As much as Cajun music has historically been associated with the concept of fais do-do, there haven’t been many recordings with sleeping babies in mind.
With an assemblage of Acadiana’s best vocalists and instrumentalists, Je M’Endors (I’m Sleepy) is a lovely collection of Cajun and Creole lullabies consisting of traditional and original material done in mostly acoustic-centric and quasi-orchestral arrangements (“Bridge Street Lullaby / Lac Martin”).
Only a few songs feature an accordion, imaginably because played at regular dancehall style volume it’s more caffeinating than sleep inducing. On the irresistibly dreamy “Brahms’ Lullaby,” Steve Riley plays his accordion slowly and softly while Richard Comeaux conjures up hallowed tones on steel guitar. Curley Taylor chills as well with a zydeco-R&B spin on “Crabe Dans Callaloo,” a transformed Haitian a cappella song from the Lomax archives.
Since the title track is really the album’s focal point, there are two sweeping versions of “Je M’Endors.” David Doucet and crew’s rendition has mystical overtones and a new verse by Kristi Guillory; the other, sung by Ann Savoy and Jane Vidrine, is about a tired child who wants her playmates to go home.
There’s something special to behold anywhere the needle drops. Terrance Simien and daughter Marcella deliver a stunning cultural prayer of sorts; Megan Brown interprets a lovable Acadian lullaby.
Packaged with informative liner notes, Je M’Endors is one of the most gorgeous recordings you’ll hear this year.