Sneha Girap (Editor)

Dewey Balfa

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Genres  Folk, Cajun
Occupation(s)  Musician
Name  Dewey Balfa

Instruments  Fiddle
Role  Fiddler
Years active  1948–1992
Dewey Balfa httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Born  March 20, 1927 (1927-03-20)
Origin  Grand Louis, Louisiana, USA
Died  June 17, 1992, Eunice, Louisiana, United States
Spouse  Hilda Fruge (m. 1949–1992)
Children  Christine Balfa, Nelda Balfa, Roberta Balfa, Norma Balfa, Dewey Jr Balfa
Similar People  Nathan Abshire, Christine Balfa, Marc Savoy, D L Menard, Canray Fontenot

Associated acts  The Balfa Brothers
Parents  Amay Balfa, Charles Balfa

Dewey balfa fiddle sticks

Dewey Balfa (March 20, 1927 – June 17, 1992) was an American Cajun fiddler and singer who contributed significantly to the popularity of Cajun music. Balfa was born near Mamou, Louisiana. He is perhaps best known for his 1964 performance at the Newport Folk Festival with Gladius Thibodeaux and Vinus LeJeune, where the group received an enthusiastic response from over seventeen thousand audience members. He sang the song "Parlez Nous à Boire" in the 1981 cult film Southern Comfort, in which he had a small role.


Dewey Balfa Smithsonian Folkways Dewey Balfa Master of cajun music

Dewey balfa lee manuel and the savoy family

Early life

Dewey Balfa Dewey Balfa Field Recorders Collective

Dewey Balfa was born in Grand Louis, Louisiana, a small community west of Mamou. He was the son of Amay (née Ardoin) and Charles Balfa who were sharecroppers. Dewey had learned most of his songs from his grandmother and father who was a fiddle player.

Musical career

Dewey Balfa Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

During World War II, Dewey worked in a shipyard in Orange, Texas. After returning in 1948, he and his brothers Will and Rodney formed the Musical Brothers. In 1965, he formed The Balfa Brothers after an enthusiastic response from a performance at the Newport Folk Festival. This led to their first LP, produced by Swallow Records.


Dewey Balfa Dewey Balfa Masters of Traditional Arts

Dewey Balfa married Hilda Frugé when he was 22 in 1949. They had five children together: Nelda, Roberta, Norma, Dewey Jr., and Christine. Many of whom became musicians. Christine founded the band Balfa Toujours to continue the family tradition.

Popularization of Cajun music

Dewey Balfa Dewey Balfa with Friends Family FRC207 Field Recorders Collective

Dewey Balfa appears in a documentary file entitled "Les Blues de Balfa" produced by Yasha Aginsky. In one scene, Balfa is shown with Nathan Abshire entertaining a group of school children. Balfa gives a short lecture concerning the origins of Cajun music:

Dewey Balfa Dewey Balfa Know Louisiana

"We are here to tell you a little bit about what a Cajun is. A Cajun is a person who his homeland was France. Went into Nova Scotia, at the time Acadia, and settled there and was there for about a hundred years, and afterwards the British took over the territory and then the French-speaking people, the French descendants, known as the Acadians, came down to the South-Western part of Louisiana, and that was back in 1755. So over all of these years, your language, and your music has been preserved from daddy to son or daddy to daughter or momma to daughter."

Musical samples

Dewey Balfa Dewey Balfa Masters of Traditional Arts
  • J'ai Passé devant ta Porte Listen
  • Jolie Blonde Listen
  • Selected discography

  • 1976: Traditional Cajun Fiddle: Instruction (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • 1977: Cajun Fiddle, Old and New: Instruction (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • 1984: Les Quatre Vieux Garçons (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • 1986: Dewey Balfa and Friends Fait A La Main!(Handmade) Spicy Traditional Instrumental Cajun Classics! (Swallow LP-6063)
  • 1993: Folk Masters: Great Performances Recorded Live at the Barns of Wolf Trap (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • Selected Filmography

  • 1972: "Dedans le sud de la Louisiane" by Jean-Pierre Bruneau
  • 1983: "Les Blues de Balfa" by Yasha Aginsky
  • References

    Dewey Balfa Wikipedia

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    Christine Balfa
    D L Menard