New York-based singer songwriter Juliet Varnedoe developed her musical foundation in the bayou lands of southeast Louisiana surrounded by Cajun French, New Orleans
jazz, and Acadian traditional songs. Her years of performance in New York cabaret clubs and swing dance halls solidifies her stage persona as a Cajun French chanteuse, a unique America voice sharing the joie de vivre of the Cajun people.
Mon Cheri" is the first single release from her debut album Cajun Bleu
featuring Juliet Varnedoe Jazz Band. This is a collection of eight original blues and jazz songs which intertwines influences such as classic New Orleans swing of King Oliver Creole Band, French chanson such as Blossom Dearie
and Juliette Greco
, and the cool electronic vibe of Serge Gainsborough. Steeped in the American jazz tradition she creates a Cajun French style music all her own.
Juliet’s cool, emotive tone evokes the subtlety of Melody Gardot
and the clarity of Blossom Dearie. She has been backed by premier jazz musicians from the New York swing and cabaret scene. Showcasing skills in performances as a lyricist, writer, arranger she infuses her jazz vocals with the soul of blues.
This musical outpouring has been a long time coming. Despite her musical passion, her work life took her on a detour. She received her MFA in photography at San Francisco Art Institute and her MA at Bard College. She has been awarded numerous grants for her artistic and educational work. Her most recent award (Don Quixote Grant) allowed her to return to her native home to study Cajun French and Acadian music in the Bayou Teche region of Louisiana. It was here that she began her musical journey back and wrote the demos for her album. Mon Cheri" is a story of leaving home for love. It is the first of the series of story of the Cajun people who maintain their unique French American culture in the southeastern lands of Louisiana.
On her return to New York, with her self-produced demos, she sought out a producer and found Brooklyn based producer and bassist Ben Rubin from the House of Cha Cha. As they began working together they discovered that they had a musical connection with Bruno’s, a popular jazz club in the late '90s in the San Francisco Mission District.
They worked together to seamlessly combine electronic and acoustic instruments, assembling renowned jazz multi-instrumentalist Clark Gayton
(trombone and tuba), Jon Dryden
(accordion), and Konrad Meissner
(drums) while keeping Juliet’s original keyboards. Mastered by Joel Kerr and Gene Paul at G&J Audio, Mon Cheri is a fresh, modern take on traditional New Orleans blues.
These singles from Cajun Bleu poetically and musically tell an American story of searching for roots, independence, and love. The January 14 release will be followed by two other single release in February and March.