Heart of Louisiana: Tipitina’s Fais Do Do
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It may not be the first place you think of to experience a cajun Fais Do Do (fay -doe doe), but an uptown New Orleans music club has been putting on the cajun dances for more than three decades. The musician who’s headlined the show for all those years is pure cajun.
The music is pure cajun, and the live show with Bruce Daigrepont packs the dance floor, but this is not Louisiana’s cajun country. It’s uptown New Orleans at the iconic Tipitina’s Music Club. One Sunday a month, Daigrepont plays a cajun Fais Do Do, the phrase Fais Do Do comes from old cajun house dances.
“Do Do is a slang expression for the word dormir, which means to sleep. The mothers who had young children and babies wanted to join the festivities, they wanted to dance so they would encourage the children to go to sleep and they tell ‘em, Fais Do Do you know, to make them go to sleep,” Bruce Daigrepont
At this Fais Do Do, the music is nonstop. Daigrepont leads his four-piece band through a series of high-energy cajun two steps and then slows it down for a waltz.
“I just play what comes natural, and people start dancing and the dance floor usually fills up,” Daigrepont said.
When I think about Tipitina, I think about professor longhair, I think about rhythm and blues, rock and roll. I don’t think about cajun, but you’re telling me that you’ve played here more times by far than anybody else.
“The manager here, Tank and I were figuring, I probably played on this stage probably about 1400 times,” Daigrepont said.
“There are some people that have been following Bruce for over three decades and dancing every time he comes out and plays, no matter where he plays. In the Fais Do Do here at Tipitina’s does have its own crowd of regulars,” Greenberg added.
Brian Greenberg is the general manager, but he’s also the cook for the Fais Do Do, serving up a big pot of red beans and rice.
“I have been cooking through those and filling up my biggest pot with red beans, and adding andouille, pickled pork, all the seasonings, and a trinity and everything else. I spend my Sunday on Fais Do Do weeks just stirring,” Greenberg said.
Daigrepont grew up in New Orleans, and both of his parents were cajun.
“I grew up in a home where my parents spoke french every day, at some point I decided I want to play, this is my heritage,” Greenberg said.
You hear that french language in the lyrics of the songs, but if you don’t speak french, it doesn’t matter. There is no mistaking the feeling of this music.
“Cajun music is something that is so uniquely Louisiana, that it’s perfectly within what we’re trying to do, what Tipitina’s,” Greenberg said.
At this show, it’s the driving sound of the accordion and fiddle, the two steps and spins on the dance floor that celebrate a rich cajun culture.
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