(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, March 07, 2014 12:49 PM
Ron Granger is on a mission. He wants to promote and preserve the Cajun culture in Louisiana through music, but it’s hard. The crowds that once shook the floors of dance halls throughout the area are starting to get older and to Granger, that love of everything Cajun hasn’t been passed to the next generation.
To help bridge the gap between the culture and the youth, Granger and his band, Cajun Soul & Friends, are hosting Cajun Dancercise March 8 at VFW Post 2130, at 1900 Country Club Road. The events will take place the second Saturday of every month.
Granger is quick to talk about his missions in life, especially the ones focused on music. Through Cajun Dancercise, Granger said he hopes to not only stir up some dormant interest, but he hopes people will find the dancing to be great exercise.
“One of my missions in life is to promote and help preserve our Cajun culture. It has a great colorful past dating back to 1755,” Granger said. “We want to promote the idea and the fact that dancing to Cajun music, just like dancing to Zydeco, is one of the greatest exercises you can do.”
It’s easy for Granger to see how important the music and culture could be to a younger generation. As a child, Granger’s father taught him to love the music, love the food and to love the culture itself.
“When I was small, I used to go with my parents to the dance halls. When the kids would get tired, we’d all just sleep under the tables,” Granger said. “Younger couples say, ‘Well, how can we make it out to the event? We have children. We don’t know what to do with the children.’ Bring the children. We’re going to have different instruments they can play on.”
The events will start with free dance lessons at 6 p.m. From 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., there will be a live dance and admission to it is $7. The price includes cups of gumbo provided at the event.
To help paint a picture of just what Cajun music can do for someone, Granger likes to tell a story about an older woman he met once while performing in a small town in Missouri that had been hosting Cajun concert’s for 25 years.
“I had an old lady tell me she could barely get out of a wheelchair, but once she got on the dance floor, man,” Granger said. “She said, ‘When y’all start playing, it’s infectious.’ That’s why people should come out. To experience the Cajun culture and help preserve it.”
Between 1940 and 1960, dance halls played a major part in communities across Southwest Louisiana as socializing venues, Granger said. His hope is to revive that love affair between the culture and the residents in the region.
“When we book a job, I don’t go to play. I go to promote my Cajun culture,” Granger said. “This has nothing to do with money. This is about promoting our Cajun culture and trying to preserve it.”
For groups of five or more and if a call is made in advance, senior home residents will be admitted for $5. Family members accompanying those residents will be admitted for the same price. For more information and to make reservations, contact Ron Granger at 802-0802.