is an album I of rare pleasure. ofutter splendour. of unassuming brilliance. A masterpiece. ((‘raig McLean) I Warren Zevdn: Transverse City (Virgin America) Zeyon's new album opens impressively. with stately banks of keyboards and Jerry Garcia‘s ﬂuid and caustic guitar wrapping themselves around a title track which has all the sure-footedness of an overture. You can really liftthe needle offthere. i for whatseemsintended ' asa concept album focusing on different aspects of modern life never gets off the ground. Zevon flits in the blink of an eye from ‘laying low in Lima' in the early 21st (‘cntury with the law on his tail. to inhabiting the body of a Russian veteran
of Afghanistan in a song which could be an anti-Vietnam diatribe if you substitute Washington for Moscow — has it been lying in his drawer for that long. or does the Afghan situation fill a gaping hole in
American rock song iconography? Elsewhere. he pokes fun at yuppies in a chirpy little number groaning with computer puns. and really rocksout on ‘(iridlock'. announcing an approaching stretch of congested traffic in a manner that suggests he's just spotted the massed ranks of the Sioux lining up on the horizon. Songs like these. and Zevon‘s apparent inability to write about a personal relationship without smothering it with hip paranoid pretension (‘They Moved the Moon') make 'l‘ransverse ( 't'ty less
than appetising. (Alastair Mabbott)