Beausoleil :Live From the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Shout Factory // Unrated // $19.98 // January 25, 2005
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted March 16, 2005
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Over twenty-five years and a Grammy win for Best Folk Traditional; BeauSoleil puts out a DVD of their 2002 performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Called by some the Best Cajun Band in the world, it's tough not to listen and watch these guys play and dream about sucking da' heads of crawfish and drinking hurricanes in the sweltering heat of New Orleans in the summer.

The band consists of six members, the most well known being lead violinist and vocalist, Michael Doucet. He is joined by David Doucet, Jimmy Breaux, Billy Ware, Tommy Alesi and Al Tharp to form what I found to be a fun band who puts on a great show. There's definitely something to be said about a group of Acadians who play the traditional music, sing in French and still can get a crowd of thousands up and on their feet dancing the day away.

The footage of the show comes from multiple cameras which spend their time moving about the stage, making sure to include each band member in as many shots as possible, and also shows the crowd enjoying the wonderful day down in the Big Easy, swaying and dancing to the fun Cajun sound of Beausoleil.

The following set is played with chapter stops at each song:
Reel De Dennis McGee
Newz Reel
Happy One-Step
Recherché d'Acadie
Le Chanky-CHank François
Eunice Two-Step
Amede
La Danse de la Vie
Grand Mamou
Zydeco X
Poison Love
La Terre de Mon Grandpere

The DVD

How's it Look:

Considering the source material, that is a concert that was filmed in 2002, this presentation is quite sharp. The video is presented in a full screen presentation, in a very clean transfer, although some of the colors tend to be a little soft. Lighting is string throughout, except on some long shots which has the band under the cover of the tent, so you can't see into as clearly as you may like, but that's remedied in the close in shots.

How's it Sound:

There are two options here for you to get your groove on, both a two channel stereo option and Dolby Digital 5.1. Swapping between the two did make a noticeable difference with the remixed 5.1 sound coming out on top with a fuller richer sound. Thankfully the remix wasn't made gimmicky with individual instruments coming from separate channels, but the mix was made all encompassing with a nice warm enveloping sound mix.

The LFE channel is not as readily used as the instruments are a little higher pitched, such as the mandolin and violin.

Extras:

Included are interviews with each of the band members individually, each talking about their experiences in the band. Not terrible exciting, but you're not going to buy this DVD for the interviews.

Also included are some music videos that really are a throw back to the old days, you'll know it when you see it. The songs that are included as extras are Sophie, Bunk's Blues and Varise.

Closing remarks:

From a purely audio standpoint, if you enjoy the sounds of Acadia, then you are sure to love BeauSoleil as they truly play some great music. The sounds of the bayou are here and I had a very tough time keeping my foot from tapping throughout the night to the fun accordion and mandolin sounds emanating from my speakers. For fans of the genre, this is a definite recommendation.


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