Creole Moon, a live recording from Lafayette’s Blue Moon Saloon, is Cedric Watson’s second release in less than a year following his late 2009 studio release L’Éspirit Créole. Unlike so many live recordings that follow in close succession to their studio counterparts and have repeat tunes, here there’s no overlap whatsoever. Watson proves that he’s a master mixologist, juxtaposing old style, accordion-played zydeco with rollicking Cajun/Creole fiddle tunes and a haunting rendition of Dennis McGee’s “Pa Janvier.” The sound quality is crystal clear, capturing the group’s poly-rhythmic assault and the audience’s approving response that’s essential to a live recording.
What makes the proceedings truly amazing are the three tracks featuring Senegalese kora virtuoso Morikeba Kouyate, who performed at Festival International that weekend. On the opening track, the aptly named “Afro Zydeco,” a strange rhythmic juking sound emerges that’s foreign to zydeco. Soon, it becomes clear that it’s Kouyate’s 21-stringed kora in perfect sync with the band and nailing dancing runs whenever there’s enough space. “We’re taking Creole music and mixing it back with the roots!” Watson zealously proclaims afterwords.
“Juré” is undoubtedly the most unusual juré ever heard. Drummer Jermaine Prejean kicks off a second line rhythm and Kouyate adds a sweet melodic flavoring. Soon, Watson and Kouyate venture beyond juré with some exploratory fiddle-kora call-and-response interaction, with dazzling solos by both. Hopefully,this is the start of many genre cross-pollinating,cultural exchanges to come.