The Gentry Lecture Series; Co-sponsors: Department of History, Eighteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Salon, and Performing Arts Department
Free event in the Pillsbury Theatre!
Fingers and bow flying, Dennis Stroughmatt takes listeners on a musical odyssey. This is the story of the French Creoles who founded the Illinois-Missouri Country near the Ozark foothills, more than 300 years ago. Their songs, stories, and language remain largely intact and true to the traditions that have been passed down for generations. L’Esprit Creole’s music bridges the gap between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. Originally from southeastern Illinois, Dennis Stroughmatt was taught to play fiddle by Missouri Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers. He became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles who settled near St. Louis, playing at weekly house parties or “bouillons.” As a result of physical journeys that also included French studies in Louisiana and Quebec, Dennis finds himself in a unique position as one who can speak knowledgeably and play in a variety of French styles. He has an innate sense of what is needed to get an audience on their feet, and keep a band on its toes. Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole are passionate ambassadors of Creole music and traditions, expanding interest and excitement in a region that has been long ignored by the history books. As they say in the hills, “On est toujours icitte: We are still here!”
Speaker: Dennis Stroughmatt
Performers: Dennis Stroughmatt (fiddle), Doug Hawf (guitar), Greg Bigler (bass)