Concert preview: Cajun band Feufollet expands reach with new album

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The latest album from Feufollet, Two Universes, is, as the name implies, the result of intensive collaboration between multi-instrumentalists Chris Stafford and Kelli Jones-Savoy. The name reflects more than the album’s songwriting, though. Sung in both French and English, the 11 songs that make up Two Universes are a provocative, foot-stomping blend of Americana, country, rock ‘n’ roll and classic Cajun sounds.

“Working on the album, we were just trying to figure out where we were going, sonically as a band, after I joined,” Jones-Savoy said by phone in late March from a tour stop in Decatur, Georgia. “Chris (Stafford) had written the song ‘Two Universes’ when he was around 18 and we put it on the album. We were trying to figure out a good name for the album — something that summed it up, and we thought Two Universes was a good representation of having a new member in the band, as well as the idea of French and English worlds coming together.”

The band, which was nominated for a Grammy award for best Cajun or Zydeco album in 2011, takes its name from the swamp lights, or mysterious nighttime fireballs, that burn above the swamps of southwestern Louisiana, where the group is based.

Stafford started Feufollet (“crazy fire” in French) with longtime friend Chris Segura, an acclaimed fiddler, in the mid-1990s when they were just kids. The lineup has grown and shifted over the years, but currently includes Chris’ younger brother Mike on drums, bassist Philippe Billeaudeaux and keyboardist Andrew Toups. Jones-Savoy joined two years ago, after longtime member Anna Laura Edmiston left to pursue other opportunities.

While Feufollet’s sound has always been rooted in Cajun music history, as the band members have literally grown up together on stage and on tour, their songwriting has evolved to include current pop-culture influences. With Two Universes, Jones-Savoy said, the band hopes to reach new and younger audiences and introduce them to Cajun music.

“Over the years, I think there have been a couple of resurgences as far as Cajun cultural preservation is concerned. I see a lot more of the younger generation getting interested in the music, language and even the food, which is exciting to see,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Feufollet

Rumba Cafe

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

2507 Summit St., Campus