Tessa Espinosa


Malde, Melissa

Committee Member

Oravitz, Michael

Committee Member

Kauffman, Deborah

Committee Member

Welsh, Michael


College of Performing and Visual Arts; School of Music, Music Performance


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



122 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


“Ici on parle Français” (“French is spoken here”) is a popular adage in South Louisiana and can be seen on signage and T-shirts in mom-and-pop stores throughout the heart of Cajun territory. This phrase reflects cultural pride and tenacity in a small but hearty group of people whose identity was nearly stripped away. Musical settings of Cajun French verse constituted a vital part of this culture. Why is this music important? It exists as historical preservation, a means to explore roots in a time when so many are rootless. These songs have been passed down through oral history for generations. They express many moods, from beautiful and sad to lively and fun. The document provides the text and melodies as transcribed from interviews with custodians of these songs living in Pierre Part, Louisiana. Also provided are phonetic spellings of the text and a pronunciation guide for Cajun French. Thus, this document provides tools that singers, historians, and composers can use in performance, research, and the creation of new works. One of the performers interviewed for this study, Mona Dugas, is already pointing the way to the future of Cajun songs by composing and performing new songs based on the Cajun French tradition. Cajun music has adapted through many influences, including Black Creole music, German polka bands, and country swing. The purpose of this study is to focus on the people of Pierre Part and their individual interpretations and trace the history of the songs they sing back to the forced migration of the Acadians from Canada to the present day.

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Copyright is held by the author.