Book on Ark-La-Tex musical history including Jesse Thomas, James Burton, Leadbelly, Hank and Elvis, and my article on the Grigg family band from Bienville Parish.
Louisiana Folk Music
If you want to know more about the folk music and blues of Louisiana, Leadbelly & Jesse "Baby Face" Thomas, this is the place to begin. Connect to our Leadbelly (Mister Huddie) blog and discover more than you would ever need to know. This is also the original home of the Public Radio show, "Cajun Christmas," which broadcasts each year on Red River Radio out of Shreveport, Louisiana.
For travel film bookings, contact:
Shelbyville, KY 49966
Monty & Marsha
Monty and Marsha Brown We Browns have been playing lots of music over the last few months: For the very young at Libraries and day schools; for the much older at the Bossier Council on Aging; for classes at the Middle Schools of Bossier Parish. These last are the programs where we teach about Louisiana musical history.
Our folk music program is a fun, factual, frolicking, hands-on good time for audiences of any age. You'll be invited to clap along, sing along, dance along, and even learn to play the 'ti-fer and rub-board as you learn about the music of our unique state. This is it, Cher! It's Leadbelly, Jimmie Davis, it's zydeco, Cajun, blues and it's jazz.
Many thanks to Richard Folmar and his traveling troupe THEATER ECLECTIC: this where one (or two, in our case) of Richard's trained seals, er, performers, go out into the world and put on a show. Often these performers do the old "one man show" routine, impersonating an historical figure of some importance (e.g. Lincoln, Churchill) but we play ourselves, singing ambassadors of Louisiana music.
Monty: Born in Doncaster, England, raised and educated In Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Studied some theatre at the University of B.C. and began a career as an actor with Holiday Theater and a Larry Kent film, "Bitter Ash," Returned to England. studied acting at the Joan Littlewood-inspired Stratford East (London) Theatre School, worked in several repertory theatres and two London West End productions. Beginning in 1966, worked as an assistant floor manager at BBC television Drama Series. Shows included "Softly, Softly," "The Troubleshooters,"and "Sherlock Holmes." In 1972, moved to New York to take up a career in song writing and musical performance.
Marsha: born and raised in Upstate New York, has written many songs together with Monty, including two "Would You Fly?" and "Cajun Christmas" - which were used in the popular movie Steel Magnolias.Both these songs are on their second CD, "Dancing Cajun." We Browns spent over a year working for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.; produced the music and handled the publicity for the 1989 Folk Festival. While at NSU, (Monty) wrote a thesis on the Louisiana folk legend Leadbelly, and earned a Masters Degree in English.
"Green Dragon Gospel"
Our latest recording project is a Gospel Music album. We taped it "Live" at the Green Dragon pub in the little old town of Bungay on the River Waveney which divides Suffolk from Norfolk in England. It turned out to be a perfect location for the project: a lively appreciative audience in a town that knows its religion. This is where a furious Black Dog attacked the St. Mary's Church congregation one Sunday morning in the 14th Century. The town has never forgotten. Preachers beware: if you don't want the Black Dog to return and ravage, be straight with your followers. We heeded this advice and, with our good friend Rod Maclane on electric guitar, provided an honest yet stirring evening of music. Songs include "I'll Fly Away," "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," "The Unicorn," "The Wings of a Dove," "Why Me, Lord?" and eight more popular favorites. The CD can be ordered through this website for $12.50, which includes postage and handling. It's guaranteed to please. Mastered right here in Bossier City, La, by Charles Smith at Red River Studios.Listen here to "Do Lord," an old-fashioned gospel sing-along.
"Would You Fly? (The Bonnie & Clyde Song)"
True story: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went on a crime spree across several southern and mid-western states. After they stole a Ford in Kansas City in early 1934 they ended up in North Louisiana where they had a relatively safe place to stay. They did no robbing and killing in Louisiana but that's where the Law tracked them down and ambushed them on a dusty country road in May, 1934. The black and white images that accompany the song were taken mostly by the lawmen involved in the gunning down of the outlaw couple, the couple themselves, or other members of the Bonnie & Clyde Gang. The color videography is from our musical travel feature, "Hello Louisiana."
Going Back to Shreveport
Back to Shreveport, Louisiana, where Marsha organized the regional Film Commission, which attracts Hollywood to the Bayou country. She became the first Executive Director of the Commission. Shreveport has since become a major location for Hollywood filmmakers. "Mr. Brooks," and " The Great Debaters,"are a couple of major films shot here. ( OK, so our films haven't won any awards, yet.) Meanwhile, Monty was announcer and Arts Producer for regional Public Radio in Shreveport, producing the weekly " Louisiana Folk Music " program as well as many live concerts and radio articles on the Arts. In 1989 he devised a regional program, "Cajun Christmas," which features comments and stories by South Louisiana folks, as well as Cajun bands playing Christmas music. The program is an annual holiday feature on Red River Radio. "Cajun Christmas" has been broadcast on Public Radio stations across the United States and beamed all over Europe.
Monty and Marsha's first CD, "Going Back to Shreveport," features comic songs, country/folk originals and the ever popular "Natchitoches Waltz." cost from our website is $12, postage paid.
The second album, " Dancing Cajun," is strongly South Louisiana with Cajun fiddlers and accordionists playing along on traditional Cajun tunes and original Louisiana stories.Email for either CD: cost is $12, postage paid. Or, listen and buy online at Tunecore.
In 1994, M&M moved to Provence, France, living at a chateau near Lambesc for a year, and spent the following year travelling through France and Great Britain playing music. We return to Europe almost every year to play at cafes, clubs, pubs and festivals, and to film our adventures. Monty & Marsha are based in Louisiana where we still perform music regularly in schools, libraries and clubs, and at festivals, fairs, green markets and farmer's markets.
Travelogue: What's That? What's Next?
At the turn of the century, (i.e. the year 2000), with the encouragement of traveloggers Sandy Mortimer and Dale Johnson, Monty and Marsha filmed the sights and sounds of their annual musical tour de France, from the chilly Normandy beaches to the sun baked Mediterranean shore. The film, La Belle France, was first booked on the Travel Film circuit in 2003, and their new career was off and running! They have since produced several films, including It's Great! Britain a circular tour of the big island La Manche/The English Channel
Hello Louisiana, on the other hand, is about Marsha's & Monty's home state. Billed as a musical travel film, it is based on a program they perform for Louisiana schools: a trip around the state accompanied by the rhythms of country, gospel, blues, jazz, zydeco and Cajun music. These travelogues, or travel films, are created to transport and entertain a live audience. They are about 80 minutes in length; include an onstage introduction, a question and answer period with the filmmakers; they include music and humor and a good deal of geographical and historical information. They are digital video presentations in theaters and auditoriums from Maine to California, Florida to Washington, and many places in the heartland of America and Canada. They can be booked by groups and organizations.
Contact Sandy Mortimer (look left) for booking information.
Monty & Marsha have completed The Missions of Father Serra, a 37 minute DVD which tells the story of the original nine California missions, from San Diego to San Francisco, which were established by the Franciscan monk, Junipero Serra.
In 2005, the Travel Adventure Cinema Society awarded us the "Rising Star" trophy, given to new artists in the travelogue field whose work is appreciated by Presenters and their audiences.