Arts Council brings creole music to Mineral County

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The Mineral County Performing Arts Council presented Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole, a visiting band which performed in Superior at the high school and LDS Church on Oct. 4. (Photo by Logan Labbe).

The Mineral County Performing Arts Council presented Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole who performed French Creole music on Oct. 4 in Superior.

They made their first appearance at the Superior High School at 2:30 p.m. Where students had the opportunity to experience authentic Cajan music which has thrived for over three hundred years.

The group meet with the elementary students for about 20 minutes and then spent an hour with grades 5-12 for a workshop assembly.

The afternoon performance was followed by a free public concert at 7 p.m. at the LDS Church. The band is lead by fiddler, Dennis Stroughmatt along with Dow Smith on lead guitar and Bill Toler on bass.

Jim Goss with the Performing Arts Council said the group presented a high energy concert and wove in stories of French Creole culture and the old Illinois country along with Wabash and “Upper” Mississippi. He said the concerts were well received and the concert was funded in large part by a Montana Arts Council Strategic Investment grant.

Dennis Stoughmatt as several albums under his belt including an album “Wrong Side of the World” released in June. Stroughmatt studied his art in southeast Missouri where he learned to speak Illinois French Creole, play the fiddle and accordion, and sing many traditional songs handed down over the generations by French Midwestern settlers.

He also studied the French culture of North America in Louisiana and in Quebec, Canada, “with the blessing of the Creole people of the Midwest, Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Espirit Creole are its passionate ambassadors, expanding interest and excitement in a region that has been, in many ways, ignored by the history books. As a result, the French music, language, stories, and culture once hidden away in the Missouri Ozarks now has a voice in the wider world,” in a 2013 statement by the Library of Congress where their music has been recorded and stored.

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