Cymraeg Home About the Band Recordings Gigs Pictures Contact
Cajuns Denbo

Cajuns Denbo began singing in English and French but, as things progressed and original material was written, Welsh began to take prominence. This was so successful that traditional Cajun songs already in the repertoire were soon being played with lyrics translated into Welsh. Cajun and Welsh form a very happy marriage, bringing together the traditions of two bilingual cultures which have many similarities. It's a joyful mix, as witnessed by those who have caught the band live.
[band live]
The instrumental line-up comprises fiddle, accordion and guitar, backed by bass, and drums/triangle. Vocals are mainly in Welsh, with some English and French. The band members are all veterans of the roots music scene and have often been recruited to play either as a unit or as individuals to back touring Louisiana musicians such as bluesmen Lazy Lester and Phil Guy, Cajun acts Sheryl Cormier and Balfa Toujours and, Mr. 'Toot Toot' himself, Zydeco star Rockin' Sidney. Members of the band also work with Bayou Seco on their UK tours.

Over the last few years they have been making their mark on the festival scene, with appearances at several major events, including Pontardawe Festival, Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, Lorient Interceltic Festival in Brittany and Raamsdonksveer International Cajun and Zydeco Festival in the Netherlands.

In the first European Cajun and Zydeco awards (2004) the CD "Y Fforiwr" was nominated for the Best CD award, and Neil Browning was nominated for the Best Cajun Accordion award.

Back home in Wales, Cajun Denbo are regulars at most of the major festivals. They are the only band ever to headline twice at Sesiwn Fawr in Dolgellau, Wales' leading roots music event, with their performance in 2000 being watched by an estimated 10,000 people as well as being broadcast live on satellite TV and BBC radio. The band have also been featured live on over a dozen other TV and radio programmes and tracks from their CDs are featured regularly on Radio Cymru, the BBC's Welsh language radio station.

In recent years Cajuns Denbo have gone from strength to strength. Their music has diversified into a broad range of styles from traditional Welsh songs to Swamp Soul, but still keeping the basic Cajun and Zydeco feel. They are in great demand and are booked to play major festivals at home and abroad.

Back to top
[Dwy Daith album cover]

Dwy Daith Reviews

(click here for album info and downloadable samples)

"I didn't understand a word of it, but it sounded brilliant!"

Cajuns Denbo - Dwy Daith [five stars logo]

"Welsh Cajun music that really does work"

"The tempo is up beat, the energy infectious, and the talent enormous.......
Perhaps we should invent a new word for the new music that results from this unlikely marriage? .........
Their unique sound seems organic and is highly original........
The album DWY DAITH is an excellent amalgam of (these) different styles, although firmly anchored in Cajun.

Although the language on the album is Welsh, this should not put people off. Most Cajun is in French, which I can't speak either...... I commend the album to you and I can't wait to see them live."

David Petie, MAVERICK (June 2006)

Back to top

"Now listen! For many, this may require a "leap of faith", but, believe me, it WILL be worth it! This is the third album in a ten year career by a great (mainly) Welsh-language Cajun/Zydeco band from the mountainous Snowdonia region of North Wales. If you're immediately on the back foot because you don't speak Welsh, then remember you (probably) don't speak Cajun either! Since when did that spoil your enjoyment of the music? As it happens, the Welsh language is FAR more compatible with the linguistic and musical rhythms of Cajun/Zydeco than is English.

This is a storming pot-pourri (OK! OK! Howsabout "gumbo"?) of stomping Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Soul, Blues and much more. It says a lot for the band that they can pull in some pretty influential "friends" to help out on the sessions - anyone for Chip "Wild Thing" Taylor singing backing vox in Welsh? They treat songs by several quality writers - Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, Steve Earle, Dirk Powell (of Balfa Toujours), their own originals, the odd Cajun standard, and even a Welsh traditional song, with equal enthusiasm and alacrity.

Musicianship is of the VERY highest standard - and the vocals of Dennis Carr have more than a smattering of the great Roger "Family man" Chapman. Even if you don't know your froittoir from your femur, frankly, you can't go wrong! Put this on the player, kick off your shoes - and enjoy!"

Gary Price, 'Blues Matters'

Back to top

[thumbs up logo] "Bangor Bayou Boys dispel initial scepticism of the Cajun-in-Welsh concept with tight and well-played forays into several Louisiana styles, including chunky zydeco and swamp rock as well as the more obvious fiddle'n'accordion stuff, plus interesting one-offs."

"Seal of Approval - CAJUNS DENBO: Every once in a while, an album comes along that just flips everything on its head; this is one of those albums. A wonderful melange of cajun, roots and electric blues, blended with Welsh language lyrics. Smily music with soul. Bet they're great 'live'..."

Dave Hill, Radio CCAD

Back to top

"The cold winters, and not so cold summers, of Eryri is not a place that automatically springs to mind as a hotbed for cajun roots music, usually associated with the Deep South. But the third album by Cajuns Denbo, from Bangor, is proof that anything is possible with a bit of imagination and a lot of talent. In all honesty I would have said last week that this type of music really wasn't my scene, but having listened to Dwy Daith - a collection of 15 songs - a couple of times I have been converted.

What makes this band different is they sing in Welsh instead of French, the language usually associated with this sort of music. They very successfully combine instruments you would expect of this genre - violins, accordions and banjo with traditional Welsh instruments such as the pibgorn. There is also a mixture of original and traditional pieces, as well as some surprises such as a cajun version of Wrth Fynd Hefo Deio i Dywyn and a hymn of praise to Pete's Eats cafe in Llanberis.

Despite what the kids might tell you, I'm sure this is the real dance music. Even the most cynical can't stop their foot tapping to the rhythm. Then your head starts bobbing and before you know it you really feel the urge to get up and dance.

I would imagine they would be a great band to see live as I picture a room full of sweaty bodies frantically dancing to wonderful bouncy numbers such as Bosco Stomp and Dagrau yn Disgyn. Another highlight for me was Paid â Difaru which made me ponder once again why the Welsh words for love and regret have to rhyme.

If you're looking for something a bit different, I would recommend a listen."

Sarah Marion Jones, 'Holyhead Mail'

Back to top

"For my money, this is the most satisfying Denbo outing to date...
   ... the shakeup given to Wrth Fynd Hefo Deio i Dywyn with Crasdant's Andy McLauchlin guesting on pibgorn is an unmissable treat. And on a hearty rendition of La Danse de Mardi Gras there's one concession to the vrai son, next to a moving, Cambrianised version of Steve Earle's The Mountain (Y Mynydd). Verdict: a fitting souvenir of a Cajuns Denbo gig, and a damn good party record."

Mike Greenwood, 'Taplas'

KBCS (Washington State) radio DJs Select Favorite CDs of 2005
Sean Donovan - "Eh Toi!"

Lost Bayou Ramblers: "Bayou Perdu" Swallow
Big Red & the Zydeco Playmakers: "Secret Ingredients" Maison de Soul
Bluerunners: "Honey Slides" Bayou Vista
Buckwheat Zydeco: "Jackpot!" Tomorrow Recordings
Chris Ardoin & NuStep: "Sweat"
Rosie Ledet: "Pick It Up" Maison de Soul
Cajuns Denbo: "Dwy Daith" Joscyn
Hadley J. Castille: "Refait" Swallow
Morris Ardoin with Dennis Stroughmatt: "Le Tracas de Morris" Flat Town Music
Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band: "Going to See Keith Frank" Soulwood Records

Back to top

[Y Fforiwr album cover]  Cajuns Denbo - Y Fforiwr (2000)

"Fancy a bit of welsh Cajun in your CD collection? Well, that's exactly what you will find on the Cajuns Denbo CD Y Fforiwr (The Explorer). The group was formed after a visit by drummer Owen Hughes to Louisiana ten years ago. After hearing Cajun music he added accordion and fiddle to the band he was performing with and found that the Welsh language fitted perfectly to this style of music and appealed greatly to Welsh audiences. This then is their second recording for the Sain label.

So to the music. There is a mixture of songs from the traditional Hen Joe Clark and Colinda, a take on Ted Hawkins' Watch Your Step and Fats Domino's Before I Grow Too Old, to original compositions from singer Dennis Carr, guitarist Sam Lock and multi instrumentalist Pete Walton. The material is well arranged and tightly played, the accordion of Neil Browning shining throughout. Dennis Carr's voice compliments the material superbly and this is a highly enjoyable album. A good festival band if ever I heard one."

Stevie Lawrence, 'Traditional Music Maker'

Back to top

[Stompio album cover]  Cajuns Denbo - Stompio (1996)

"Yes, it's right chum. What you thought is exactly what this is. Welsh Cajun? Why not? They're bloody good too. If it wasn't for the fact that they're singing about the swamps in Welsh, or at other times singing about Welsh things in a Cajun style, then you'd swear these were Louisiana good al boys.

In truth they're from Bangor, but they've got to be one of the foot-stompiest outfits doing the rounds. And don't you just love the way they've adapted that title? They also adapt - fairly freely it has to be said - Boozoo Chavis, Michael Doucet, D.L. Menard and Dewey Balfa, the most recognisable melodies being Balfa's Tit Galop and Diggy Diggy Lo, both fine bon temps stuff. A two-fiddle attack and wheezy accordion mark out a band who really know what they're about and want an individual sound quickly as possible. Ideal for your festival or plain made for any old party or knees up you may just be planning."

Simon Jones, 'Traditional Music Maker'

Back to top

"Dwy Daith" is available on Joscyn Records:
(click here for album info and downloadable samples)

"They were a revelation. Their sound is a mixture of Cajun and traditional music in a brilliant and exciting format; any organiser looking to book a new band could not go far wrong with this group." FOLK NORTH WEST

Cymraeg Home About the Band Recordings Gigs Pictures Contact