Expert musicians, incredible singers and topnotch live entertainers, L’Angelus combines the best of Louisiana’s music traditions: cajun fiddle tunes for the dance crowd, saxophone driven swamp-pop, and New Orleans influenced R&B. The result is a live show that rolls along with what Michael Doucet of Beausoleil calls “the instrumental energy of a freight train that knows no boundaries.” And the band is all from one Louisiana family. Linda Rees got the group going in the mid 90’s with her four oldest children when her husband, John Sr., took a job in North Dakota training Taiwanese flight students how to fly jet aircraft.
Katie picked up the guitar, Paige the bass, Johnny the drums and Steve the fiddle, swamp pop saxophone and harmonica. By 2002, playing as Linda Lou and The Lucky 4, the group had performed at hundreds of county fairs, rodeos, demolition derbys and coffeehouses throughout the midwest and eastern United States. “We played mostly old country songs and 50’s and 60’s rock and roll songs. Crowd pleasers.” Katie says. “But Dad kept telling us that we’d eventually get back to our Cajun roots, because in Louisiana, music is still used to bring people together.”
L’Angelus now performs as a dynamic high energy four piece band, featuring Katie, 27, Paige, 26, Johnny, 24, and Stephen, 22. They describe their sound as Louisiana roots, but still love to play the popular old rock and country and motown tunes Americana music. Audiences across North America and Europe are drawn to the “joie de vivre” that radiates from the stage.
Selected in 2006 by Billboard Magazine from over 1,400 artists as one of 6 finalists in the Independent Music World Series, L’Angelus has been steadily gaining international attention. Two of their original compositions were featured in the nationwide PBS documentary on Louisiana’s Wetlands, Washing Away, narrated by Susan Sarandon. May of 2009 marked their first internationally televised concert, with an hour long interview and performance on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock”, where the group explored the influence that the Catholic culture of community celebrations has had on the development of Cajun and Irish music. Their most recent release, Sacred Hymns Collection, was picked up for international distribution by Ignatius Press, the world’s largest Catholic publishing company, and quickly became one of the most popular items in their music catalogue. On tour in Ireland this past summer, the trio of musicians were literally grabbed off the street to interview and perform live on the country’s two largest radio programs, RTE with Pat Kenny and BBC Radio Live.
“Our first big break came after we had moved to Northern Virginia, back in 1997”, fiddler Steve recalls. “Dad was a corporate pilot and Mom and the little band were playing a few times a month at the local coffee shop. By that time Dad had bought a cowboy hat. We owned our own microphones. A phone call came in one fateful day from the director of the Youth Livestock Organization at the Frederick County Fair. The band that was scheduled to appear during the sheep shearing demonstration had switched genres and now wore leotards, so the committee asked us if we would substitute. Looking back now, I would say that was our first big break.”
What’s In A Name? Music in the Cajun culture has always been a unifying force it brings families together on the front porch and at the parish dance. L’Angelus is the name of an ancient prayer that, like the music, signifies a coming together of a people. For centuries, Cajuns and their Acadian and French ancestors have bowed their heads to pray as a community whenever they hear the bells ring.