The sophomore single from the Levee Bandits, “Granny Mae”, is a remix of the Lost Bayou Ramblers‘ track “Granny Smith”, culled from the outfit’s Grammy Award-winning album Kalenda. Produced by Louisiana vaporwave artist/remixer Imagine I Am (Chad Faulk), the tune was mastered by Bob Weston and features spoken word samples by the Rambers’ Louis Michot’s late mentor Ethel Mae Bourque.
The single arrives via Nouveau Electric Records, an independent record label based in Arnaudville, Louisiana with the mission of promoting experimental and traditional music inspired by the language, people, and culture of Southern Louisiana. Although the imprint prioritizes work sung or spoken in Louisiana French, the releases will not be exclusively Francophone. The label claims, as part of its mission, that “Nouveau Electric Records seeks to bridge the gap between tradition and evolution by introducing new creative visions to the centuries-old instrumentation and expressive vocabularies of the region.”
Despite the new settings for the song, the piece loses none of its original soul and gains a further sense of innovation, reminiscent of Robbie Robertson’s foray into melding Aboriginal Canadian music and trip-hop, Contact From the Underworld of Redboy. Michot’s uncanny ability to fuse traditional Cajun sounds with contemporary sensibilities remains remarkable and provides evidence that the future of this music is in safe and caring hands with him. Respecting tradition, after all, does not mean housing it in amber but instead allowing it to thrive and evolve in a natural environment.
Michot says, “It’s amazing to hear Chad Faulk’s (Imagine I Am) interpretation of Lost Bayou Ramblers’ original music, and how he re-tells the story in his own way, and in English. ‘Granny Mae’ is particularly close to my heart, as his lyrics tell a true story about Andre and I’s grandmother as a young lady, sneaking out in the middle of the night, and swimming across Bayou Teche to go pole cat hunting by horseback. Plus the wise voice of my dear friend, the late Ethel Mae Bourque, talking about how her father planted special plots of corn to make popcorn, and how they had the bluest and sweetest sugar cane around, and they would take it to the mill, and make 12-13 gallons of cane syrup, enough to last the entire year. There’s so much history and character wrapped up in a modern music masterpiece; it’s really a special release.”