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Born and raised in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Hadley J. Castille learned to play the fiddle as a young teen from his Uncle Cyprien Castille. An accomplished player, Uncle Cyprien instilled into Hadley a deep appreciation for the Cajun method of making a fiddle sing. Castille had grown and developed his music into a unique blend of old and new, including many original songs, that he wrote with his son Blake. His song, the autobiographic "200 Lines," was the winner of the Cajun French Music Association's Heritage Award. Keeping Cajun music alive and attractive for the younger generation was important to Hadley. His brand of music delivered all of the tradition of yesterday with a contemporary touch.
Hadley and his musicians entertained thousands throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe with a foot-tapping, thigh-slapping brand of music that makes sitting still a chore. They have performed at festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Festival D'ete in Quebec, and the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in Finland.
Castille's band was the first Cajun band known to perform with a full symphony orchestra. A Cajun Concerto world premiered to a standing-room only crowd, as Castille and his band opened for the Acadian Symphony Orchestra. The concerto in three movements was based on South Louisiana Cajun folk songs.
Hadley has been honored many times by his peers. He was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame on April 14, 1996, and received the 1996 Acadiana Folk Heritage Honors from the Acadiana Arts Council. He has also been inducted into the Northwestern State University Hall of Master Folk Artists. Hadley has been featured several times on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television, as well as ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today Show, and Louisiana Life magazine. Hadley and his band were called on to supply the necessary music for a Clint Eastwood movie, A Perfect World. Hadley also performed on acclaimed artist George Rodrigue's Blue Dog documentary, A Man and his Dog, featuring Whoopi Goldberg. Recently, Hadley supplied Cajun fiddle and performed in Dirty Rice, currently in post-production.
Over the years, Hadley had released seven recordings. His latest is Third Generation-La Musique de les Castilles, a collaboration with his son Blake, who co-wrote, produced, and arranged the album with Hadley. This newest release has become Hadley's most popular and fastest-selling album. The song The Old Share Cropper's House has already become a staple on Cajun radio stations throughout Louisiana and Texas. Mr. Hadley died October 25, 2012.
Updated November 30, 2016 by Natchitoches-NSU Louisiana Folklife Center Staff