Michael Doucet paused when he recalled performing at CSPS in Cedar Rapids with his band BeauSoleil shortly after the historic Floods of 2008 devastated Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
“I remember being up on stage talking to the people of Cedar Rapids and telling them how much I can relate,” Doucet said by phone from his Lafayette, La., home. “I told them where I come from in Southern Louisiana has a lot in common with Iowa. We know a little something about flooding and that you can recover from disasters.”
Count on BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet to preview “Water, Water,” which was inspired by a relatively recent flood, when the group performs Saturday (12/7) at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. The catchy fiddle-driven initial single is from the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/fiddler’s forthcoming solo album, “Lacher Prise” — French for “let go.”
“We obviously have some issues with water here,” Doucet said. “We had an unbelievably massive thunderstorm here about three years ago. It was a heck of a storm.”
The rain arrived in Biblical proportions. Nearly 24 inches dropped in 24 hours.
“Everywhere you looked there was flooding,” Doucet said. “It was incomprehensible. I had to rescue my daughter-in-law. When I came back, my friends were flooded. It was a lot to deal with, but we made it through all of that adversity. The funny thing is that the music (for “Water Water”) just came to me quickly and the chorus came to me pretty quickly, too. I was inspired and I’ll take inspiration any way I can get it. It’s good to turn disaster into art if you can.”
Expect BeauSoleil to deliver some of the new tunes but the majority of the set when the band performs in Iowa City will feature Christmas songs and its Cajun numbers.
“I love playing the songs of BeauSoleil,” Doucet said. “Even though I have this new album out and I’m excited about the new songs, it doesn’t mean that I’m less enthusiastic about BeauSoleil.
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BeauSoleil, which means “beautiful sun” in French, isn’t taking a break after the Doucet album lands.
“It’s been 44 years since the band formed,” he said. “I might do a solo tour, but I’m not sure about that yet. What I am sure is that I will go out with BeauSoleil next year to do our regular dates. Nothing is going to stop that. I still enjoy going out with the guys. There’s such a bond with the rest of the band and such a love of the music. We have so much to draw from.”
The unique group, which is keeping Cajun music alive, has 22 albums in its canon.
“Fortunately, the inspiration is always there,” Doucet said. “It’s been there for many years and we still have such a great time when we perform. It still feels like anything can happen when we step onto that stage. We’re like a machine up there.”
The appeal of BeauSoleil’s music is evident, since the songs are upbeat and joyful.
“What we create makes people happy,” Doucet said. “Seeing how happy the crowd is pleases us. I love to see people dancing and singing along. We’ve had the good fortune to see that quite often over the years.”
Like a number of its peers, BeauSoleil is on the edge of reaching the half-century mark.
“I hope we can go on for years,” Doucet said. “It’s been a great run. We all quit our regular jobs in 1986 and haven’t looked back. We keep moving on. I don’t see any reason to stop. We’re survivors. We’re not impacted by trends.
“Nothing stops us. Not even floods.”
• What: BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet: “A Cajun Christmas”
• Where: Hancher Auditorium, 141 E. Park Rd., Iowa City
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (12/7)
• Tickets: $25 to $45 adults; $10 to $40 college students; $10 to $22 youths; Hancher Box Office, (319) 335-1160, 1-(800) HANCHER or Hancher.uiowa.edu/2019-20/BeauSoleil
• Artist’s website: Beausoleilmusic.com