Cajun trio T’ Monde returns to its roots and celebrates a bygone era. By Dominick Cross

Friday, Sept. 7, 2012

                                                                                                                                            Photo by Jenny Lyons Simon
A_E_09_2012
                         T' Monde are, from left, Kelli Jones-Savoy, Drew Simon and Megan Brown.

Drew Simon had a pretty good idea what he was looking for in something a little different than when he’s keeping the beat as the Pine Leaf Boys’ drummer.

So about a year and a half ago, he grabbed his accordion and got together with fiddler Kelli Jones-Savoy and guitar-strumming balladeer Megan Brown and formed T’ Monde — Cajun for “Little World” or “Little People,” according to band members.

And with that, you get traditional two-steps, woeful waltzes, some blues and two- and three-part harmonies almost unheard of these days in Cajun music. “I’ve always liked the idea of a guy and a girl singing together,” says Simon. “They had a few — kind of like George Jones and Tammy Wynette — doing Cajun music, but it had been a while. I’ve always liked the way Kelli sings and I’ve always liked the way Megan sings. And we all have three distinct styles of singing Cajun music.”

Jones-Savoy comes from North Carolina with an “old time” background. Brown is from the Eunice area, and Simon is from Lafayette. “So, we all have three distinct ways of singing,” Simon says. “That was always a big draw for me — it’s something different.”

It’s a matter of harmony, literally and aurally. “If you get the right singers, like with a guy and a girl, it meshes up pretty well, the harmonies and stuff,” he says, adding that Jones-Savoy and Brown were already on the same page. “They’re really good at harmonizing, so I thought that was kind of cool.”

Instrumentally speaking, Simon and Brown have the Cajun music background and with Jones-Savoy there’s the old-time take on things. “It’s pretty close to Cajun music,” says Simon. “It’s old folk music.”

So combine that with Brown and her love of old French ballads from the early 1900s and Simon and his ahnvee for a Cajun dancehall era from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and you get “three different styles of music together,” he says. “It makes for a unique sound.”

Simon makes his living playing music. In addition to his work with the Pine Leaf Boys, he sits in here and there with other bands. But with T’ Monde, it’s an outlet he otherwise wouldn’t have. “The reason I like playing with the girls is it lets me play songs I want to play,” he says. “I think full-time musicians should have some kind of outlet where they play music that they want to play.”

 

Hear T’ Monde

Every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Prejean’s Restaurant
Sept. 28: D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant
Oct. 14: Festivals Acadiens et Creoles
Oct. 26: Bach Lunch

 


Order the band’s new record, Making Believe, at TMondeCajunBand.com

 



It’s not to say he doesn’t like what he’s doing, either. “You like it and everything, but it’s not like ‘my’ songs you want to play,” Simon says. “I get to do that with the girls.” And not only that, with a three-piece band, “it’s a lot quieter and it’s a lot easier and you can hear everything a lot better,” he says.

For those listening or dancing or both to T’ Monde, there’s “the uniqueness of the three different styles of singing,” as well as their different takes on instruments with Jones-Savoy on fiddle, Brown on guitar and Simon on accordion that goes back to the days before amplification.

The members of T’ Monde are in their 20s and that in itself is a good sign where the future of Cajun music is concerned.

“For a long time, everyone was worried,” says Simon. “I don’t know about the language, but the music is definitely going to stick around for a long time because there are people 12 and 13 years old that are way better musicians than any of us. It blows my mind what they do,” he says. “The music’s fine.”

Hear T’ Monde
Every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Prejean’s Restaurant
Sept. 28: D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant
Oct. 14: Festivals Acadiens et Creoles
Oct. 26: Bach Lunch
Order the band’s new record, Making Believe, at TMondeCajunBand.com

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