This edition of "MIDWEST BEAT with Tom Lounges" was originally aired on February 26, 2019 on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio. It was given an encore broadcast on March 2, 2019
DENNIS STROUGHMATT of CREOLE STOMP
DENNIS STROUGHMATT once aspired to teach history and was a musical late-bloomer. He is the French-speaking Creole fiddler and accordionist of CREOLE STOMP, and Dennis knows he is a fortunate man, blessed to earn a living through his passion for a special culture and it's music.
Originally hailing from a small hamlet in Southeastern Illinois, Stroughmatt spent many of his teen years near the French-settled city of Vincennes, Indiana where he discovered the French-Creole culture. Today, he takes an equal amount of pride in educating the public about the Creole culture, as he does playing Creole music for them with CREOLE STOMP or his other band, Dennis Stroughmatt et l'Espirit Creole.
In this interview, the historian side of Stroughmatt explains the differences of the three primary musics of the bayou -- Creole, Cajun and Zydeco -- musics that are in many ways very similar, yet also very different.
CREOLE STOMP performs all three styles in their live shows and more. "We do a few straight-up Cajun waltzes, two-steps and swing songs. We also get out the washboard for a bit of Zydeco too," says Stroughmatt. The band even throws in some mazurkas, swamp pop and bayou blues into its shows.
Because they never play the same song quite the same and because they pride themselves in playing a different and evolving set list that keeps each performance fresh for themselves and their audiences, CREOLE STOMP have become informally known as “The Grateful Dead of Creole Music.” They are known for their well-oiled, dancer-driven, crowd pleasing marathon jams and improvisation, that is perhaps best described as "musical gumbo."