Barry Jean Ancelet

Barry Jean Ancelet and Jean Arceneaux  Photo by: Philip Gould.

Barry Jean Ancelet and Jean Arceneaux

Photo by: Philip Gould.

Barry Jean Ancelet was born in Church Point and raised in Lafayette.

He is Professor Emeritus of Francophone Studies and Center for Louisiana Studies Research Fellow at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He inaugurated and taught the first course on Cajun and Creole music at the university.

He is co-founder and director of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. He has also served as fieldworker and presenter for a number of other festivals, including Festival International de Louisiane, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Louisiana Folklife Festival, the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, Québec’s Festival d’été, the National Folk Festival, and the Cultural Olympiad at the Atlanta Olympics, as well as a number of special concerts and workshops including at the Library of Congress, Balfa Camp, Folk Roots, and several university campuses.

He hosted the Liberty Theater’s Rendez-vous des Cadiens weekly live radio show for 24 years (1987-2010). He is a frequent presenter on Cajun and Creole music radio programs, especially at KRVS, where also hosted his own shows, including Bonjour, Louisiane (1980-1982) and Vendredi Gras (1983-1985).

He has been involved in over 50 record projects, providing notes, transcriptions and translations, and co-production, including a series based on live recordings from Festivals Acadien et Créoles, a series based on field recordings from the UL Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore, as well as historic re-releases such as Louisiana Cajun and Creole Music: The Newport Field Recordings, 1964-1967, (Rounder Records 2010), and Louisiana Cajun and Creole Music, 1934: The Lomax Recordings, (Swallow Records 1987/ Rounder Records 1999).

Under the pseudonym Jean Arceneaux, he has written a number of songs that have been recorded by Cajun musicians such as D.L. Menard, Wayne Toups, Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Richard Leboeuf and Two-Step, and Jambalaya. He has won four CMFA Le Cajun awards for Song of the Year (1992, 2000, 2011, and 2015).

He has also given numerous papers and published numerous articles and several books on various aspects of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cultures and languages, including One Generation at a Time: Biography of a Cajun and Creole Music Festival (2007), Cajun and Creole Music Makers (1984/1999), Cajun Country (1991), and a monograph Cajun Music: Origins and Development (1989), as well as several entries on Cajun and Creole music in Grove’s Encyclopedia of Music (2001/2014), the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (2009), and American Musical Tradition (2002).

He has served as a consultant and fieldworker for several documentary films, including André Gladu’s Zarico and Chris Strachwitz’s J’ai été au bal: The Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana. He served as director of the team of scholars that provided the basic research to the National Park Service for the development of the Jean Lafitte National Park’s three Acadian Culture Interpretive Centers (Eunice, Lafayette and Thibodaux). He has participated in several museum exhibition projects, including Visions of Tradition Exhibit: 40 Years of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles Art, Paul and LuLu Hillard University Art Museum, Lafayette, (2014), and Travailler, c’est trop dur: The Tools of Cajun Music, Lafayette Natural History Museum (1985).

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