Date:   2/28/2009

Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp au parti at Thrasher February 28

As one of the hardest working bands in show business, Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp travel the country carrying the long tradition of Mississippi River valley French Creole music to audiences of thousands. Not only have they caught the attention of Louisiana music fans across the United States and Canada, but also those who enjoy blues, rock, country, swing, Celtic, and Latin.  On Saturday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:45 p.m.) the band will take to the historic Thrasher Opera House stage and do what they do best: play French Creole music to the core.

Led by French speaking Creole accordionist and fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt, Creole Stomp leaves audiences breathless and cheering for more, striving to not only entertain, but also to educate audiences about American French culture.

 

A specialist in North American French Creole and Cajun language, culture, and music, Stroughmatt now tours internationally as an ambassador of this exciting and enduring legacy. Originally from southern Illinois, Stroughmatt grew up in the shadow of the French Creoles of Vincennes, Indiana. As a teenager, he moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to attend Southeast Missouri State University at the beginning of the 1990's. While in Missouri Stroughmatt became involved with the French Creole population of Old Mines, Missouri, and spent almost two years attending weekly house parties or "bouillons," learning to speak Creole French, and learning to

play the fiddle styles of the Missouri French.  

Stroughmatt’s friends in the "mines" suggested to him that if he wanted to continue his study of French culture, he needed to go to
Louisiana where there were over 3/4 of a million French speakers. Eventually, Stroughmatt did move to Lafayette, Louisiana where he worked and interned at the famous Vermilionville Folklife Village.  There he also spent countless hours with Cajun and Creole master fiddlers including Faren Serrette, Black Allemand, Canray Fontenot, and Merlin Fontenot, and eventually just became one of the locals.

Stroughmatt returned to
Illinois to pursue a Masters of History at Southern Illinois University.  After arriving in Carbondale, Stroughmatt met up with Jon Watson and John Giffin and they formed a band called the Brown Baggers in late 1995.  Starting out playing a wide variety of traditional folk music, French festivals in Missouri and Illinois began calling and thus the Brown Baggers started to focus on the Creole and Cajun music in which Stroughmatt was steeped. Eventually the Brown Baggers became a popular Midwest band.  The original Brown Baggers formed Creole Stomp in 2002 as a full-time touring Louisiana Creole-Zydeco and Cajun band.  

After attending The University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, Canada, Stroughmatt returned to the United States and started traveling with Louisiana based groups such as Sheryl Cormier and Cajun Sounds, The Acadian Aces, The Bayou Teche Band, and the Creole group The Ardoin Family Band.  He still works heavily with the Morris Ardoin Creole Trio, Dexter Ardoin and the Creole Ramblers, as well as the
Nashville based "Roux de Bayou" on occassion.

 
As is his goal, Stroughmatt continues to carefully preserve the language, culture, and music that he learned in
Missouri and Louisiana.  Outside of Creole Stomp he offers workshops, seminars, and performances that encompass the full range of North American French Music and Culture.

The group has been seen and heard on radio and television with PBS-TV, WGN-TV, NPR‘s "Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor," and CNN‘s “World Beat" on Mardi Gras. The band’s 2003 CD Enfin...At Last was nominated "Best Album" by a Cajun/Creole band based outside of Louisiana by the Cajun French Music Association for 2003. The band’s latest release is Long Roads and Bloodshot Eyes from 2007.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts with accommodations provided by the Heidel House and hospitality by the Waterfront Grill. Tickets are only $18 and available at the Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake Bank (Green Lake); Pick N’ Save, Ripon Drug (Ripon); Twister (Princeton) or by calling the office at (920) 294-4279.  Online tickets available at www.thrasheroperahouse.com. 

 

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