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Berzas, Jamie

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Accordion Musician

Jamie Berzas has lived in Mamou, Louisiana since his birth in 1958. He is married to Madeline and they are both practicing Roman Catholics and professed Cajuns. Jamie has a degree in Biomedical Electronics Technology along with the skill to perform Cajun Music by playing a "mean" accordion. Jamie first began learning the accordion at the young age of ten. He received lessons from Austin Pitre, a practiced member of a Cajun band.

Jamie currently performs with a band, "The Cajun Tradition Band," at festivals and meetings. "The Cajun Tradition" was formed many years ago when two friends, Jamie Berzas and Mark Young, began playing together, first at home, and later at dances. Austin Pitre, a Cajun elder with his own Cajun band, loaned the young men some of his band members and equipment. The band has been playing together since 1979, except for one brief break in early 1983. Jamie plays the accordion, a vital instrument for playing Cajun music, and his wife Madeline is the drummer. Mark Young, another of the original members of the band, is the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. Lee Manuel is a Cajun fiddler with over 40 years of experience playing Cajun music. Don Vidrine plays several instruments such as bass, steel guitar, and rhythm guitar. He rounds out the talent in this top Cajun band.

Since that time, they have played many festivals and have received high praise for their part in preserving the traditional Cajun music for which they are named. Mr. Berzas continues to help spread the popularity of Cajun music. They have produced one record that was nominated for a Grammy and won first place in Musicians du Bal trials held during Fetis Des Acadians.

Updated November 28, 2016 by NSU-Natchitoches Louisiana Folklife Center Staff