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‘Good Cajun people’: Steve Riley on what makes Evangeline Parish unique

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys is one of the most well-known groups of Cajun musicians in Acadiana.

They are also local Evangeline Parish boys who know what makes the parish they call home unique.

“We thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to the town that made us who we were.”

Steve Riley says the band’s name and it’s 31-year legacy just work.  He says as they travel the world, getting people to pronounce it correctly is the challenge.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys

“They get it wrong lots of places. ‘Ma-mow, Maa-mao,'” Riley said.

The master accordion player says he credits the authenticity of Cajun culture and it being on the forefront in Evangeline Parish for sparking his love for Cajun music.

He says it was his grandfather who inspired his singing voice.

“He taught me how to sing Cajun songs.

When his grandfather Burke died when Steve was 7, he let it go.

“I could no longer listen to Cajun music,” he explained.

Years later, he rediscovered his passion. The Grammy winner says the simplicity of life combined with the people who live there make Evangeline Parish different from everywhere else.

“hardcore, hard-working, good Cajun people,” Riley said.

Marcelle Fontenot

Marcelle Fontenot

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