This skilled creative collective could wrap their arms around the globe. Much respect, big hugs.
Leroy Etienne is a drummer, percussionist, washboard player, and vocalist, based in Lafayette, Louisiana. His critically album released in 2018 features original compositions by Etienne composed in Louisiana Creole. Featured song writer on the album and book ‘Le Kér Creole’ (Creole Compositions and Stories from Louisiana) native Creole speaker Leroy Etienne said in the 1950s, he was told by teachers not to speak “French” in school. The 1921 decision to outlaw francophone languages obscured the differences between standardized French, Creole, and Cajun and Houma French in the region, and for many families, their home languages went underground. Often spoken only by adults, they were not passed on to the next generations. Etienne, held onto Louisiana Creole as his first language. He was raised up with Creole musicians like his brother, Clarence “Jockey” Etienne, who taught him how to play the rhythms of zydeco and R&B, and came of age at a time when the language was still sung in dancehalls around the state. After touring with musicians such as Buckwheat Zydeco, he joined a new band, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, in the late 1990s, and has been the drummer ever since.