EUNICE, LA (KPLC) - Legendary Cajun accordionist Iry Lejeune will be remembered Saturday in a musical tribute at the Liberty Theatre in Eunice.
The show will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $5, go on sale at 4 p.m. Saturday at the ticket window.
Lejeune, born in October 1928 in Pointe Noir, near Church Point, moved to Lacassine after World War II. He died at age 26 in 1955 when he was struck by a car after stopping to change a flat tire on his way home from a gig in Eunice.
Though Lejeune had a short life and music career, he is known as one of the most influential Cajun accordionists from the post-World War II period.
According to Ron Yule, fiddler and author of "Iry Lejeune: Wailin' The Blues Cajun Style," Lejeune played in an ornate driving style that was loved by dancers, listeners and musicians alike.
Lejeune came from a farming family that loved music. He was born with poor eyesight and became interested in music at an early age.
"Iry came from a long line of accordion players, fiddlers and musicians from the Church Point area," Yule said.
Lejeune developed a unique vocal style that was loved by all, Yule said.
"He was a great singer and his wailin' bluesy vocal style is still recognizable today," Yule said.
Lejeune and his Lacassine Playboys became a crowd favorite. Yule said Lejeune could fill a dance hall.
"The mention of his presence at a dance would fill the hall. He played dance halls from China and Port Arthur, Texas to New Orleans ... even traveling with the Oklahoma Tornados to Nashville for a few weeks. Many who attended dances have stated, 'If Iry was going to be there, I went,' " Yule said.
Yule said Lejeune's recordings on the Opera label in Houston and those at Goldband Studios in Lake Charles remain a source of study for accordion students today.
Lejeune was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.
Several artists will perform Saturday, including three original Lacassine Playboys: Milton, Ellis and R. C. Vanicor. Lejeune's sons, grandsons and several other descendants will also perform.
The theatre is located at 200 West Park Ave. in Eunice. For more information, call the Eunice Mayor's Office at 337-457-7389 or visit www.eunice-la.com.