Lost Bayou Ramblers’ evolution as a perversely progressive band rooted in Cajun traditions continues to excite, challenge, and redefine both genre expectations as well as cultural preconceptions. Produced by Korey Richey (LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire) their latest studio album, Kalenda, is set for release on September 26 on Rice Pump Records.
Their Jack White produced performance in the 2017 documentary series and on the accompanying record release American Epic helped solidify Lost Bayou Ramblers’ reputation as one of the world’s finest traditional Cajun outfits, if one of the least orthodox. With eight albums, a Grammy nomination, contributions to the score of the Oscar-nominated Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and touring with both Arcade Fire and the Violent Femmes, Lost Bayou continues to swing wide from their Louisiana home base.
Lost Bayou Ramblers’ new album celebrates the complex history and cultural diversity of Kalenda – a carribean dance, a Louisiana rhythm, a Cajun rock’n’roll song, and eventually a woman’s name – that crossed both the black-white and Creole-Cajun divides in so many forms. The Ramblers channel those suggestive rhythms associated with the dance as producer Korey Richey masterfully incorporates new hues from his sonic palate into their arrangements. Once again, the band stands at the crosscurrents of Louisiana culture by inhabiting the gray area between Cajun and Creole, convention and innovation. Their Kalenda is at once a mystery and a revelation.
This line-up of eclectic Louisiana musicians led by brothers Louis Michot (fiddle and lead vocals) and Andre Michot (accordion and lapsteel), joined by Bryan Webre (electric bass), Johnny Campos (electric guitar), Eric Heigle (electronics and acoustic guitar), and Kirkland Middleton (drums) brought the cumulative experience of 17 years of touring, recording, and collaborating to bear on Kalenda’s creation with intoxicating results.
Lost Bayou Ramblers was formed in 1999 by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, performing the roots Cajun music they learned as members of Les Frères Michot, the family band their father and uncles formed in the 80's. The brothers quickly began playing clubs and festivals around Louisiana, and taking the traditional music they were raised with to new levels of rhythmic energy and spontaneity, producing the punk and psychedelic labels given to the band by reviews over the years.
In 2012, with five albums under their belt, including a Grammy nomination for their 2007 release Live a la Blue Moon, the band released its most progressive and sonically experimental record to date, Mammoth Waltz. With the stylings of producer Korey Richey (LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Givers) and the help of guest artists Gordon Gano, Scarlett Johansson, and Dr. John, Mammoth Waltz was named #2 in the “Top 21 Louisiana albums of the 21st Century” by Times Picayune, and acted as an invitation for all music lovers to tune in to the hypnotic Cajun rhythms Lost Bayou Ramblers have been known for since their inception in 1999.
Lost Bayou Ramblers’ contribution to the score of Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2012 brought them further renown worldwide, and continuing performances with Wordless Music Orchestra and score composers Benh Zeiltin and Dan Romer.
2014 brought LBR the support slot on Arcade Fire’s REFLEKTOR tour. In addition, they made a live appearance on NPR’s World Café; they were rated #1 on “David Dye’s five favorite live music moments in and out of the World Café studio.” They also released Gasa Gasa Live, recorded at New Orleans’ Uptown experimental music venue, one of four shows they played that day in the Crescent City.
Lost Bayou Ramblers have continually integrated new sonic elements to their live performances, always experimenting and growing the show to what it's become today, an eclectic mix of modern sounds and rhythms with ancient Cajun melodies and lyrics and that’s reflected in the ambitious aesthetic reach of Kalenda. They will be premiering the repertoire from Kalenda live at a string of concert dates around the country, ranging from Seattle to Brooklyn to New Orleans, and all points in between.