Wednesday, December 28, 2011

L'Angelus - The Next Big Thing?

Katie, Johnny, Paige and Stephen Rees

Many who attended one of Michael W. Smith’s Christmas Concerts in December 2011 had a pleasant surprise. In addition to the fine presentation of Mr. Smith and full symphony orchestra, his special guests was the little known Louisiana quartet, L’angelus. Combining Cajun music with classical may seem like an add choice, but instead, it was brilliant. Good thing too as the group had to do some heavy lifting during some of the concerts as Michael battled with laryngitis.

Pronounced “Lawn-Jay-Loose,” the four siblings began performing in the mid ‘90s with the help of their mother, Linda Rees. Back then, Linda Lou and the Lucky Four, performed at hundreds of county fairs, rodeos, coffeehouses playing mostly country and popular tunes from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Today, the group has ventured on their own playing more Cajun fare. The four-piece band consists of Katie (27) playing the guitar, Paige (26) the bass, Johnny (24) the drums and Stephen (22), the fiddle, swamp pop saxophone and harmonica.

The four are incredibly fun to watch play. Katie has a smile that won’t quit. She steps back a bit from Paige, who tends to whip her hair in all directions. Stephen makes it clear that he doesn’t play a violin – he plays the fiddle. And Johnny, the quiet one, hides behind his drums set, but plays like a mad man. In addition to the instrumentation, they harmonize their voices beautifully. They play “Ca C’est Bon,” one of their most popular hits, with delight as if they are playing it for the very first time and they alternate between English and French seamlessly.

In 2006 L’angelus was selected by Billboard Magazine as one of the six finalists in the Independent Music World Series and the group has been gaining international attention ever since. Before they embarked on the Christmas tour, the group was a featured guest at the World Youth Day with the Pope in August 2011. (To see a sample of their performance, click on the video below.)

L’angelus’ next performance will be at the New Year’s Cajun Party at St. Peter’s Church Hall in Carencro, LA this weekend. In July, they will team up again with Michael W. Smith and Laura Story for the 2012 Cruise of Canada trip.

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