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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

To those who think all Cajun music sounds exactly the same, we say you haven't heard the revolutionary new CD "Christine Balfa Plays the Triangle."

(Soundbite of triangle)

BLOCK: Nearly an hour's worth of solo triangle from Christine Balfa.

(Soundbite of triangle)

BLOCK: She's the daughter of the legendary Cajun fiddler, Dewey Balfa, and leader of the Cajun band Balfa Toujours.

(Soundbite of triangle)

BLOCK: This solo triangle project is the brainchild of producer Chas Justus, who joins us from member station KRVS in Lafayette, Louisiana.

And, Chas, it's hard to imagine that nobody thought of an idea this great before.

Mr. CHAS JUSTUS (Producer, "Christine Balfa Plays the Triangle"): It's just there waiting to be done. It's amazing to me, too. It's - you know, triangles have been important to mankind for a long time, you know, ever since Pythagoras and the great pyramids, and cave paintings have triangles on them. You know, triangles are a big part of our, you know, humanity and our culture.

BLOCK: But it took some kind of inspiration for you to think, you know, solo triangle. Who needs - really, who needs the accordion? Who needs the fiddle?

Mr. JUSTUS: Yeah.

BLOCK: Who needs any of that stuff? Who needs a guitar?

Mr. JUSTUS: No. Melodic or harmonic content just gets in the way of, you know, what the triangle can really - the nuances that can really be brought out.

(Soundbite of triangle)

BLOCK: You undersell this, by the way, on the cover of the CD. You say it's over 45 minutes of pure, unadulterated, classic Cajun triangle.

Mr. JUSTUS: Mm-hmm.

BLOCK: It's actually 55 minutes.

Mr. JUSTUS: Oh yeah, that's (unintelligible). That's what we call that down here, a little extra for you.

(Soundbite of triangle)

BLOCK: There is one point when we do hear Christine Balfa's voice. This is on the song "The Balfa Waltz."

Mr. JUSTUS: Oh yeah.

(Soundbite of song, "The Balfa Waltz")

Ms. CHRISTINE BALFA (Musician): (Unintelligible).

BLOCK: There she is.

Mr. JUSTUS: Mm-hmm.

BLOCK: Now, what's going on there in the studio, Chas? She's getting carried away by the power of music here?

Mr. JUSTUS: That's it. The emotion just took hold of her, you know? It's one of those things with the - especially with the Balfa tradition, and "The Balfa Waltz" is their family song, and she's just overwhelmed, you know?

(Soundbite of song, "The Balfa Waltz")

Ms. BALFA: (Unintelligible).

Mr. JUSTUS: We got lightning in a bottle on that one.

BLOCK: You knew you had that on one take, I bet.

Mr. JUSTUS: Oh yeah, that was it, you know? There was no - there were no overdubs, you know, especially on that one. There was no - if the creativity's flowing, and it - she's, you know, feeling it and just let the tape roll, it's like, you know, those, you know, Ornette Coleman or something like that, it's just - let it happen. Let the moment, you know, just do its own thing.

BLOCK: You know, Chas, I think a less discriminating listener might hear track number one, "L'Anse Au Paille." Let's take a listen here.

(Soundbite of song, "L'Anse A Paille")

BLOCK: And you might then listen to track number three, "La Port en Arrière."

(Soundbite of song, "La Port en Arrière")

BLOCK: And you could think that was the exact same song or even the same song as track number four, "Blues de Port Arthur."

(Soundbite of song, "Blues de Port Arthur")

Mr. JUSTUS: Yeah, that's a common thing.

BLOCK: Yeah.

Mr. JUSTUS: With Cajun and old time music, you know, there's a lot of people who think that a lot of it sounds the same. And a lot of roots music, you know, to some ears does sound the same. But, you know, when you really go through it and you start to get into the music and really start to feel it and love it, you'll notice the nuances and the differences. Each song has a story all its own.

(Soundbite of music)

BLOCK: Well, Chas, thanks for opening our minds and our ears, really, to the…

Mr. JUSTUS: Oh, you're welcome.

BLOCK: …depths and nuance of the solo triangle.

Mr. JUSTUS: Any time.

BLOCK: Chas Justus produced the CD "Christine Balfa Plays the Triangle." And if the fillings in your teeth don't hurt quite enough already, there's more, so much more chank-a-chank of solo triangle at nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of music)

BLOCK: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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