NPR Music

Support Public RadioLogin

Tiny Desk Concerts

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboys: Tiny Desk Concert

Download Audio

17 min 06 sec

March 7, 2011 Steve Riley and his Mamou Playboys make sweet Cajun music together: music steeped in the French heritage of southwestern Louisiana and driven by accordion and fiddle. Watch the Grammy-nominated Cajun band play an upbeat yet bittersweet set from the NPR Music offices.

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

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

More Tiny Desk Concerts

More Tiny Desk Concerts
 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Podcast + RSS Feeds

Podcast RSS

  • Tiny Desk Concerts
     
  • Live in Concert
     
 

Podcast + RSS Feeds

Podcast RSS

  • Music Videos
     
  • Tiny Desk Concerts