Dennis Stroughmatt and L’esprit Creole (Trio)
Friday, September 20 @ 7:30 pm
In the Heart of North America is a story that remains to be told, the story of the French Creoles who founded the Illinois Country over three hundred years ago. Along the Wabash and Mississippi River corridors, today they remain with their songs, stories and language, and one music group continues to carry the torch of this enduring culture … Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole.
Originally from southeastern Illinois, Dennis Stroughmatt was taught to play fiddle by Missouri Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers. He became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles who settled near St Louis, subsequently playing at weekly local French Creole house parties or “bouillons.” As a result of his physical journeys that have also included French and musical studies in Louisiana, Quebec and Tennessee, Dennis finds himself in a unique position as one who can speak knowledgeably and play in a variety of French and Cajun/Western Swing styles. He has an innate sense of what is needed to get an audience on their feet, keep a band on its toes and educate throughout. Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole are now passionate ambassadors of Creole music and traditions, expanding interest and excitement in a region that has been ignored by the history books.
This medley of music, language, stories, and culture secreted away in the Missouri and southern Illinois Ozarks now has a voice in the tapestry of this world. With the blessing of the Creole people of the Midwest, Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole work to expand interest and excitement in a region that has been, in many ways, forgotten by the march of time. But what many have considered to be long lost is alive and kicking.
Through performances at The Smithsonian, The Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center, Festivals Acadiens, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and appearances on NPR, PBS and RFDtv, Dennis Stroughmatt along with L’Esprit Creole have been honored to perform for audiences of thousands. Venues have included the largest festivals and theaters in the Unites States and Canada as well as the most intimate house concerts and even a two-room school house. Dennis also continues as a clinician at annual conferences given by organizations including The American Association of Teachers of French, The Missouri Folklore Society and The Center for French Colonial Studies.
Through the work of Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole, the music and culture of “Old Upper Louisiana” is in good hands. It’ll make your soul jump, your head spin, and your heart glad to know that it is still here. As they say in the hills, “On est toujours icitte: We are still here!!