Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies

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Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies
Mojo of Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies.jpg
Background information
OriginLouisiana
GenresZydeco, Cajun
Years active1982–present
Websiteredhotmojo.com
MembersMojo
Zydeco T Carrier
Greg Hirte
Tee John Moser
Beau Brian Burke

Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies is a band led by Mojo from Breaux Bridge Louisiana. Their music is a blend of zydeco, Cajun and their particular style which he calls Red Hot Mojo Music. Circa 2018, they consist of Mojo on vocals and Cajun accordion, Zydeco T Carrier on Frottoir (rubboard), Greg Hirte on Cajun fiddle, Tee John Moser on drums Beau Brian Burke on bass.

Genre and musical style[edit]

Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies. From left: Greg Hirte, T. Carrier, Mojo, Beau Brian Burke & Tee John Moser

Most classifications of their genre include zydeco and Cajun.[1][2] "His music reflects the Louisiana and Cajun zydeco tradition, as well as New Orleans two-steps, rock & roll and blues rhythms".[1] Other writers describe their music as "a musical mélange of Cajun, zydeco, rock and blues".[3] and coming those styles in a "gleeful gumbo that he calls Red Hot Mojo Music..." [1] His performances are characterized as energetic and charismatic. "...from the way he moves, it's obvious that he's still excited about what he's doing."[4] With Zydeco and Cajun genres being closely associated with Louisiana culture, many of their performances during that time of the year have Mardi Gras themes.[5][6]

Documentary[edit]

Mojo documentary

Filmmaker Joe Gallo has produced a documentary on Mojo titled "The Magic Behind the Mojo" [7] According to Gallo, "I discovered his music searching for a soundtrack for 10 'Soldier Story' mini-documentaries created to engage support of the creation of a National Museum of the US Army.[8] These stories of Army combat veterans were impactful and emotional and Mojo's composition 'Lights on the Bayou', a beautiful and haunting ballad in the Cajun style, was the perfect fit. This introduced me to Mojo and the discovery that there is more to his music and more to the man than his cajun accordion. This documentary looks into the making of a man who gives something everyday, lives life to the fullest, and all his friends are friends for life."[7] When asked in a CBS "Great Day Washington" CBS television show interview at what point in the filming of the first project Gallo realized that Mr. Mojo is a movie in himself, Gallo said "Probably sometime during the first day of filming".[9] The Mojo documentary project took approximately 2 years and was completed in the summer of 2018.[9] It won various film festival awards.[10]

The documentary was released at the first public screening November 13, 2018 at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Ft. Belvoir, VA, the future site of the National Museum of the US Army slated for opening in 2019.[7][9]

Gallo's ten mini-documentaries are archived at the Army Historical Foundation.[8]

Mojo[edit]

Mojo is the vocalist, accordion player, songwriter, and a sort of "father figure" leader of Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies.[11] He lives in Southwest Louisiana, outside of Breaux Bridge.[12] "Mojo" is the only name he uses. When asked about his longer legal name he has said that "only the IRS and the police" know it.[12] Mojo has been performing zydeco and Cajun music since 1974.[13]

In collaboration with Frottoir maker Tee Don Landry, Mojo got the Frottoir (the zydeco rubboard) inducted into the Smithsonian Institution Museum of North American History Folk Music collection.[14] He's also an actor appearing regularly on CMT's TV show Swamp Pawn based in the Louisiana bayous and the star of the TV show Swamp Girls Gone Crazy which is about successful women entrepreneurs in that part of the country.[15] Mojo also serves on the board of directors of NAPAMA (North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents) and is an International Music Ambassador for the State of Louisiana.[15]

Charitable work has been a significant element for both the band and Mojo. "A portion of proceeds from every MOJO concert is donated to charity. And his work to benefit children is legendary. Mojo and his band deliver hundreds of performances each year to inner-city, underprivileged, and handicapped children."[4] He is a recipient of three Shriners Hospitals for Children Humanitarian Awards.[15]

Early years[edit]

Mojo At Shriners Hospital

Mojo’s first “performance” was when he was about three years old in front of a family gathering, imitating Elvis Presley and banging on a skillet for a guitar.[3][16] By age 11 he had performed professionally.[3] Mojo recounts "It was always important to express what was inside of me because I could never hold it in. This caused some interesting problems for me in school. But my mama always said "Thank God those teachers never helped you be normal or you could never make a living.""[17] He recounted that she said that he "was able to turn a behavior problem into a career.[9] The band started as an acoustic duo in the early 1980s. Then, in approximately 1985 they added a bass player followed by Mojo beginning to play accordion in the band.[16]

Recent[edit]

Circa 2019, the band has been performing for 34 years.[9] As Mojo described in a CBS 2018 "Great Day Washington" television show interview, "We're on our second generation of band members.....our newest member has been with us 16 years"[9] His accordion was custom-made for him by Larry Miller in Iota Louisiana.[9]

Musical philosophy[edit]

Mojo cites a statement by Buckwheat Zydeco to his daughter "The talent you have is a gift from God. But it's not for you, it's to make other people happy" and says that they have lived by those words.[16]

Other band members[edit]

Circa 2018, they consist of Mojo on vocals and Cajun accordion, Zydeco T Carrier on Frottoir (rubboard), Greg Hirte on Cajun fiddle, Tee John Moser on drums and Beau Brian Burke on bass.[18] Moser joined the band in 1995, Burke in 2000.[16] Circa 1996 the band size had varied between six and nine performers.[12] In earlier years his daughters performed with the band. Circa 1996 this included Marcy on fiddle and T'Pech on rubboard. Chicago blues musician Lonnie Brooks, praised the talents of "Fiddlin' Marcy". "I'm real impressed with her," he said. "I think she's great. And the music they play always brings back memories of home for me."[13]

Zydeco T Carrier, Frottior (Rubboard)[edit]

Greg Hirte

Zydeco T Carrier joined the band in 1989 [16] and plays rubboard. According to an ABC news article she is a "legend known for her skill as a player of the Frottoir...", She is a native of Church Point, LA. Carrier is a French-speaking Creole from the well known zydeco Carrier family. Her brother is the late Roy Carrier, her nephew is Chubby Carrier, both known as zydeco musicians.[14]

Greg "The Fire" Hirte, Fiddle[edit]

Greg Hirte is a classically trained violinist and actor.[19] He started playing violin at age four.[14] Prior to joining Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies in 2002[16] he performed with Billy Corgan, Nick Tremulus, Steve Earl and Ronnie Specter.[14] Circa 2020, with 18 years with the band, he is its newest member.[15] Hirte is a Joseph Jefferson award winner, and a veteran of the Goodman Theater stage, playing their featured actor in their production of Dickens' Christmas Carol for over 20 years.[15]

Beau Brian Burke, Bass[edit]

Burke joined the band in 2000. With a master's degree in Jazz Bass performance, he has performed with artists from a variety of genres including blues artists, Irish music artists, jazz and fusion artists, and as an actor "John Paul Jones" in a Led Zeppelin tribute production.[15]

Tee John Moser, Drums[edit]

Tee John Moser joined the band in 1995. He has performed in a variety of other areas including on 30, TV & radio commercials. He toured and performed with Tito Puente, "Blue" Lou Marini (Blues Brothers), Clark Terry (Johnny Carson Show), Louie Bellson and Tito Corillio. He also acts in feature films and music videos.[15]

Performances[edit]

Television performances[edit]

Mojo has performed on the PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox television networks and the superstation WGN.[20][16]

Netherlands International Cajun & Zydeco Festival[edit]

In May 2011 they headlined the Netherlands International Cajun & Zydeco Festival. This was the 19th annual edition of this festival and was held in May 2011 in Raamsdonksveer, Netherlands.[21]

Unusual venues[edit]

He has performed in opera houses, vaudeville houses and stages in front of the Canadian Parliament.[17]

Discography[edit]

Mojo has produced about 25 albums. Some of them are:

  • Rock the House Tonight! 2001
  • Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies Madame Magique
  • Better Get Ready... Mojo's In Town! January 2006
  • Better On the Bayou August 2008
  • From the Bayou to the Black Forest! (Recorded live in Germany) June 2009
  • 25 Years of inducing wild behavior[22] December 2010
  • Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies Madam Magique [23]
  • Lagniappe! Ala Mojo[12] February 2017

Mojo explained that ""Lagniappe" is a Cajun word for a little something extra. Like if you order a slice of pie and they give you a scoop of ice cream for free. I put out that album in 2017. On that album are songs that are no longer in the show but people request all of the time" [17] 15 of their albums have been certified by the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "MoJo & The Bayou Gypsies". Chicagoplays.com.
  2. ^ Morgan, Scott C. (19 February 2016). "Weekend picks: Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies, Herman's Hermits". Dailyherald.com.
  3. ^ a b c "Bayou Band Performs a Northern Michigan Event". Mynorth.com. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Jackson Concert Series - Mojo & the Bayou Gypsies". Visitmuscatine.com.
  5. ^ "Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies". Millikin.edu. 6 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies - VITERBO UNIVERSITY". Viterbo.edu.
  7. ^ a b c "The Magic Behind the Mojo - documentary film making". Joegallophotography.com. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b https://armyhistory.org/the-soldiers-stories-video-gallery/ The Soldiers’ Stories Video Gallery Presented by Boeing The Army Historical Foundation website Retrieved 1/20/19
  9. ^ a b c d e f g https://www.wusa9.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/the-magic-of-the-mojo/65-8310704?jwsource=cl November 12, 2018 WUSA9 CBS "Great Day Washington" Washington DC interview Retrieved 1/22/19
  10. ^ http://www.spotlightfilmawards.com/filmmakers2019-1.html 2019 Award-Winning Filmmakers in the spotlight Joe Gallo Retrieved 7/15/20
  11. ^ "Jackson ConcertWesley United Methodist". Wesleyonline.org. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d Alleman, Annie. "Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies provide a good time". Chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  13. ^ a b http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-07-14/features/9607140086_1_zydeco-french-button-accordion-louisiana PARTY ON, Y'ALL! The Chicago Tribune by Luann Grosscup June 2, 1996 accessdate=29 November 2018
  14. ^ a b c d "Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies". Abc30.com. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h 2018-19 season Moraine Valley Community College Fine & Performing Arts Center booklet for the 2018-2019 Mainstage season
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Documentary film "The Magic behind the Mojo" by Permanent Productions directed by Joe Gallo Released November 2018
  17. ^ a b c https://issuu.com/jamesalexanderhance/docs/70 Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 70, November 2018 Issue #70 Published November 2, 2018 Pages 32-41 Retrieved January 20, 2019
  18. ^ "MOJO & the Bayou Gypsies - Illinois Arts Council Agency". Arts.illinois.gov. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  19. ^ Reviews, New York Times Theater (2002-01-01). The New York Times Theatre Reviews 1999-2000. Taylor & Francis. pp. 299–. ISBN 978-0-415-93697-2. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Jan. 23: Louisiana Zydeco legends, Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies, to perform at CLC". Chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  21. ^ Gypsies, MOJO & The Bayou. "MOJO & The Bayou Gypsies Headline International Cajun & Zydeco Festival in the Netherlands!". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  22. ^ "25 Years of Inducing Wild Behavior". Amazon.com. 11 January 2011.
  23. ^ "Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies Madame Magique". Amazon.com.

External links[edit]