Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music is author Blair Kilpatrick's memoir of her life-changing passion for Louisiana French music - and her unlikely obsession with the accordion.
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Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music by Blair KilpatrickAccordion Dreams
A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music

Blair Kilpatrick

By age thirty-nine, Blair Kilpatrick had settled into life as a practicing psychologist, wife, and mother. Then a chance encounter in New Orleans turned her world upside down. She returned home to Chicago with unlikely new passions for Cajun music and its defining instrument, the accordion. Captivated by recurring dreams of playing the Cajun accordion, she set out to master it. Yet she was not a musician, was too self-conscious to dance, and didn't even sing in the shower.

Kilpatrick's obsession took her from Chicago's Cajun dance scene to a folk music camp in West Virginia, back and forth to south Louisiana, and even to a Cajun festival in France. An unexpected family move brought her to the San Francisco Bay Area, home to the largest Cajun-zydeco music scene outside the Gulf Coast. There she became a protégé of renowned accordionist Danny Poullard, a Louisiana-born Creole and the guiding spirit of the local Louisiana French music community.

Engaging, uplifting, and illuminating a unique patch of the American cultural landscape, Accordion Dreams is Kilpatrick's account of the possibility of passion, risk-taking, and change-at any age.

~From the University Press of Mississippi catalog (fall-winter, 2008-9)

Available in January 2009
ISBN 978-1-60473-101-9


Excerpt from Chapter Three: Charivari

At first, I felt like celebrating: I finally had my hands on a real accordion. But what I deserved was an old-fashioned Cajun "charivari"-a mocking, raucous serenade, when the neighbors gather outside the window of an ill-fated couple on their wedding night. It is a party for a pair that's mismatched, or outside the bounds of propriety, like when an old man takes a young wife or a widow remarries with unseemly haste, or when an older couple gets together, second time around for both of them. Once the glow fades, there you are, stuck with the reality that falls short of your dreams.

I remembered how excited I'd felt, when Steve and I drove away from that music store. I'd cradled my new accordion on my lap, eager to get home and unwrap it. But now, after three months, I couldn't deny the truth: this dance was not going smoothly.

My new accordion and I were definitely an odd couple…. [Continued]

Download "Charivari", the 3rd chapter from Accordion Dreams

Download "Suggestions for Listening" from Accordion Dreams

How to Order

From the University Press of Mississippi:
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