Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the album release date to Sept. 22.
Louis Michot, the singer and fiddle player for Lost Bayou Ramblers and Michot’s Melody Makers, is getting ready to release his first solo album, “Rêve du Troubadour,” on Sept. 22. His new single, “Boscoyo Fleaux,” gives listeners a hint of the idiosyncratic direction his solo music will take us.
On Thursday, Michot released the single and video for the “Louisiana French nature-rap track” featuring avant-garde saxophonist Dickie Landry and a 1935 recording of the possibly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.
Directed by Syd Horn and Olivia Perillo and produced by Michot and Horn and Perillo’s company, Honest Art, the trippy video mixes animation by Joseph Howard with shots of Michot and Landry in sunsetting Acadiana fields and swamps. Michot raps in Louisiana French, backed by deep electronic drum beats, Landry’s improvisations and the high clarinet-esque call of the woodpecker.
Check out “Boscoyo Fleaux” below.
“‘Boscoyo Fleaux’ is a swamp-rap song I composed on my birthday in 2022, as I took a solo trek to get lost in the wilderness,” Michot says in the song’s notes. “As I would walk, following the palmetto filled contour lines to stay above the mud, I would sit on a dry log to continue writing the lyrics as they came to the rhythm of my hike. One thought came to mind, as I was writing in the endangered dialects of Cajun and Creole French; that the Louisiana French language could be likened to the elusive bird who has been dodging extinction for the last hundred years: the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.”
The ivory-billed woodpecker has been believed to be extinct due to loss of habitat, but Michot’s father, Tommy Michot, has been searching for the bird for almost 50 years. He and his colleagues recently published recordings of the woodpecker’s call, captured in Louisiana, Louis Michot says.
For “Boscoyo Fleaux,” Michot sampled a 1935 recording of the ivory-billed woodpecker made by Arthur Allen.
Michot debuted his new solo music in January during a weekly residency at the Maple Leaf during which he, bassist and guitarist Bryan Webre and drummer Kirkland Middleton were joined by many of the musicians who guest on “Rêve du Troubadour,” including Corey Ledet, Leyla McCalla and Quintron. Nigerian Tuareg guitarist Bombino, fife player Sharde Thomas and the violin duo String Noise also appear on the new record.
Over the years, Michot has progressively pushed the boundaries of Cajun music through the Lost Bayou Ramblers and Michot’s Melody Makers. For “Rêve du Troubadour,” Michot swapped his fiddle for acoustic and electric guitar and dug into sampling and synth-drum for originals written almost entirely in Louisiana French, ranging from ballads to rapping.
“It’ll be really exciting to rework the way that we have been continuing to evolve the performance of Louisiana French music, and we’ll keep getting deeper into sounds and samples and dynamics,” Michot told Gambit earlier this year. “That’s really been the fun journey after playing this music for over 20 years.”
‘Médikamen’ is Corey Ledet’s first zydeco album entirely written and performed in Kouri-Vini.
The Cajun musician plays the Maple Leaf every Saturday in January with special guests and new solo music.