the River of Song project and more...

List Artists by Genre
List Artists Alphabetically
Previous Artist
Next Artist
Video Clips

Smithsonian Institution
Louisiana, Where Music is KingAmericans Old and NewMidwestern CrossroadsSouthern FusionLouisiana, Where Music is King
DL Menard

Guitarist and songwriter D.L. Menard is a local legend in the bayou country. "The Cajun Hank Williams," he started out as a country singer, the guy who would sing the latest English-language hits in between the older French numbers. In his teens, though, he met Hank Williams at a local show, and Williams told him he should be proud of his own culture and play his own music. Menard reacted by reshaping Williams's "Honky Tonk Blues" into the most popular Cajun song since "Jole Blon," the picaresque "La Porte En Arriere," or "The Back Door." That was back in the early 1950s, and over the next four decades Menard has written hundreds of songs, all in French and illuminated by his keen insight and sure lyrical touch. He is also a popular bandleader, the finest old-time entertainer in Cajun music. His shows are a mix of irresistably danceable music, heart-wrenching vocals, and strings of weird non-sequitors and off-beat philosophizing.
       River of Song filmed Menard in his back yard, hosting a crawfish feast along with his regular band and two of the finest young players in the field, the traditional accordion master and singer Robert Jardell and guitarist and singer Christine Balfa, whose father Dewey started the modern Cajun renaissance and who now leads the popular Balfa Toujours.

Related Links

       Some photos of DL's pal Christine Balfa in concert

Home | The River of Song Project | The Artists | Music Along the River | Calendar | Teacher's Guide | Press Room | The Store
© 1998 The Filmmakers Collaborative and The Smithsonian Institution, all right reserved
River of Song HOME the River of Song project the artists music along the river calendar teacher's guide pressroom store