Cajun Musician and Accordion Maker Mark Savoy

Cajun jam in Church Point, LA
Cajun jam in Church Point, LA

There are many reason to travel west out of New Orleans into Cajun country, and music is certainly one of the most important.  We had some wonderful musical experiences when we traveled through the Parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, St. Landry along the Zydeco Cajun Prairie Scenic Byway. But certainly the most exciting was the opportunity to meet musician and accordion maker Mark Savoy in his workshop near Eunice, Louisiana and learn from an expert the history and science of accordions.

Mark Savoy, Cajun accordion maker and musician
Mark Savoy, accordion maker and musician

Mark Savoy is charming and brilliant.  He seemed to have all the time in the world to share his love of all things Cajun, and particularly his knowledge of accordions. Did you know that most accordions used by Cajun musicians are hand-made right there in Louisiana?  Did you know that the particular squeeze box used by the Cajuns came originally from German immigrants? Did you know that there is an essential link between Louisiana and Italy? Our conversation with him led us eventually to a small hill town in the Le Marche region of Italy in one of those unexpected and wonderful experiences that can come from random meetings along the travel road.

Cajun Mark Savoy with accordion part
Mark Savoy with accordion part

 

Inside a Cajun accordion
Inside an accordion

 

Cajun Accordion parts
Cajun Accordion parts

 

Cajun Accordion workshop
Accordion workshop

 

Cajun Mark Savoy's sayings
Mark Savoy’s sayings

 

And how does the trail from Cajun accordions in Eunice, Louisiana lead to Italy?  It turns out, Mark told us that there are certain parts that are too difficult to hand craft in his own workshop, so he scoured the world to find someone who made them well.  He found what he was looking for in the town of Castlefidardo, Italy. At the time we were visiting with Savoy in 2006, we were preparing for a trip to Italy, and would be going right into the area of Castlefidardo.  So of course we went there in search of accordion makers. But that is a story for another day.

This has been my contribution to Travel Photo Thursday. You can see many more pictures of world travels by going to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.

Vera Marie Badertscher

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

13 thoughts on “Cajun Musician and Accordion Maker Mark Savoy

  1. I love Cajun music. Really, truly. And I’d never given a thought to where an accordion might be made. Nice to see that it’s done right here in the USA!

    1. Kris: I should have made it clearer in the article that cajun accordions are a bit different than the bigger, keyboard accordions. It’s the smaller button accordions that are made in Louisiana.

  2. How fascinating! Accordion making is definitely a fine art. There is also a connection between Louisianna and Nova Scotia (you probably know this). This is where the French Acadians settled when they were expelled from Nova Scotia.

    1. Jeanine–we were overwhelmed. The tourism folks in the three parishes put together an itinerary for us that included a Saturday night theater performance in EUnice, a Saturday morning bar tradition, the interview, a restaurant with music and the informal get togethers. Fantastic.

  3. Good food and good music, I’m down for visiting Cajun country! I’ve spent time wandering a violin museum and workshop before and find it very interesting understanding more about how craftmen make these wonderful instruments.

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