Blues rocker Marcia Ball and BeauSoleil take the stage at the Quick Center for the Arts

The 2008 Mardi Gras celebration comes to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts when the long-legged Louisiana "killer piano player," Marcia Ball arrives with the renowned Cajun group, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. And the frivolity continues with a post-show reception in the lobby.

Marcia Ball honed her powerful singing and deft, rollicking keyboard chops while growing up in the small Louisiana town of Vinton, on the Texas border. By luck, that area was and still is a melting pot of indigenous musical styles; country, blues, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, rockabilly and Gulf Coast "swamp pop" and little Marcia absorbed it all.

She knows how to raise roofs and tear down walls with her infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional brand of southern boogie, roadhouse blues and heartfelt ballads. Over the course of her three-decade career, Ball has earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world. Her exquisite piano playing and passionate, playful vocals fuse New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B with Austin's deep songwriting tradition into a sound "No Depression" described as "a little rock, a lot of roll, a pinch of rhythm and a handful of blues."

In a whiff of whimsy, the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" wrote that Ball "... appears to be the secret love child of Miss Manners and Little Richard, sitting demurely at the keyboard... while blowing the joint apart..."

Joining Ball onstage is BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, undisputedly the most esteemed Cajun group in music. The Grammy-winning band from Lafayette, Louisiana was formed 33 years ago in 1975 and has played concert halls, festivals and dances around the world. It has been featured on film and television soundtracks and on countless major television and radio shows.

Led by Doucet, a ferociously talented fiddler as well as a singer/songwriter, BeauSoleil takes the rich Cajun traditions of its home state and artfully blends elements of flat-out Cajun French folk-rock, zydeco, various jazz styles, Latin and Caribbean music, medieval European material, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more into a satisfying musical recipe.

Joining Doucet is his brother, David, one of roots music's most innovative guitarists, Jimmy Breaux on Cajun accordion, drummer Tommy Alesi and percussionist Billy Ware, all of whom provide a rich, rhythmic texture, while Al Tharp contributes everything from banjo to bass to second fiddle.

An evening in the company of Marcia Ball and BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet in tribute to Mardi Gras 2008, promises to pull out all the stops at the Quick Center. These Louisiana musicians, through their deep connection to their indigenous music, serve as ambassadors from a completely unique area of the country where the traditions are rich and the history is colorful; where the language is French, Cajun and English and the music has roots in the Acadian ancestry that has remained in North America since 1604. Judging from Ball and BeauSoleil, the music lives on.

Tickets are $40 and $35 and are available online at or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For further information, visit the website at

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950,

Posted on January 18, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 159

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