Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dishonesty and Lies: C'est Une Peche De Dire Un Mentire


Ann Savoy: C'est Une Peche De Dire Un Mentire


Cajun music has its roots in the French-speaking northeastern Canadians who settled in Louisiana in the mid-1700s.

Ann Savoy, a little-known mid-twentieth century Cajun artist, learned music from her father, an itinerant preacher, fiddler, and singing teacher. She collected and sang traditional ballads throughout her life, usually unaccompanied in the Cajun tradition. Introduced to a wider public by folklorist and musicologist Alan Lomax, Savoy recorded extensively, and claimed to be able to perform over 500 songs. She was often known as Granny Savoy. This original version of the later-famous song (known as It's A Sin To Tell A Lie in English) was collected by Lomax in 1941 and appears on his collection Folk Songs of the United States Vol. 5: French Ballads and Dance.

Nothing I wrote about Ann Savoy is true. She's not an historical singer discovered by Lomax; she's contemporary (and I was merely lucky in that she posted a picture of herself that looks decidedly old). This song's from the 2002 movie, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, in which she played a small role as a musician. It's not the original version, which was written in 1936 (in English) and was recorded first by Fats Waller.

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