Final Notes, Boisec (Alphonse) Ardoin

Boisec (Alphonse) Ardoin 92, passed away on May 16 in Eunice, Louisiana. Ardoin was among the first musicians to record Creole music, the acoustic accordion sounds, sometimes called la-la, that preceded modern zydeco. For 50 years, he played fantastic old-time Creole music on his accordion in a duet with fiddler Canray Fontenot. The two were honored with the National Heritage Fellowship, and Boisec Ardoin traveled widely playing his music. He was a cousin of the seminal Creole accordionist Amàdà Ardoin, and was himself a major influence on the younger generation of Creole accordionists which are playing today, many of whom are related to him.

A young (in his 40s) Boisec plays music in the Vestapol video entitled Delta Blues Cajun Twostep. He can also be seen (unidentified, but it’s definitely him) buck dancing with North Carolinian Willard Watson to the fiddling of Clark Kessinger in another film called Billy in the Lowgrounds: Old Time Music from the Newport Folk Festival 1966). Both these films were shot by Alan Lomax. Other great films that include Boisec Ardoin are Les Blank’s Dry Wood, Hot Pepper and many, many wonderful recordings. My favorite is still the one originally called Blues du Bayou which has been reissued on CD by Arhoolie as La Musique Creole.

I have wonderful memories of attending a boucherie and later, a dance, at Boisec’s homestead near Duralde in the 1970s. He was the most gentlemanly person I have ever met, polite and warm, a fantastic dancer and player, a true family mana real inspiration in both music and demeanor. He will be greatly missed.

-Suzy Thompson

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