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Jardell, Robert

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Cajun Musician

Cajun accordion player Robert L. Jardell was born in 1957 in Crowley, Louisiana. He learned to play the accordion when he was about ten from masters like the late Nathan Abshire and Ozanne Guidry. He was especially influenced by Nathan Abshire's music.

A professional musician, Robert Jardell plays music every weekend at clubs like Mulate's and at festivals throughout Louisiana and the United States. He has toured Europe and has recordings on the Flat Town Music label. Presently, he prefers to perform with his own band - "Robert Jardell and Pure Cajun."

Mr. Jardell also knows and can perform some of the old Louisiana French ballads he learned from older members of his community. The unaccompanied ballads were one of the earliest forms of music in French Louisiana. These songs shared love stories and humorous tales. Ballads were performed at weddings and funerals, and sung informally for small groups of people at house parties. Their beauty lies not only in their haunting melodies, but in the songs' story lines and rich vocabularies. The home-based, unaccompanied musical tradition of balladry has almost disappeared as instrumental dance music has gained in popularity. Robert Jardell and other singers keep the ballad tradition alive, singing the stories of love and life in French Louisiana that they learned by word of mouth.

Updated Febuary 20, 2017 by Natchitoches-NSU Louisiana Folklife Center Staff