Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole culminated an evening of Creole and Cajun music Aug. 5 on the museum stage. Thanks to all those who attended, in person or online via Facebook. And a special thank you to Victoria's Sweets and Eats for their excellent Cajun fare that included gumbo, jerk chicken and red beans and rice. Ça c'est bon!!
Available on the MCHS YouTube channel:
It is my great pleasure to welcome Dennis Stroughmatt at L’Esprit Creole tonight to the McHenry County Historical Museum. Thanks to the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts for their help in funding this appearance.
I had the good fortune to meet Dennis a couple years back through the Illinois Road Scholars program. He came out and wowed us during Heritage Fair and I’m confident he and bandmates: Greg Bigler on bass and Dough Hawf on guitar.
This is the story of the French Creoles who founded the Illinois Country over 300 years ago along the Wabash and Mississippi River corridors. Their legacy – their songs, stories and language – still remain.
Originally from southeastern Illinois, Dennis Stroughmatt learned to play fiddle from Missouri Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia - in the tradition of their fathers. He became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles who settled near St Louis, playing at weekly house parties or “bouillons.”
As a result of physical journeys, that included French studies in Louisiana and Quebec, Dennis is in a unique position: A talent musician who can speak knowledgeably and play in a variety of French styles. He has an innate sense of what is needed to get an audience on its feet and keep a band on its toes.
They are passionate ambassadors of Creole music and traditions, expanding interest and excitement in a region that has been ignored by the history books. – Kurt Begalka
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