This past Saturday, we said goodbye to our own “Mean Gene” Bates, who passed away suddenly and without warning due to a pulmonary embolism late Monday night, March 2, 2009. Needless to say, we are all in a state of shock due to this turn of events, and our heartfelt sympathies go to Gene’s wife, Teri, and his daughter, Maya.
Saturday’s Memorial Service was held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on the campus of Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, where Maya attended school and where Gene regularly attended Sunday Mass. The service was an amazing mix of cultures that aptly represented Gene’s multi-faceted life. It included Christian songs of worship, a memorial ceremony by the Sate Fire Marshal Honor Guard, replete with a bagpiper, a poem written by Gene’s brother, Rob, and ended with a Native “calling” song.
Chris delivered the eulogy, Cocoa sang a stirring prayer song, and together they sang one of Gene’s own compositions, “Time Heals.” The turnout by people from all of the walks of life Gene walked was a fitting tribute.
After a reception near church at the home of Gene and Teri’s friend, Poppy Mouledoux, the celebration portion of the day of remembrance moved on to Gretna Career College, home base for Cocoa & Gene’s Drum, the Yellow Moon Singers, as Andi Randazzo hosted a pot-luck dinner and the Native American community of the greater New Orleans said goodbye in their own way, with Drum songs and remembrances, and the turnout was again tremendous.
There is so much more to say, and we will post more soon. For the moment, we are all dedicated to finishing the “Rekindled” CD we have been laboring over with love, and which is nearly complete, so that the music can stand as Gene’s legacy. And there is more of his material to continue working on once “Rekindled” is released.
On behalf of Teri and Maya and the members of the band – Jimmy Badinger, Cocoa Creppel, Roland Fangue, Jimmy Roy, Tobey, and Chris Young – we express our deep thanks for the messages of sympathy and condolence we have received from so many of you, and especially from Martha, Joanne, Mary, Honey Dawn, Chickdog, Bruce, David, Rick, Cindy, and Pete. We appreciate each and every one.
Bates, we’re gonna miss you something awful!
The Sacred Run Concert in Houma was a trip! Cocoa & CB, Martha Redbone and Treater (local Cajun/ swamp pop favorites) were real crowd-pleasers! The evening's music was an eclectic affair with swamp pop, roots r & b, traditional music, and some Japanese folk music thrown in for good measure. Of course, Dennis Banks had some wonderful remarks, as did Chief Brenda Robichaux. During Chief Brenda's slide show of the Hurricane Katrina/ Rita devastated areas you could hear a pin drop. The evening's festivities ended on a high note though, with a ceremonial 'fire ball' game! Good thing Cocoa was carrying his trusty fire extinguisher! Yikes! A very special 'tip of the hat' to Dennis Banks and his Krewe for including hurricane ravaged southern Louisiana in the Sacred Run route this year - thanks for your support! Special, special thanks to Martha Redbone & Aaron Whitby for coming down here from the 'Big Apple' to perform for us (and with us!) - ya'll are just great! Don't be strangers -ya'll come back now, ya hear!
The "Calling of the Tribes" powwow gig went really well! The enthusiastic crowd loved what they heard and the vibe was very positive! We, again, want to thank the powwow committee for allowing us to play @ their annual dance. Incidentally, Nammy 'Flutist of the Year',Tommy Wildcat , was 'in that number' and digging on CB's 'bayou groove'!
Before Katrina, Cannes Brulees had been invited to headline the New Orleans Museum of Art's "NOMA Nights" November concert at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in conjunction with the planned unveiling of the museum's new permanent collection of Native American arts and crafts donated by the estate of Dr. Thomas Whitecloud (Chippewa). In honor of the occasion, and inspired by the short story written by Dr. Whitecloud's father as a young man, guitarist Chris Young has written a song with the same title as the story and the collection itself, "Blue Winds Dancing." As the museum was devastated by the storm and is in the process of putting itself back together, the grand opening of the collection has now been rescheduled for November, 2007, and we hope to be invited to take part in the occasion then.
Yesterday we played our first gig since Katrina. Our own "thunder and fury" provider, Thomas Dardar, knowing how important it is to keep a community together, staged a Post-Katrina Pow Wow for his beloved Houma tribe, and honored us by having us play for the "49" after the ceremonies. So it was that the new lineup of Cannes Brulees took the stage under threatening skies and proceeded to kick out the jams for about half a set, when all hell broke loose and we found ourselves trying to finish a song in a torrential squall! I guess someone was trying to remind us who's boss. But we played enough to know that the new lineup absolutely kicks butt!
Something else we learned in making our full-length CD "Raising Cane" is that, as a 3-piece band with Cocoa out front, we were missing a layer of hand percussion that adds a real link to the Native American tradition. We were able to add that in the studio. But what about live shows? Well, as luck would have it, Katrina blew one piece of good fortune our way in the form of accomplished drummer Jimmy Badinger, whose own band, Retro Romeo, was scattered worse than we were. As we each made our way back home and started to pick up where we left off, we were pleased to find Jimmy available, even after being displaced to the Picayune, Mississippi area after losing his family's home to the flooding in St. Bernard Parish. This frees up Gene to add hand percussion and work even harder on the backing vocals that we think give our sound its unique character.
By now I think everyone on the planet is aware of what happened to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. There were people who told us this could and would happen, but I guess we just never believed them because after all, we were protected by those levees…Needless to say, the folks in this region need your thoughts, prayers and, yes, assistance more than you can possibly know unless you come here to see the devastation for yourself. The band is scattered, but all alive and well and accounted for. Gene went to Baton Rouge, Roland to his ancestral home in Morgan City, Rick stayed at home in Hammond, and Chris wound up in Dallas of all places! But the real story was Cocoa, who gutted it out doing his duty as a Gretna Firefighter, working for weeks on end without a break, fighting fires with bullets whizzing by (not an exaggeration). Bottom line is, our singer, dubbed "Leatherman" by one fan in Milwaukee, proved he actually is as tough as he looks!
Cannes Brulees is OK in the wake of Katrina (thank goodness!). Damage to our houses was minimal and no one was hurt. Cocoa's been taking the brunt of it, working for 18 days straight as a firefighter in New Orleans. Pray that he gets relieved soon. Our full-lenth CD, 'Raising Cane' is finally out - we're very excited! Our friends at AIROS, The Hand of Grandfather (XM Satelite Radio - Fine Tuning Channel 76), and nativeRadio.com have been nice enough to include cuts from 'Raising Cane' on some of their playlists as of late, so keep listening and you might catch us on the web. Thank you to all of our friends, family, and fans for seeing us through this very trying time - we appreciate your prayers and support - New Orleans and Cannes Brulees will be back - have no doubt about that! Oops, almost forgot - cdbaby.com now carries our CD, so if you'd like a copy, check it out.
The master CD is finally ready for production. The recording of the full length version of "Raising Cane" was certainly a fantastic learning process for us. As you record a song part by part, you dissect it in a way, then put it back together. Each of these 11 songs went through this process, and every one of them is stronger as a result. We also learned that we sound great with Rick Tobey on board. Several of us have played with Rick in more than one "past musical life" and knew what a good guitarist he is. But we didn't know how well he had mastered the slide since our last experience with him. Just fantastic! So, what began as Rick producing the CD for us turned into Rick joining the band officially. Never fear, Chickenhead Blues fans, he fully intends to continue to satisfy that itch as well. At any rate, "Raising Cane" the CD now replaces "Raising Cane" the EP, so any of you who have a copy of that now own a true collector's item. The EP did its job, allowing us to send our sound out as early as we could. But the new CD is a quantum leap forward for us, and we couldn't be happier with it!
Valerie Cartonio from WMPG-FM in Portland, Maine has been playing the heck out of our CD on her program, 'Echoes in the Wind' - Stay tuned for an upcoming interview she will be doing with Cocoa.
Hey - check it out - Cannes Brulees' "Waters of Life" was featured on Susie Aikman's January 30th program @ alterNative Voices.
Cannes Brulees will be featured on Arlie Kendall's 'Hand Of Grandfather' show (XM Satellite Radio - fine tuning Channel 76) Playlist Show #63 which will air in January.
Our good friend Susanne Aikman @ alterNative Voices on the AIROS network is featuring our song 'Fry Bread Woman' on her program this week.
Just got back from our gig @ the St. Joachim Festival - we had a great time with the folks from Cocoa's 'hood - an enthusiastic crowd of 'caneheads' were there to support 'the leatherman' and his back-up band - ha! The folks @ St Joachim are looking forward to our return next year. Special thanks to our sound specialist Thomas Dardar and his family for their help @ St. Joachim's - couldn't have done it without them! The band is headed into the studio for the recording of our next CD, but we're already looking forward to hitting the performance circuit again! See ya soon!
Our friends @ AIROS have featured another of our tunes last week. Check out "Voices from the Circle" @ http://www.airos.org/.
Whispering Wind Magazine Audio
Review: by Teri Vonna Bates
"Raising Cane" by Cannes Brulees
September 25, 2004
Category: Contemporary Rock / R & B
EP (Extended Play) / Copyright 2004
Independent Release: Burnt Cane Records
Cannes Brulees' debut EP is a 'beaut'! This "Big Easy' band (who's name means 'burnt cane' in French) combines the best of rock and roll with southeastern Indian themes and good old New Orleans rhythm and blues, mixing influences of the Neville Brothers, Dr. John and the Subdudes! A savory 'gumbo' of guitar, stellar percussion and scorching vocals, this 'bayou boogie' will have you up and dancing! The music is tight and the songwriting sharp! Though the EP contains only five cuts, this Crescent City quartet makes every one of them count!
Stand-outs include, "Don't Lose Hope"(a song about long denied federal recognition for Louisiana's Houma tribe), "Waters of Life" (a ballad about the legendary healing waters of Abita Springs) and a humorous tune about an angry, axe-wielding 'momma' in "Fry Bread Woman"!
Don't miss this one! Cannes Brulees' "Raising Cane" is 'tres bien'!
St. Rosalie's Church Festival, Gretna Louisiana We played two short sets at this local church festival. It was hot, but so was the music! Nina Martinez, our favorite jingle dress dancer, joined us on stage and wowed the crowds. We had a little trouble with P.A. problems, but all-in-all played well and we're looking forward to more opportunities like this to share our music with our fans both new and old!
Dulac Festival, Dulac, Louisiana We closed out the show at the Dulac Festival. Selling more and more CD's @ every show! The crowds were small, but enthusiastic! Love that intimate setting down there.Had a great time 'down the bayou' with the Houma people from down that way!. Great food, good music and great fun - how can you beat that?
Just checked out the listings on AIROS on their website and we're featured on "Voices from the Circle" this week! Check it out @ http://www.airos.org/
Makin' It In Milwaukee...
Well, we went on up to Milwaukee for the Indian Summer Fest and it turned out to be one of those "long, strange trips" you've heard tell about. Lots of airport, lots of hotel, but also lots of sunshine and great vibes! Milwaukee is a neat place with a lot of obvious civic pride, a little bit different from the laid back attitudes of the "Big Easy" that we're used to. The permanent fair grounds share their lakefront with some impressive public parks and promenades and one really fabulous building, the Milwaukee Art Museum. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, it combines futuristic interiors with nautical styled structures and open decks, all dominated by a double-cantilevered sunscreen that we later learned actually opens and closes like the flapping wings of some huge bird of prey! Pretty doggoned awesome!
It was exciting to meet and talk with some of the people we admire and count among our influences, like Jim Boyd, Howard Lyons, Arvel Bird and Mary Youngblood (such a great lady). Other outstanding performances we caught were those of Derek Miller, Jeff Ball, Eagle & Hawk, Litefoot, Joanne Shenandoah, and the terrific music and stage shows of Brule, and especially Robert Mirabal, who just knocked 'em dead on Sunday night!.
We played our best shows ever, thanks, in no small part, to a terrific stage crew at the Oneida Stage - thanks to Marion, Terry and all the guys.
We also want to thank our enthusiastic fans. Maybe our Mardi Gras lead-in set the tone for it, but uninhibited behavior seemed to be a popular method for expressing appreciation for our performance. Many thanks to Marie Collum for inviting us to perform @ Indian Summer Fest. You throw a great party! We hope to have even more fun next year!
And then we came home to a little storm called Ivan. Maybe the good spirits riding home with us helped ward off the hurricane, 'cause we were certainly spared and grateful for that. But our thoughts and sympathies go out to the people of the Alabama coast and the Florida panhandle. Send 'em some aid if you can. CY