Alexis Normand here!
I just returned from a vacay in Louisiana and thought I would tell you a bit more about Le Grand Gosier - a Cajun-french song that Rosie and the Riveters perform regularly.
First, a bit of context: my friend Rocky McKeon wrote the song during an artist residency we attended in Petite Vallée, Québec in late June 2010, a couple months after the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico. Rocky is from Cocodrie, Louisiana – a village in Southern Louisiana steeped in Cajun tradition and culture. The region is constantly threatened by costal erosion and is one of the most hardest hit by the oil spill.
Rocky wrote the song in Louisiana French (different dialect than the French I speak!). One of the best translation I found for the title is Big Gullet, the name given to the Brown Pelican. The lyrics in English are:
Le Grand Gosier (Big Gullet) is covered in oil
Le Grand Gosier is dying
The sky is red
The sea is black
If I told you,
You would not understand
The song was previously recorded in Québec by a group of singer-songwriters under the lead of Zachary Richard – an internationally celebrated francophone singer-songwriter from Louisiana. At that time, more lyrics were added to the song by Ricardo Lamour alias Emrical and Samian. Emrical is of the Haitian community of Montreal. Samian is a Native-American of Algonguin heritage.
Last month, I was invited to perform a song with Pile of Bones Brass Band during a telethon that raised money for the francophone community in Saskatchewan. I decided that it would be a great opportunity to try Le Grand Gosier! Here is a snapshot of our rehearsal:
… perhaps a bit of foreshadowing of what’s to come on the Riveters’ next album?