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CRANSTONâ€“The annual Cajun & Zydeco Mardi Gras celebrates itâ€™s 20th anniversary this year with an extended lineup of four bands and an earlier start time of 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston.
One of the only authentic Mardi Gras celebrations in New England, the event will run until midnight and features a costume contest with prizes in a variety of categories including best group, best couple and best individual and a grand cash prize for best overall costume. Featured bands this year include two 2012 Grammy nominees: CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band and Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys.
Also on the lineup is four-time Grammy nominated band, The Pine Leaf Boys plus Preston Frank, Ed Poullard & the Big Daddy Zydeco Band. The Hot Tamale Brass Band will also be on hand to lead the costume judging parade and add festive atmosphere to the event.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door and may be purchased on the website at www.mardigrasri.com, or by calling 401-783-3926.
Cajun and Creole food served up by Russell Morin Catering will be available. Like a classic New Orleans bistro, the menu will include Shrimp Etouffe over Rice, Creole Style Chicken & Jambalaya, Caesar Salad with New Orleans Fried Shrimp and Homemade Cornbread, Pecan Bourbon Pie, gourmet coffee and assorted teas. The Rhodes provides a cash bar.
About the Bands:
CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band are in the running for a Grammy for their new CD, Canâ€™t Sit Down, perfect title to describe their rockinâ€™ funky brand of zydeco. CJ has been described as â€śattacking the accordion with the tension and drive of James Brown...creating contemporary turbo charged dance music.â€ť
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys are Grammy nominated for their latest release, Grand Isle.
A staple at the Rhythm & Roots Festival, they keep the dance floor filled with their pumpinâ€™ hybrid of Zydeco, Cajun, and swamp pop.
The four-time Grammy nominated Pine Leaf Boys, known for their wild shows, have breathed new life into Cajun music with their rock influences and were described by the New York Times as â€ś...the best new, energetic and fun Cajun band in a very long time.â€ť They have toured the world bringing multi-faceted angles to Cajun, Creole and Zydeco.
Preston Frank, Ed Poullard & the Big Daddy Zydeco Band have been playing festivals around the country to delighted crowds. This will be their first appearance at the Mardi Gras Ball. Members of Rhode Island based band Magnolia will also join Preston and Ed.
Fundraiser for Mamou Playboys Drummer Kevin Dugas
Kevin Dugas, the long time drummer for Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys was sidelined in the fall with a serious injury to his hand, almost severing a finger by cutting through the bone and ligaments of his left hand.
With the surgery behind him, Kevin went through a long and painful recovery and rehabilitation. With no means of livelihood for a while and no medical insurance, Kevinâ€™s medical expenses have piled up as well as his lack of funds to provide for his wife and children.
Lagniappe Productions has organized a FRIENDS OF KEVIN DUGAS KREWE to raise much needed funds for Kevin and his family. The krewe will run up until the night of the Mardi Gras Ball and throughout the evening. At that time the krewe will be disbanded and T-shirts will be given to those donating $25 or more as well as opportunities to win tickets to several area festivals including the Newport Folk Festival, Rhythm & Roots, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, NY, Mike Arnoneâ€™s Crawfish Festival in Augusta, NJ, and Bayou & Boogie Fest in Rehoboth, MA. Money may be donated the night of the ball or checks may be sent to Lagniappe Productions, 51 White Oak Ct, Wakefield, RI 02879 with a note in the memo saying Friends of Kevin Dugas.