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 Shamir Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Shamir

The singer's disco-infused funk and soul gets stripped down to a lone voice with a guitar.

Tiny Desk Concert with Paul Weller. Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Paul Weller

See the beloved Britpop veteran perform songs from his new album, Saturns Pattern.

Tiny Desk Concert with Kate Tempest. Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Kate Tempest

A celebrated English playwright and rapper deploys storytelling and poetry.

Tiny Desk Concert with Songhoy Blue Lani Milton /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton /NPR

Tiny Desk

Songhoy Blues

See a Malian band that fuses African music with Western rock.

Tiny Desk Concert with Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad of Girlpool. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Girlpool

The charming duo performs three of the simple, direct songs from Before The World Was Big.

Tiny Desk Concert with Christopher Paul Stelling. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Christopher Paul Stelling

Best witnessed live, Stelling's music is steeped in tradition yet filled with vitality and soul.

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

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

And The Kids

The trio's music is full of life, with dissonant sounds that still feel suited for singalongs.

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.

Back To Top