Dry Bones is an ongoing multi-media effort to promote interest in and creative exploration of forgotten Louisiana songs and stories. A collaboration between the Center for Louisiana Studies, video production company Lavoi Creative, the Roots of Fire project, and musician/host Chas Justus, Dry Bones revolves around creative re-interpretations of materials in the Center's archives, one of the major repositories for Louisiana's traditional cultures, especially the ethnic music and lore of Southern Louisiana.
Each Dry Bones video episode follows musicians as they explore the archives and pick an item to reinterpret, culminating in a studio performance of the reimagined creative work. Commentary from experts adds deeper context along the way, taking viewers off the beaten path into the rich complexity and diversity of rural Louisiana's folk music and culture. Each season of the series also results in any album as well as a live performance of the songs encountered along the way.
Dry Bones involves collaboration between the Center for Louisiana Studies, led by musician/scholar Dr. Joshua Caffery, video producers Abby Berendt Lavoi and Jeremey Lavoi of Lavoi Creative, host Chas Justus, and producer Chris Stafford. Notable Louisiana-based roots musicians are also part of the project. Live performances are hosted by the Acadiana Center for the Arts as part of the Louisiana Crossroads series.
We've completed three pilot episodes of Dry Bones, gaining recognition and awards at film festivals. Funding from Center for Louisiana Studies donors enabled these initial episodes. An additional episode is in progress, marking the halfway point of the first season.
We are seeking funding to complete the remaining four episodes of Dry Bones, Season 1, at $15,000 per episode. Costs include musician fees, video production, sound specialists, and studio time. Center for Louisiana Studies staff volunteers their efforts.
Dry Bones aligns with the Center's mission to promote Research, Renewal, and Creativity in Louisiana culture, particularly vernacular heritage. It aims to spark interest and creativity within, and understanding of, southern Louisiana's traditional music and culture.
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EPISODE 1: "DRY BONES"
FEATURING: CEDRIC WATSON & TIF LAMSON
EPISODE 2: "GRANDFATHER'S WALTZ"
FEATURING: STEVE RILEY & PETER SCHWARZ
EPISODE 3: "LE FLAMBEAU D'AMOUR"
FEATURING: KELLI JONES & MEGAN BROWN CONSTANTIN
ABOUT THE CENTER:
Founded in 1973, the Center for Louisiana Studies is a cultural hub within the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's College of Liberal Arts. It's the university's oldest research center. The Center oversees the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, publishing around 400 Louisiana-related books, and houses the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore, the largest collection of materials on South Louisiana's vernacular culture. To support the DRY BONES project, kindly direct philanthropic contributions through the UL Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization backing university initiatives.
ABOUT ROOTS OF FIRE:
The Roots of Fire Project is a multimedia series dedicated to capturing and sharing stories of South Louisiana roots music, encompassing Cajun, Zydeco, and Creole traditions (among others). Through feature documentaries, short films, digital shorts, and live performance pieces, we aim to showcase the richness of Louisiana's French music heritage. Our ultimate goal is to foster an appreciation, both among existing fans and new listeners, to celebrate the diverse tapestry, explore the intersections where Cajun and Zydeco blend, diverge, and how Creole culture and indigenous influences have shaped these musical genres.