Sway to the earthy rhythms of the bayou when the Cajun band Beausoleil performs with local zydeco group Little Red and the Renegades at a dance-concert and potluck supper Monday night at the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo Park. It's part of the Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo this week.
Beausoleil, which has taken its act from France to Carnegie Hall, plays a mixture of Cajun, Creole and French medieval music drawn from the heritage ofFrench-speaking parishes in Louisiana.
"In each parish the tradition is a little different. We'll never run out of ideas, just like we'll never run out of history," says Michael Doucet, fiddler and founder of the group.
"We basically play the music we grew up on -- we're from Louisiana, we live a certain way, we talk a certain way and we play a certain way."
The festival itself, at Glen Echo on Friday and Saturday, is in its 11th year.
"Every year the event gets bigger," says Al Petteway of GrazzMatazz, whose repertoire ranges from blues to big band music. More than 500 local performers at the festival include a performance of the ancient and colorful Chinese Lion Dance, Phil (Harmonica) Wiggins, who will give a blues workshop, and the Magpies, a group that plays everything from traditional British music to the blues.
"Every year we scan the Washington area, and we always find more than enough top-notch talent. Many of the groups at the festival are already nationally known," says Anna Slafer( of the Washington Folklore Society.
All participants donate their talent so the festival is free to the public.
For tickets and information call 270-9090 (benefit tickets) or 492-6282(festival info).