Tiny Desk

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboys

Download Audio

Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys: Tiny Desk Concert

This Mardi Gras will be a bittersweet celebration for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. For 23 years, accordionist Steve Riley has been making music with his friend and fiddler, David Greely, but this Mardi Gras will be their last together. Greely is leaving the Mamou Playboys to save his ears; the loud volume of dancehall shows has been harmful to his hearing, and his doctor has told him that he needs to stop. So this Tiny Desk Concert is one of his last shows with the Grammy-nominated Cajun band.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys make sweet Cajun music together: music steeped in the French heritage of southwestern Louisiana and driven by accordion and fiddle. It's sweetly melodic, danceable music with origins in French-Canadian history that dates back to the 1760s — think of it as their country music. Over the last 23 years, there have been 11 Mamou Playboys records; the latest, Grand Isle, is self-released. In the album's title track, Greely finds more that's bittersweet to sing about: Grand Isle is not only the place he loved most as a child, but it's also a place hit hard by the gulf oil disaster last spring.

Come Mardi Gras this week, the band will play its last dancehall together. During this visit to NPR, Greely joked about putting together an acoustic tour of office spaces. If such a thing would keep this great team together, I'd say it's not a bad idea.

Set List
  • "Lyons Point"
  • "Valse de Chagrin/Waltz of Sorrow"
  • "Grand Isle"
  • "Honest Papas Love Their Mamas Better"
Credits

Michael Katzif and Bob Boilen (cameras); edited by Bob Boilen; photo by Erin Schwartz

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Concert with Oddisee Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Tiny Desk

Oddisee

The charismatic Brooklyn-via-D.C.-area rapper creates just the right amount of space in his music.

Tiny Desk Concert with Hop Along. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Hop Along

Frances Quinlan's raspy voice whispers one moment, then lets loose a gut-punching howl the next.

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks. Maggie Starbard /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard /NPR

Tiny Desk

Strand Of Oaks

Timothy Showalter's music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Prettiots. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Prettiots

The clever trio shares its love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups.

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anna & Elizabeth

If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, breathe deep and soak it all in.

TK Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Genevieve

See a singer with a powerful voice and extremely encouraging message.

Tiny Desk Concert with Zac Sokolow (left), Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Frank Fairfield

A young man with an old musical soul has a spellbinding voice and fluid fiddle playing.

Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis

Watch the Grammy-winning guitarist and acclaimed harpist play music influenced by Africa and Asia.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Young Fathers

Intense, hip-hop-infused poetry is reduced to just the essentials in this two-song, four-minute set.

Back To Top