Mudcat Café message #546902 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #38525   Message #546902
Posted By: Joe Offer
11-Sep-01 - 07:29 AM
Thread Name: Cajun Mardi Gras songs
Subject: Cajun Mardi Gras songs - footnotes
1See, for example, Ancelet 1989; Lindahl 1996a, 1996b; Lindahl and Ware 1998; Sexton 1996, 1999, 2001; Spitzer 1986, 1996; Ware 1994. Far more Cajun Mardi Gras song texts have been collected than Creole Mardi Gras song texts. This unequal distribution is unlikely to change given that there are very few remaining Creole Mardi Gras groups. This analysis attempts to consider the song texts of both groups, although this dispaiity results in a heavier emphasis on Cajun song texts.
2The research for this article induded field research in Grand Marais and Tee Mamou, Louisiana, and Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Comparative archival data was located in the Laval University Foildore Archives, The University of Moncton; Center for Acadian Studies, The University of Maine, Fort Kent, Center for Acadian Studies; and the Brest University, Center for Breton studies. We are grateful to Jean-Pierre Michelin, Brenda Ornstein, Fanch Postic, and Ellen Badone for their assistance in locating various song texts. Spedal thanks are extended to C. Ray Brassieur for sharing his unpublished data on Guignolee songs and his insightful comments on Mardi Gras songs.
3There does not appear to be mention of begging quests in association with continental French Chandeleur celebrations. Arsenault (1982) suggests that a begging quest was linked to La Chandeleur after its diffusion to the Canadian Maritimes.
4Cross-cultural parallels to French begging quests include German Fastnacht and Christmas season mumming in the British Isles.
5Guignolee does not appear to have been present in the Canadian Maritimes prior to the late 20th century when it was introduced to some communities as a means of raising funds for civic organizations (Desdouits 1987; Ronald Leblanc, personal communication, 9 May 1995).
6The Creole has historically been linked to the Francophone descendants of colonial era Louisiana inhabitants both black and white. In contemporary southwest Louisiana, the ethnic label Creole is most commonly linked to the Afro-French. However, in the New Orleans area, "ownership" of the label is a matter of debate between Blacks and Whites.
7The Mardi Gras run was traditionally a male endeavor, although some childrens' groups could be found. In the last few decades, various communities have organized female runs as well as children's runs.
8Gumbo is a souplike dish served over rice. Its ingredients and preparation style represent a blending of African, European, and Native American practices.
9It is interesting to note that Louisiana Mardi Gras visits occurred outdoors, so the groups sought only access to the host's yard where activities like singing, dancing, the chicken chase, etc. took place. In Europe, Canada, and the upper Midwest, begging quest groups sought entrance to the host's house. The regional inside/outside dichotomy is probably due to Louisiana's mild climate which permitted considerable outdoor activities.
10Tee Mamou is the locally accepted spelling of `tite which is derived from the French term petite. It refers to the narrow southern end of Mamou Prairie and is not to be confused with the town of Mamou (often called Grand Mamou) located at the broad northern end of Mamou Prairie.
11For example, Oster and Reed (1960) and Post (1936) discuss a character called the Paillease whose disguise suggests a scarecrow.
12Post reported that various lines of this song involved repitition; however, he was not specific as to the number of times each line was repeated.
13There is a separate Tee Mamou women's run that was created in the early 1970s. It has the same capitaine and overall organization minus the negre and negresse. The only change in the song text is that the eldest son rather than the eldest daughter is requested.
14See for example, Leblanc 1977.
15The authors are grateful to Marc David for providing the text of this song.
16The area around Grand Mamou once supported numerous Mardi Gras groups, however, at the time of the Oster and Reed artide the Grand Mamou run was the dominant run in the area. Although the song texts collected by Oster and Reed are linked to Mamou, the texts (or variants of them) may have originally belonged to other communities.