Two local Southeastern University music majors, cousins Carley Duet, of Cut Off, and Brandi Callais Brumfield, of Hammond, will be paying artistic homage to their family’s Cajun French musical heritage. The two students are the granddaughters of Herbert Callais, who is the late Vin Bruce’s nephew.

Their uncle Vin Bruce was a prominent Cajun musician in the 50’s through the 60’s. As a successful touring and recording artist he recorded solo albums, and also worked in the studio with many prominent musicians such as Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley for Columbia Records in Nashville.

Vin’s performance career took him to the Grand Ole Opry and the Louisiana Hayride among other notable venues, as he became known as the “King of Cajun Singers”.

Brandi, who is pursuing a masters degree in guitar performance said, “Upon hearing these songs for the first time, I knew that arranging this music to fit the setting would feel like home to me. With some help from my guitar teacher, Mr. Kerber, we have arranged these tunes to compliment the original music from our Cajun ancestors while also incorporating new ideas that we came up with—all to fit on one guitar while Carley sings. I am excited to share this music with our family and friends and show them our reimagined take on these tunes by our great-great uncle, Vin Bruce!”

Carley, a vocal music education student at Southeastern, stated that, “Since I am in school for vocal music, I am required to learn how to sing songs in French, German, Italian, and English. As I was preparing for my recital, I figured that it would be fun and exciting to sing in the native language of my grandparents. Brandi, who is my cousin, was the perfect person to collaborate with on this project. While working on the songs, I enjoyed quality time with my Grandfather, Herbert Callais, who helped me with the translations and pronunciations of the words. I am excited to keep my Cajun heritage alive by learning these songs and putting a different twist on music that I remember hearing from my childhood.”

The two students will perform arrangements of “Dans le Claire de la lune” and “Si tu m’aime” at Carley Duet’s voice recital at Southeastern University’s Pottle Music Building Auditorium. The recital will be held on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 p.m. in Hammond. The event is free and open to the public.

Kerber indicated, “These two excellent students are taking this unique opportunity to put the skills they have developed as serious music students to use, developing music that they are both personally connected to, and presenting it in a sophisticated fashion. Whether music is created for the dance hall or popular radio, good music can, with the proper skills, be developed for presentation on the concert stage. The key is to have these skills and creative will to successfully accomplish this. I am impressed.”

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